By: Tony Flood Date: 12/2/11
Arsenic is naturally occurring and is found throughout our environment. It’s in the ground, the soil, the water and in the air we breathe. Since arsenic can be found naturally in our environment, we shouldn’t’ be surprised to learn that arsenic can be found in our food supply in very small amounts. As with many naturally occurring compounds, they are normally part of the soil and water in which we grow and harvest our food.
So, why the big fuss about over arsenic?
Back in September, Dr. Oz raised his concerns about arsenic in apple juice. However, as I wrote then, what was missing from his argument was the fact that while these low levels do exist, they are far below the levels of concern set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which determines if the levels are safe. If the levels were over those set by FDA, these juices wouldn’t be available for us to buy, drink or serve to our families.
A New Report Raises Concerns
This week, we heard about another set of tests that were conducted by Consumer Reports finding small amounts of arsenic in a very limited number of juice products. Just as Dr. Oz’s results indicated, the small amounts detected by Consumer Reports were well below the FDA level for safety. Both Dr. Oz and Consumer Reports evaluated their results based on the EPA standard for arsenic in drinking water. The appropriate standard for arsenic in juice is set by FDA. The two standards are derived differently due to the fact that we drink more water than juice, which would account for a much lower level of acceptable arsenic in water.
I’ve learned over the years that it’s not the presence of anything like arsenic in juice; it’s the actual amount that makes something harmful. FDA, the regulatory agency that oversees juice production here in the U.S. confirmed the safety of apple juice in September, and once again this week reaffirmed the safety of apple juice consumed in this country. As with all emerging science, FDA welcomes opportunities to evaluate the science and will make any necessary changes to protect the public. Until such data and information is received, I feel that the current low levels for arsenic in juice are safe for me and my family.
Drinking Apple Juice
My family and I trust that FDA will continue to provide guidance and to provide a safe food supply. Based on what I’ve learned from FDA and others, there is very little reason for anyone to change or recommend a change in their diet based on these low levels of arsenic in apple juice.
For more please check out our Questions & Answers About Arsenic in Foods and Beverages: