FDA Tests Apple Juice for Arsenic

By Marion Nestle

The Food and Drug Administration, perhaps in response to charges brought by Consumer Reports, has done its own tests and updates its arsenic page and strengthened its Q&A

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Perhaps in response to Consumer Reports' charges that levels of arsenic in children's juices are so high that more restrictive standards would be healthier, the FDA has done its own tests, updated its arsenic home page, and strengthened its Q&A on arsenic.

The Q&A includes these questions:

Is the arsenic in apple juice predominantly organic or inorganic? Due to limited data available to answer this question, in October 2011, FDA collected and analyzed 94 samples of apple juices available for sale in the United States. Results from this data indicate that there are relatively low levels of arsenic in apple juice, with 95 percent of the apple juice samples tested being below 10 ppb total arsenic, but that the arsenic in these samples was predominantly the inorganic form [the bad kind].

Did the FDA test any of the samples tested by the Dr. Oz Show? On September 10-11, 2011, the FDA completed laboratory analysis of the same lot of Gerber apple juice that was tested by the Dr. Oz Show [Dr. Oz complained about the dangers of arsenic in juice], as well as several other lots produced in the same facility. The FDA's testing detected very low levels of total arsenic in all samples tested. These new results were consistent with the FDA's results obtained in the FDA's routine monitoring program and are well below the results reported by the Dr. Oz Show. The FDA has concluded that the very low levels detected during our analysis are not a public health risk and the juice products are safe for consumption.

Food Quality News reports that safe or not, the FDA is still "considering setting a guidance level for inorganic arsenic in apple juice and apple juice concentrate that will further minimise public exposure to this contaminant."

As well it should. And preferably at the lower levels recommended by Consumer Reports.

Image: Wiktory/Shutterstock.

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This post also appears on Food Politics, an Atlantic partner site.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/fda-tests-apple-juice-for-arsenic/250334/