I reported here in September that Mehmet Oz had raised questions about the amount of arsenic found in apple juice. The FDA had responded that Oz’s testing methods were flawed and that our apple juice supply is perfectly safe.
At the time, I pointed out that apple juice, even without arsenic, is not an ideal beverage for kids or anyone else.
But as my colleague Janice D’Arcy reported Wednesday in the On Parenting blog, the controversy has taken new turn with a Consumer Reports apple-juice roundup that, like Oz’s, found more arsenic in apple (and grape) juice than perhaps should be there. Consumer Reports tested 88 juice samples (about 3 each from 28 apple and 3 grape juice brands) and found that about 10 percent of the samples had total arsenic levels higher than the 10 ppb (parts per billion) that the federal government allows in bottled water. The CR report, unlike Oz’s, accounts for the difference between inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic; the former is a known carcinogen, while the latter’s potential effects on human health are less clear. Most of the arsenic found was inorganic.
Consumer Reports says it’s calling on the FDA to set standards for arsenic levels (and lead levels, which were also high in some samples) for apple and grape juices. And, as D’Arcy writes, “The group is suggesting that parents restrict juice consumption to children up to 6 years old to no more than six ounces per day. For older children, it recommends no more than eight to 12 ounces a day.”
I’ll say it again: Arsenic or no arsenic, kids don’t need any more apple juice than that, anyway.