Healthcare News & Insights

Dangerous levels of arsenic found in apple juice

A recent Consumer Reports study of 88 samples of apple and grape juices made a startling discover: 10% of those samples contained arsenic at levels higher than federal standards for drinking water. 

Even more shocking? Some apple juice samples contained inorganic arsenic, which has been linked to cancer and other diseases. But that’s not the whole story, if the ensuing controversy is any indication.

One centerpiece of the story was a televised debate between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Richard Besser. Originally, Besser had disagreed with Oz’s allegations that there are trace amounts of dangerous arsenic in popular brands of apple juice. Besser responded to Oz’s statements by saying, “You are telling parents they are poisoning their children, and you have no evidence.”

However, Besser publicly apologized to Oz on Wednesday, saying that the Food and Drug Administration had provided faulty data. The FDA claimed that there is an industry standard, and that the arsenic found in apple juice is the “safe” kind (organic arsenic, which is common in many foods we consume).

But the real issue is not which doctor won the battle, but whether or not apple juice is safe. While there’s little consensus on the matter, Besser for one doesn’t advise children under the age of seven to consume more than 4-6 ounces, and he says that babies under 6 months should not consume any.

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