The Chicago Tribune reports that 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 on Monday.
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, the Tribune reports.
“This transition to production for Tropicana Pure Premium is well under way and will be completed by the end of the month,” a Tropicana spokesperson 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 U.S. authorities allow trace amounts of carbendazim in 31 food types including grains, nuts and some non-citrus fruits, according to the Tribune.
The Food and Drug Administration said last week that it would temporarily halt orange juice imports and remove any juice found to have dangerous amounts of the fungicide carbendazim.
Coca-Cola on Monday said the company always uses the highest quality oranges, so it sources many of its oranges from the United States, according to the Tribune.
“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 U.S. demand. Pepsi and Coca-Cola’s juice brands have about two-thirds of the U.S. market.