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Coke fungicide prompts tests of Minute Maid and Simply Orange juices

Coke fungicide: Coca-Cola Co. alerted the FDA to a fungicide in its Minute Maid and Simply Orange brands of orange juice as well as a competitor's brand.

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Coke fungicide found in OJ: A worker pours harvested oranges into a sack on a farm in Limeira, Thursday. The fungicide carbendazim has been found in orange juice made by Coca-Cola Co.

Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Coca-Cola Co. acknowledged Thursday it was the company that alerted federal regulators about low levels of fungicide in its own orange juice and in competitors' juice, prompting juice prices to rise and increased government testing for the residue.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have said orange juice is safe to drink and the levels found are below levels of concern.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, which makes the Minute Maid and Simply Orange brands of orange juice, said Thursday it had notified FDA of the low levels of the fungicide carbendazim in the company's orange juice and in competitors' juice. The FDA had said Monday that an unnamed company had told the agency about thefungicide and confirmed Wednesday the company was Coca-Cola.

Neither the FDA nor the company said which orange juice products tested positive. Carbendazim is not currently approved for use on citrus in the United States, but it is used to combat mold on orange trees in Brazil, which exports orange juice to the United States. Fungicides are used to control fungi or fungal spores in agriculture.

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