Arsenic in apple juice?

September 15th, 2011

Joan Salge Blake, clinical associate professor of nutrition and a registered dietician, weighs in on the controversy surrounding how “The Dr. Oz Show” yesterday aired a segment about unsafe levels of arsenic in many brands of apple juice. The FDA, however, has called the show’s testing methods “erroneous” and “misleading” since they only looked at total levels of arsenic rather than distinguishing between the organic and inorganic types. The agency asserts that apple juice is safe and does not contain harmful levels of arsenic.

According to Salge Blake:

“Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment as well as from contamination by humans. Inorganic arsenic is the harmful kind, so just like with cholesterol, getting a measurement of total arsenic doesn’t say very much.

“The FDA has been tracking the potential contamination in apples and other juices for years and concludes that there is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking apple juice.

“However, on another note, children ages 2 to 18 years consume more than half of their fruit intake as juice. Unfortunately, 100% juice lacks the fiber in whole fruits and when consumed in excess, can displace other healthy beverages, such as fat-free and low fat milk. While 100% fruit juice can be part of a well-balanced healthy diet, the majority of American’s daily fruit intake, young and old, should be from whole fruit.”

Contact Salge Blake at 617-353-7470; salge@bu.edu.

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