PepsiCo Inc. is returning to using only oranges from Florida in its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juices, a decision made several months ago, before low levels of fungicide were found in oranges from Brazil, the company confirmed.
Tropicana Pure Premium had used 100 percent Florida oranges until 2007, when problems with the Florida crop caused the company to look at alternative sources, Beverage Digest, the industry publication which first reported the switch, said.
"This transition to production for Tropicana Pure Premium is well under way and will be completed by the end of the month," A Tropicana spokesman told Reuters. "As the largest buyer of Florida oranges, this is a minor supply chain adjustment for our Tropicana Pure Premium product."
PepsiCo and rival Coca-Cola Co., which makes Minute Maid Orange Juice, have said they have found low levels of carbendazim in juice shipments from Brazil.
Carbendazim is used in Brazil to combat blossom blight and black spot, a mold that grows on orange trees.
But in the United States, its use is limited to non-food items such as paints, textiles and ornamental trees, although US authorities allow trace amounts of carbendazim in 31 food types including grains, nuts and some non-citrus fruits.
The Food and Drug Administration stated that it would temporarily halt orange juice imports and remove any juice found to have dangerous amounts of the fungicide carbendazim.
Coca-Cola said the company always uses the highest quality oranges, so it sources many of its oranges from the United States.
"Going forward, we will continue to buy the finest oranges available anywhere," the company said in a statement.
Orange juice from Brazil, the world's biggest grower whose exports account for about 80 percent of total global orange juice trade, supplies more than a tenth of total US demand. Pepsi and Coca-Cola's juice brands have about two-thirds of the US market.
Source: Chicago Tribune