Orange Juice Prices Are Climbing Because of a Contamination Fear

Orange juice concentrate futures are shooting up right now, thanks to news that traces of a fungicide banned in the United States was detected in juice from a brand the FDA didn't name. The Journal reports, "January-delivery orange juice on ICE Futures U.S. surged 9.3 percent to $2.12 per pound, the highest price since November 1977," which if we recall correctly from Trading Places, means someone should check on the Duke brothers. The chemical at the center of the orange juice price spike, called carbendazim, is used in Brazil, which exports to the United States, and while the amount found in the juice is miniscule at 35 parts per billion, news that the FDA would increase its testing sparked a market rally that has pushed up the price of orange juice concentrate to its highest level in more than 34 years. The rally struck us as odd at first. Why would people pay more for a contaminated product? But The Journal explains "the report spurred concerns that supplies of orange juice would be constricted."

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