Arsenic and Apple Juice: Dr. Oz Disputes the FDA


More than a few studies have already shown that apple juice, a lunchbox staple, contains arsenic in quantities a parent would prefer not to have their child ingesting. Last week, just in time for the start of the school year,  Dr. Mehmet Oz raised the issue again on his syndicated TV show. The FDA promptly responded that apple juice is safe, countering Dr. Oz’s claims by sending two letters to the producers of Dr. Oz’s show, says the  Los Angeles Times.

On his website, Dr. Oz says that

“Other countries may use pesticides that contain arsenic, a heavy metal known to cause cancer. After testing dozens of samples from three different cities in America, Dr. Oz discovered that some of the nation’s best known brands of apple juice contain arsenic.”

As Care2 blogger Jaelithe J. has written, arsenic is poisonous to humans in high doses. It is a known carcinogen and has been “implicated as a developmental toxin,” with in utero studies showing that exposure to arsenic can lead to birth defects in animals. While arsenic is a natural substance found at “very low levels in soil, plants and drinking water,” larger quantities can find their way into our food via various chemical pesticides. In particular, fruits and vegetables in China have been found to be contaminated with arsenic due to China’s insufficient controls of pesticide use and the environment — and many US distributors of apple juice and apple sauce “source some or all of their apples from Chinese orchards,” as Jaelithe writes.

So it’s hardly a wonder that consumers have concerns about what else is in the apple juice besides, well, apples.

The Environmental Protection Agency limits arsenic in drinking water to 10 parts per billion. Dr. Oz‘s study found 36 ppb in apple juice. Noting that it has been monitoring and testing apple juice for years, the FDA says its own tests of juice from the very same lot Dr. Oz tested had arsenic levels at 2 to 6 ppb.

That’s a big difference. One reason for the varied test results is due to  how arsenic levels are measured: Dr. Oz says that he tests for “total arsenic amount,” which sounds like the sort of information that  any parent, or consumer, would want to know. But as the Los Angeles Times points out:

Arsenic occurs naturally in foods in organic and inorganic forms, [the FDA] noted in one of the letters, and only certain levels of inorganic levels are toxic. “We have advised you that the test for total arsenic DOES NOT [all caps is theirs] distinguish inorganic arsenic from organic arsenic.”

At issue, says the FDA, is the amount of “inorganic arsenic” from, for instance, pesticides.

Not to be dissuaded, Dr. Oz, citing worries about the long-term effects on children’s health, has continued with his arsenic and apple juice campaign, sparring on ”World News With Diane Sawyer” with the network’s health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the Los Angeles Times observes, as important as it is to know exactly what’s in the food, and juice, we give to our kids and drink ourselves, Dr. Oz may be missing the the real culprit in apple juice, sugar:

Maybe what people should be more worried about is the sugar content in apple juice. A cup has about 27 grams, the equivalent of almost 6.5 teaspoons of sugar.

Better to eat a whole apple, which has about 5 grams of fiber and anywhere from 10 to 18 grams of sugar, depending on the variety. A 2009 study in the journal Appetite found that whole apples had a greater effect on satiety compared with applesauce and apple juice. For five weeks, 58 men and women ate an apple, applesauce, apple juice or apple juice with added fiber before a meal (a control group ate nothing before the meal). Those who ate an apple before lunch ate 15% less compared with the control group and less than those who ate applesauce or drank the juices. The participants felt fuller after eating the whole apple as well.

Excessive consumption of fruit juice is linked to short stature and obesity in preschoolers. Why not simply forgo the apple juice (all the more if you’re not sure where the apples in it are from) and just stick to apples?

Provided, that is, those apples aren’t from China.



Photo by iMaffo


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Studies Find Arsenic in Apple Juice

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Photo by Amy Loves Yah


Ernest R.
Ernest R.4 years ago

@ Beth H.. Haven’t you heard the good news ? We are so much healthier than our ancestors ever were and we live longer happier lives and are the luckiest, most affluent group of people that ever lived and it is a great triumph of the human spirit that we now have more people on earth than all those in all previous centuries together. There. Don’t you feel better now ? The wealthy will save us. I'm sure the space ship will be ready in time to take us where no man has been before.

Ernest R.
Ernest R.4 years ago

@ Rita K.. “IF you desire to be in the ONLY SHELTER FOR SURVIVAL, MY HOPE IS THAT YOU WILL SEEK THE LORD JESUS, AS ASK” Do I correctly understand that seeking the Lord Jesus will prevent the poison from affecting my survival ?

Gloria D.
Gloria Diaz4 years ago

We are the buyers, we have the control, they only understand money language; so we must hurt them in their wallets!
If we all together do a little effort, we can make the difference!

Dewey Fish
Past Member 4 years ago

You are the People who are allowing this to happen.... You are allowing TONS of Fluyoride to be poured into the water... Cluoride contains HUGE amounts of Heavy Metals and Poisons Yet YOU ALLOW this To Continue...
Either You Fight Back against Fluoride and Other Pollutants Or Stop Bitching and allow Government to Continue to Poison You and Take Your Medicine(Fluoride)...

rosemary weston
rosemary weston4 years ago

some people want to blame the victim...the consumer, claiming that they are ignorant. there are so many things to be concerned about. we can't know about all of them. we rely on "experts" to be honest with us . BUT, we can't trust them, not even the government agencies that are suppose to protect us.

it seems that most apple juice comes from multiple sources all mixed up. i think china still uses arsenic as a pesticide. it has been banned since 1970 (?) in usa, but it is still in the soil. that would mean that inorganic arsenic would be in all apples and apple products. possibly organically grown apples MAY contain less asenic, (and other nasty stuff). i don't know if there is any way to remove it. rachel carlson did her best,and there have been other cases where we should have learned our lesson. it is too bad we can't count on our government agencies to protect us. the food industry and others are royally screwing us. we have to voice our opinions. it was successful with the tobacco industry and if people had remained quiet in the past, things would be worse today. it is certainly bad enough and this is just one of many "tip of the iceberg" s that we've been seeing too much of.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado5 years ago

Thanks. They say that apple juice is good the the body.

Betsy M.
Betsy M.5 years ago

Drink water, eat fruit. How much of the arsenic is the naturally occurring kind, how much from pesticide?

Ke A.
Ke A.5 years ago

So along to the"apple day, keeps the doctor at bay"
Grow your own is the best idea!

Kalinka Poprawski

Wow, who would have thought! Thanks for sharing.

Mit W.
Mit Wes5 years ago

We're DOOMED again !