THE Federal Government will test imported orange juice for the fungicide carbendazi.
But it will not happen until changes to maximum residue levels are formalised
The discovery of carbendazim residues in Brazilian orange juice prompted a contamination scare in the US last month, when the US Food and Drug Administration halted imports of foreign orange juice and began testing for its presence.
"In Australia, over 300,000 tonnes of oranges are imported every year in the form of cheap Brazilian orange juice concentrate," she said.
Comment on a proposal by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to halve the MRL for carbendazim in citrus products to five parts per million closed in December.
A federal Department of Agriculture spokesperson said testing for carbendazim residues in 5 per cent of consignments of imported orange juice would begin once the food standards code was amended.
According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand, this is likely by the end of March.
"The purpose of including a test for carbendazim is to assess whether imported products being sourced by Australian importers comply with the lower maximum residue limits for this chemical," the DAFF spokesperson said.
Carbendazim was withdrawn from use in the Australian citrus industry more than two years ago.
Ms Damiani said consumers could be confident about their fresh juice purchases if they bought from the chiller section of their local shop or supermarket, and looked for juices bearing the Aussie Grown logo or Product of Australia on their packaging.