In 2012 the Maximum Residue Limit for carbendazim in Australia was 10 ppm, Europe, 200 ppb and in the United States, 0 ppb. Australia began testing of orange juice imports for carbendazim after the US alerted them to the high levels found in imports from Brazil.
FDA Import Alert 99-08 DWPE (Detention Without Physical Examination) shows refused imports from more than 20 countries indicating carbendazim to be the reason from 2012 – 2015.
The products include:
- Dates, citrus, stone and berry fruits, juices, concentrates and preserves
- Mushrooms and other fungi
- Bee pollen powder
- Rices – commonly Basmati
- Therapeutic herbs – Echinacea, Golden Seal
- Hawthorn berries and Goji berries
- Cold pressed avocado oil
- Prickly Pear and peeled cactus pads.
In order to minimise potential trade disruption and because MRLs may vary due to Good Agricultural and Veterinary Practices in each country, a proposal was made to further align the Code with the Codex and trading partner standards. These MRLs were requested by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), the California Cherry Marketing and Research Board, the California Table Grape Commission, the Cranberry Marketing Committee, the Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA) and Fruits and Concentrates International.
Consumer desire to be able to identify the country of origin of the ‘imported ingredients’ in their ‘made in Australia from Australian and imported ingredients’ purchases is driven, in part, by the continued discovery of chemicals and pathogens in food imports. In addition to carbendazim, the chemicals chloropyrifos, quinalphos, propargite, imidacloprid, azoxystrobin, pentachloroaniline, fenubocarb, oxadiazon and biphenyl were cause for refusal of food imports by the US during 2014 -2015.
With imports containing carbendazim, DDT, Malathion, Carbaryl and other chemicals continuing to arrive in and be refused by the US in 2015, so must debate over the ‘pro’s and con’s’ of imported raw materials and food stuffs continue, in turn, fueling disagreement over the acceptance of common international specifications for safe limits on fungicides, herbicides and pesticides.