Recently, a report regarding glyphosate residue in orange juice was featured by several news outlets and blogs. The Florida Citrus industry is committed to ensuring the safety and quality of our products. To help answer questions around this topic, following is further information.
What is glyphosate?
Glyphosate is an herbicide registered for use on many food and non-food field crops, including some oranges being grown to make orange juice. It is used to control weeds and grasses which increases yield and quality of crops, reduces soil erosion, and enhances harvesting efficiency. All crop protection products sold in the US, including glyphosate, must be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As one of the most widely used agricultural compounds, it has been the subject of numerous safety studies. For the past 40 years, the safety of glyphosate has been reviewed and affirmed by science and government agencies.
How is glyphosate regulated?
To ensure safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets tolerances for pesticide levels, including glyphosate, in commodities like citrus. The EPA tolerances for residues are set 100 to 1,000 times lower than levels at which health impacts might occur. The EPA tolerance level for citrus and citrus juice is set at 500 parts per billion (ppb). The levels of glyphosate residue found in orange juice in recent reports were significantly lower, ranging from 4.33 ppb to 26.05 ppb. These tolerance levels are considered safe based on average daily food intake by adults and children.
Modern analytical techniques detect levels of pesticides that are vanishingly small, and as a result, most analyses are now expressed in parts per billion (ppb), versus parts per million (ppm). To put this in context, one ppb is equal to one second in 32 years, or less than a teaspoon of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Is 100% orange juice safe to drink?
Absolutely. The citrus industry is committed to adhering to tolerances set by the EPA to deliver nutritious, 100% orange juice families can feel good about drinking. In fact, 100% orange juice plays a role as part of a healthy diet for adults and children alike, delivering key nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Learn more about the nutrients provided in 100% orange juice here.
What about reports that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen?
Claims by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen” have been roundly criticized and rebutted by the European Food Safety Authority, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other scientific experts.