Thursday, January 12, 2012


People everywhere in the world love orange juice. And Brazil is the world's biggest exporter of the product. Think in terms of big tanker ships of the stuff, going everywhere. In fact, Brazil has been called " the Saudi Arabia of orange juice."

But what do you have when you squeeze out the juice? You have orange pulp. In fact, when oranges are processed for juice or sections, 45 to 60 percent of their weight remains in the form of peel, rag and seeds. A pity to waste it. So Brazil's orange growers have caught onto the idea that they can export that as well. Much of it is dried and processed into pellets to be made into animal feed. Since there is no major cattle growing business in Brazil, they are happy to send it to us.

Alright, but when you spray an orange tree with toxic chemicals, the orange peel gets the bulk of the residues. And even if washed well, not all of it can be removed. Now we have found that orange farmers in Brazil are using a lot of the toxic fungicide carbendazim (see previous post), with imported orange juice from Brazil carrying much more of it than say, orange juice made from U.S. oranges. So what about all that citrus pulp that goes into animal feed?

I guess that will hit the headlines soon. In the meantime, let me remind you that the chemicals that our food animals ingest can reach us too. The World Health Organization (WHO) for which I have worked, has put together a nice little list of human food contamination incidents originating in animal feed. of these cases - also quoted in The Safe Food Handbook - involves citrus pulp pellets.

Here's what happened. In March 1998, high levels of dioxins in milk sold in Germany were traced to citrus pulp pellets from - you guessed it - Brazil, that had been used as animal feed. The investigation resulted in a ban on all citrus pulp imports to the EU from Brazil.

So, are we going to find now that there are high levels of carbendazim in our milk or meat? I wouldn't be surprised.

To your good health,


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