Is Apple Juice Really Tainted with Dangerously High Levels of Arsenic?

by Dr Sam Girgis on September 15, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) performs numerous regulatory functions to ensure that the food supply and the medical drugs used in the United States are safe.  The FDA monitors fruit juices for elevated levels of toxic compounds including arsenic in its toxic elements in foods program.  The FDA has not issued an alert or warming regarding the safety of fruit juice or the elevated levels of arsenic in apple juice.  The Dr. Oz Show recently aired an episode that provided data to suggest that the levels of arsenic in apple juice, which is consumed by children, is dangerously high.  Prior to airing the episode, the Dr. Oz Show informed the FDA of its results.  The FDA repeated the testing and did not confirm the results and warned the producers of the Dr. Oz Show that using total arsenic levels, instead of differentiating between organic and inorganic forms, would be an inaccurate assessment of the arsenic levels in the apple juice samples.  The FDA has published letters that it sent to the producers of the Dr. Oz Show which state that airing the episode would be a misrepresentation of the data.  The letter concludes with the following statement:

“The FDA believes that it would be irresponsible and misleading for The Dr. Oz Show to suggest that apple juice contains unsafe amounts of arsenic based solely on tests for total arsenic. Should The Dr. Oz Show choose to suggest that apple juice is unsafe because of the amounts of total arsenic found by EMSL Analytical, Inc.’s testing, the FDA will post this letter on its website.”

A number of other sources have disputed the claim that apple juice is unsafe due to dangerously high levels of arsenic.  Dr. Richard Besser had a heated discussion with Dr. Mehmet Oz on “Good Morning America” and stated that “this was extremely irresponsible… It reminds me of yelling fire in a movie theater.”  What are your feeling regarding the levels of arsenic in apple juice?

See the “Good Morning America” news clip with Dr. Oz and Dr. Besser below:

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