The Food and Drug Administration reassured Americans on Thursday that apple juice is safe to drink, countering claims by television show host Dr. Mehmet Oz that apple juice may contain arsenic.
After Oz warned about the dangers of apple juice during a recent episode of the Dr. Oz Show, citing tests conducted on popular apple juice brands at an independent laboratory, the FDA acted swiftly to condemn his irresponsible and misleading report.
There is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking these juices. And FDA has been testing them for years, the agency said in a statement.
Central to the FDA's criticism is that there are two types of arsenic: organic arsenic is fairly common, can be contained in food and water, and passes through the body quickly and harmlessly. Inorganic arsenic, the kind found in pesticides, can be hazardous and carries health risks that include cancer. Oz failed to distinguish between the two, even though the arsenic found in fruit juices is typically the safe, organic variety.
American apple juice is made from apple concentrate, 60 percent of which is imported from China, the Web site version of Oz's report says. Other countries may use pesticides that contain arsenic, a heavy metal known to cause cancer.
The FDA also ran tests on the same brands that Oz tested and found significantly lower levels of arsenic -- two to six parts per billion of arsenic versus the 36 that Oz's show purported to uncover.
Tim Sullivan, a spokesman for the show, told The Associated Press that the show stood by its findings.
The position of the show is that the total arsenic needs to be lower, he said. We did the tests. We stand by the results and we think the standards should be different.
Henry Miller, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and formerly the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology, told MedPage on Friday that Oz's inaccuracy amounted to fearmongering.
Unless there is evidence that a substance is present at sufficient exposures and levels to cause harm, warnings about its presence in food (or in our bodies, for that matter) is irresponsible alarmism, he wrote in an e-mail. This is the same sort of rubbish peddled by radical environmental activist organizations about pesticides.