The FDA may owe Dr. Oz an apology. Back in September, the government agency called a segment that aired on the Dr. Oz Show “irresponsible and misleading” for warning viewers that many brands of apple juice contain levels of arsenic higher than the acceptable minimum for drinking water. The FDA criticized the show, which found that 10 different samples to be unsafe, for not differentiating between toxic inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic, considered to be safe. Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen that is found in some pesticides and wood treatments, and there is no federal limit set for the amount that can acceptably found in fruit juices.
However, the FDA is considering reversing its position on arsenic in juice, as mounting evidence is corroborating with Dr. Oz’s findings. Consumer Reports found that about ten percent of the apple and grape juice they tested contained more total arsenic than then acceptable levels for drinking water, which is less than 10 parts per billion (ppb). Out of 88, they found total levels of arsenic that ranged 5.9 to 24.7 ppb from 1.1 to 13.9 ppb for apple juice. Furthermore, the majority of this arsenic was shown to be cancer-causing inorganic form.
Samples containing more than five ppb came from a number of major brands, including Welch’s, Gerber, Great Value, A7P’s America’s Choice, Minute Maid, Seneca, CVS’s Gold Emblem and Walgreens.
Along with Consumer Reports, Empire State Consumer Project and the Food and Water Watch have urged the FDA to implement a national threshold for arsenic in juice. A letter from the FDA to the two latter consumer groups stated the agency is “seriously considering setting guidance or other level for inorganic arsenic in apple juice” and is continuing to collect data.