Two years after arsenic in apple juice prompted an FDA reassurance that the seemingly alarming levels found my Dr. Oz posed no harm, the agency appears to have revisited its stance.
In 2011, arsenic in apple juice was addressed by the popular TV doctor, who alleged that troubling levels posed risk to consumers — many of whom choose the popular fruit drink for babies and toddlers.
At the time, the Food Drug Administration claimed that Dr. Oz’s methods of examining arsenic in apple juice were faulty, saying in part in a statement addressing the concern:
“… you can’t compare water and juice for several critical reasons. They include the fact that inorganic arsenic is the form found in drinking water, whereas organic arsenic is the form mostly found in food, including juices.”
Concurrently, juice industry trade groups rejected the report, saying:
“The results of tests for arsenic in apple juice that were shared by the Dr. Oz show with the Juice Products Association should not be interpreted as fact. Subsequent testing of the same lots of juice from two of the named brands, using an appropriate method for testing arsenic levels in juice, found significantly lower levels of arsenic, all well under any FDA level of concern.”
Two months after that, Consumer Reports addressed arsenic in apple juice, noting some of the concern was not poorly placed, and that levels deemed acceptable were higher than that of drinking water.
More than a year and a half later, arsenic in apple juice concerns have prompted FDA action in the form of lowering acceptable levels, and the FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg says:
The FDA is committed to ensuring the safety of the American food supply and to doing what is necessary to protect public health… We have been studying this issue comprehensively, and based on the agency’s data and analytical work, the FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice for children and adults.
Compliance with the new arsenic in apple juice guidelines is voluntary, but the FDA expects most companies to fall in line with the new direction.