I wrote a post last week about the recent stir caused by Dr. Mehmet Oz when he said that commercial apple juice contains high levels of arsenic that might be harmful long-term. This revelation not only caused a buzz among moms, but it upset the FDA who emphatically fought back by saying their regular assessments of apple juice prove that it is indeed safe for families. My position is that there is some truth behind what Dr. Oz says: concentrate from China and other countries, is not regulated under the same guidelines as concentrate in the U.S.
As Dr. Oz points out, many apples overseas are treated with pesticides that contain inorganic arsenic. Now, New York Senator, Charles Schumer, is calling for stricter laws, and says the federal government should regulate juice concentrate that’s shipped from China to protect kids from long-term effects, such as cancer.
On the Dr. Oz show, investigators found that 10 samples of juice contained arsenic levels higher than limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency for regular drinking water.
Schumer agreed with Dr. Oz in the use of inorganic arsenic in apple juice:
“The fact is [organic] arsenic is found in everyday life and is not toxic to the human body. But inorganic arsenic manufactured for the use of pesticides is a carcinogen and can cause cancer if accumulated in the body over a long period of time. This is especially important because over 60% of the apple and pear juice concentrates in the United States are imported from China, a country with notoriously lax food safety standards and a place where toxic inorganic arsenic is routinely used in pesticides.”
The NY Daily News reports that Schumer is not suggesting that juice in unsafe at the moment but that we need further regulation: “Parents should not be alarmed or stop giving their kids juice,” Schumer said. “Juice is safe. It’s an excellent alternative to many of the things that kids seek to drink. . . . But the bottom line: the FDA needs to put standards in place to make it crystal clear what levels of inorganic arsenic are safe and whether they are safe over a long period of time. They do it for bottled water, they can do it for juice.”
Do you think the juice you buy doesn’t have concentrate from China? I did too. One reader, Susan P. left a comment on my original post saying that her sister told her how many juices were imported from China, but she didn’t really believe it. She was surprised when she perused the juice aisle in her supermarket and saw just how many did have concentrate imported from China. Susan’s story prompted me to look at the juice I had in my fridge.
I typically buy only the brand names juices, so I mistakenly thought our juice would be made in the USA. I checked a bottle of Mott’s and it said the concentrate was manufactured in Texas, but when I looked at a fresh, unopened bottle of Apple & Eve, the label read that its concentrate is manufactured in U.S., Argentina and China.
With all the apples we produce and all the farmers that would benefit from major juice companies buying their apples, would in the world do we import concentrate from China? Not everything should come down to money, and certainly not the health of our children, whether it is a long term or immediate concern. What happened to doing things the right way instead of the cheap way?
Have you checked the juice in your pantry? Would it bother you if the concentrate was from China? Is Senator Schumer right in calling for stricter regulation?