Apple juice and new FDA rules for arsenic

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by DR. WENDY SUE SWANSON / Seattle Mama Doc

KING

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Late last week the Food and Drug Administration provided an updated “action plan” and recommendation for monitoring inorganic arsenic levels in apple juice.

Back in 2011, the controversy about arsenic in apple juice began when Dr. Oz presented data on his afternoon television show that was quickly rebutted by Dr. Richard Besser on Good Morning America. Dr. Oz reported high levels of total arsenic (organic and inorganic) in apple juice but there were concerns of unnecessary scares.

Up until this point, the FDA wasn’t mandating arsenic levels in apple juice. After a cascading series of events (much criticism and then more reports and analytics) it is now more widely accepted that up to 10% of apple juice may have higher levels of inorganic arsenic than we tolerate in drinking water.

What is arsenic:
• 2 kinds of arsenic: organic and inorganic
• Organic arsenic in nature & doesn’t cause health problems
• Inorganic causes skin/organ changes and possible cancer risk
• Inorganic arsenic is known to be in rice, apple juice, poultry

FDA and arsenic in apple juice:
• FDA until now, no level for safety in apple juice
• 10% of apple juice exceeds safe arsenic levels
• Now, FDA proposes same level as for water (10 bpb)

What parents need to know:
• Juice is never necessary in child’s diet
• Even 100% fruit juice lacks good fiber
• Offer juice only at 1 meal a day, don’t put in sippy cup
• Minimize apple juice and rice in infant/child’s diet

Links:
FDA proposes “action level” for arsenic in apple juice
Mama Doc blog on Apple Juice and Arsenic
Arsenic: Health Effects and Exposures

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