The Juice Products Association (JPA), the trade organization representing the juice products industry, says reports about arsenic in apple juice on the Dr. Oz Show are misleading. According to the JPA, the Dr. Oz Show may needlessly cause concern among consumers because the program fails to explain that arsenic is in the soil, water and air and therefore it is found in very low, harmless levels in many naturally sourced foods and beverages.
"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," said Gail Charnley, Ph.D., a toxicologist for JPA. "Subsequent FDA testing of the same lots of juice from one of the named brands, using the appropriate method for testing arsenic levels in juice, found significantly lower levels of arsenic, all well under any FDA level of concern."
The FDA has established what it calls a "level of concern" at 23 parts per billion (ppb) for the presence of inorganic arsenic in apple juice. Two forms of arsenic—organic and inorganic—are found in trace levels in many foods and beverages that are derived from nature. The FDA monitors levels of inorganic arsenic in apple juice because organic arsenic presents no toxicity. The Juice Products Association states that according to the lab reports shared with JPA by The Dr. Oz Show, the laboratory did not use the FDA's approved test method for fruit juices.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a specific method for testing fruit juice because juice contains many more naturally occurring compounds than water," said Dr. Charnley. "Not only are the results based upon the wrong test method, to compare the trace levels of arsenic in apple juice to the regulatory guidelines for drinking water is not appropriate. Regulatory agencies have set lower thresholds for drinking water than for food and other beverages because people consume larger amounts of water. Dr. Oz is not comparing apples to apples."
The JPA notes that while the Dr. Oz Show singles out imported juice products as being a potential source of contaminants, all food and beverage products sold in the U.S., both foreign and domestically produced, must meet the same FDA food safety guidelines.
"Apple juice is a safe and nourishing beverage for people of all ages," said Carol Freysinger, executive director for The Juice Products Association. "Safety and quality are the top priorities for U.S. juice producers. The FDA conducts sampling of juice and juice concentrates and has found no safety concerns in apple juice. The juice industry also does its own testing to ensure its products meet or exceed government guidelines and are safe for consumers to enjoy. The members of the Juice Products Association are committed to providing safe and nutritious fruit juice products."
Additional information about apple juice safety can be found online at www.fruitjuicefacts.org.
The Juice Products Association is the trade association representing the fruit and juice product industry.
Gail Charnley, Ph.D., a toxicologist for Juice Products Association, is available for interviews to answer questions about apple juice safety. Dr. Charnleyis an internationally recognized scientist specializing in environmental health risk assessment and risk management science and policy. She has 30 years of experience in the biological, chemical, and social policy aspects of environmental and public health protection.