Dr. Oz vs. FDA Over Arsenic In Apple Juice

Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz, heart surgeon and talk show host, went on his tv show recently and warned consumers about the arsenic levels in the Apple Juice we drink and give to our kids. He had several off the counter brands of apple juice sent to a lab in New Jersey and tested for their arsenic content. The report he got back indicated that the apple juice had a much higher than safe amount of arsenic in the juice. The makers of the juices and the FDA weren’t too happy about this and called foul. The FDA fired off letters to the Dr. Oz Show telling them that they did the same test but the juice came out safe and the reason Dr. Oz’s results were different is because they did the test incorrectly. They maintained that the test that was done on the apple juice was the test done for wastewater not for juice. Apparently there are two forms of arsenic; organic and inorganic. The Oz test calculated total arsenic and did not separate organic from inorganic. The FDA says that isn’t the correct way to test. Organic is naturally occurring and in small doses can be passed through the body without harm. Inorganic is the more toxic form of arsenic and tends to do things like cause cancer.

Dr. Oz didn’t back down from his stance.

The FDA and apple juice manufacturers say that Dr. Oz’s results are misleading and will cause undue panic. Dr. Oz says his concern is for the future. That since it’s such a common beverage that the elevated levels of arsenic, even inorganic, could do damage over the long-term to people’s health. Part of the concern is that the United States has banned the use of arsenic in things like pesticides however other countries still use it. We now get a huge portion of our apples that are made into juice from China where the safety standards are lower; remember the lead issue?

“American apple juice is made from apple concentrate, 60 percent of which is imported from China,” the website version of his report says. “Other countries may use pesticides that contain arsenic, a heavy metal known to cause cancer.”

I think this is a valid point; but why are we importing apple juice concentrate and not making it here? Anyway, the long-term exposure of something toxic at level that is deemed safe per individual dose is something that should be looked at. The health condition of the citizens of American has been steadily declining over the years. We are constantly bombarded with attacks on our immune systems by all sorts of chemicals used in the processing of our food supply. We’ve all been taught the axiom “You are what you eat.” and we are a bunch of poisons mixed with additives and preservatives. We really need to get serious about what is going on with our food supply. Still hate you Monsanto. These additional chemicals may be ok in a single dose but that test is only done on that product and doesn’t take into account the other 20 products we might use during that day that has the same chemical. So a certain product may be safe alone but not in conjunction with others who are also deemed safe by themselves.

Other so-called health experts, doctors and gatekeepers of our interest should follow Dr. Oz’s lead and raise these questions.

Q: Why worry about arsenic in apple juice at all?
A: The US Geological Survey says China is the world’s largest producer of arsenic. We outlawed arsenic in pesticides in the US, but we don’t know what happens in other countries’ apple orchards. Those apples can be sprayed with pesticides that contain inorganic arsenic. Our show found that one box of American apple juice can come from apple concentrate from China and six other countries. That’s how arsenic can get into the US juice supply. We have the right to know how safe that concentrate is.

Q: The FDA criticizes The Dr. Oz Show’s lab results because they reveal total arsenic, not inorganic arsenic vs organic arsenic.
A: One of the juice companies tested the same juice lots we did and sent us their lab results’ breakdown of organic vs inorganic. The majority of those samples’ total arsenic was the most harmful kind: Inorganic. (This lab report shows As (III) and As (V) – those are inorganic forms of arsenic.) The FDA has this data.

The University of Arizona also studied this in 2009. They did what The Dr. Oz Show did. They bought items from a supermarket and sent it to a lab to look for arsenic. They found apple juice samples that contained a high level of inorganic arsenic – above the 10 ppb the EPA sets for total arsenic in drinking water.

This isn’t the first time the FDA is hearing this.

The FDA reports in total arsenic also. Check their Total Diet Study.

Q: The FDA says organic arsenic in apple juice is essentially harmless. Is it?
A: Organic arsenic CAN be harmful. There are toxic forms of organic arsenic. The FDA also knows that our understanding of organic arsenic is evolving. We are learning more about how organic arsenic is converted into the more toxic inorganic arsenic.

The FDA announced this summer that a company that makes chicken feed with ORGANIC arsenic was suspending sales because INORGANIC arsenic was turning up in the chicken.
Now, we’re not chickens. But scientists say it’s the wake-up call to do more studies on how the human body processes organic arsenic.

The Dr. Oz Show has extended new invitations to the FDA, the juice companies and the Juice Products Association to appear on the show. They all declined the first time. We hope to have them join us in a follow-up broadcast.

Dr. Oz says the American people have a right to know about what is in their food. When asked by the Oz crew about how they determine what are safe levels of arsenic the FDA responded that to get that information Oz would have to file a Freedom of Information Act request. That doesn’t bode well.

Socrates - I drank what?

How about we protect the people instead of the industry?


Jaylon Carter

Jaylon Carter is a blogger, social media marketing consultant, former Congressional Campaign Media & Communications Director, and a Hip Hop artist who performs under the stage name Timid (@timidmc). He also runs NetBuzzDigest.com, a subscription newsletter informing parents of current happenings on the Internet.

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2 Responses

  1. September 24, 2011

    […] juice claim doesn't hold water, FDA saysDr. Oz claims that there is arsenic in apple juiceDr. Oz vs. FDA Over Arsenic In Apple Juicevar switchTo5x=true;stLight.options({publisher:'wp.c273f85e-f3c0-47d4-9743-98be31adfc15'});var […]

  2. December 17, 2011

    […] when Dr. Oz  caused a huge controversy over arsenic levels in apple juice and the FDA and other medical professionals jumped down his throat? Oz was accused of various […]

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