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FDA to Examine Arsenic in Apple Juice – but It’s the Calories, Not the Poison, That is Hazardous

By Periscope @periscopepost

FDA to examine arsenic in apple juice – but it’s the calories, not the poison, that is hazardous

Is apple juice harmful? Photo credit: LeoLondon, http://www.flickr.com/photos/leolondon/4157639560/

This is the first in an on-going series for The Periscope Post, where we look at what’s going to kill you this week. If you’ve come across anything potentially lethal, send us an email at [email protected]

The American Food and Drug Administration is considering tighter restrictions on apple juice manufacturers after consumer advocacy groups pressured the agency to lower the amount of the chemical arsenic allowed in apple juice. But, say critics, it’s not the arsenic that’ll kill you – it’s the calories.

Studies have shown that trace amounts of arsenic, a favorite of poisoners in the Agatha Christie vein, can be found in apple juice – both naturally-occurring, non-harmful organic and the potentially carcinogenic and man-made inorganic. The FDA allows for a certain “safe” level of arsenic in juice, but consumer advocates claim that level is too high and is potentially dangerous to children who drink apple juice. Moreover, they claim that the FDA isn’t rigorous enough in its enforcement of arsenic standards.

There is little consensus on what levels of arsenic are harmful to children, who are the greatest consumers of juice in America – kids under 12 consume 28 percent of all juice and juice drinks. Nonetheless, Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods, told the Associated Press Wednesday that the agency has stepped up testing and research on arsenic in apple and other juices and is considering lowering the FDA’s safety levels for the chemical.

Dr. Oz was right – sort of. The news comes just two months after American television doc Mehmet Oz caused a panic, particularly among his stay-at-home-mom viewers, after he claimed that he’d found potentially dangerous levels of arsenic in 50 different brands of apple juice – and was told off by the FDA for being “irresponsible and misleading”. Consumer Reports, however, tested 88 samples of apple and grape juice from stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and found that nine of them had arsenic levels higher than the EPA allowed for drinking water, but not higher than the FDA’s safe level, and that 25 percent had lead levels higher than what the FDA deemed safe for bottled water.

Parents should avoid juices – but because of the calories, not the arsenic. Parents concerned about slowly poisoning their children shouldn’t worry – both the government and the consumer advocates experts agree that drinking small amounts of apple juice isn’t harmful, the Associated Press reported. What is harmful, however, is the caloric content of these juices, the agency reported, in a story picked up by several major American newspapers. “It’s like sugar water,” one nutritionist told the AP – apple juice has “few natural nutrients, lots of calories and, in some cases, more sugar than soda has” and can train children to crave very sweet things. What follows? Obesity and a whole host of health problems.


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