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US: FDA releases findings on arsenic in apple juice

In most cases, new testing of apple juice finds low levels of arsenic. You might recall, there was some heated controversy over just how safe our apple juice was, especially with our children in mind. The debate about levels of arsenic in apple juice began back in September after Dr. Mehmet Oz made certain claims on his show. At the time, Oz was highly criticized as “irresponsible.” The FDA said our apple juice is safe and did some additional testing of its own, results of which were released Tuesday.

The FDA found most samples contained low levels of the toxic metal. About 95 percent of the 160 samples collected in the last six years had a total arsenic content below the level for which the FDA considers to be a “concern.” However, it seems Dr. Oz wasn’t completely off. Less than five percent of the FDA’s samples, mostly from the U.S. contained high levels of arsenic. Dr. Oz explained why this might be a few months ago. Essentially, Dr. Oz said we are getting more of our apples from other countries that use pesticides like China, Argentina and Brazil. And that the FDA doesn't have the means to properly inspect all of these imported apples.

Both Dr. Oz and ABC’s Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, who butted heads in September, agree the FDA needs to do more. “I think we need to have more inspections of food that comes to this country right now, inspecting less than two percent of what comes in,” Dr. Besser. Keep in mind, while most levels or arsenic were low, the FDA does say the arsenic it did find was mostly inorganic, which can be toxic to humans. Back in September, it said the arsenic found was organic, which is safe. Additional testing is planned. Despite Dr. Besser’s concern over the FDA data released Tuesday, he still believes apple juice is safe for children to drink, but not more than one or two cups a day. Dr. Oz, on the other hand, still has concerns.

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Publication date: 11/24/2011


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