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FDA to Dr. Oz: Apple Juice Is Safe for Kids

Blend Images Photography for Veer

Yesterday’s taping of the Dr. Oz Show may have had moms snatching sippy cups from their kids when the show’s host announced that many popular apple juice brands contained dangerous levels of arsenic. This morning, the TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer spoke with Dr. Oz after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said his findings were inaccurate and “irresponsible” for causing panic among parents.

Arsenic, a chemical linked to kidney failure and cancer, comes in both organic and inorganic forms. Organic arsenic is in our air and water, and when it’s naturally occurring, it’s essentially harmless, according to the FDA. What the FDA regulates is the inorganic arsenic that can come into food by pesticides. It then accused Dr. Oz of not differentiating between organic and inorganic arsenic, instead testing for the total amount and coming up with inaccurate numbers.

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"To try and interpret that data to mean that apple juice is unsafe, is misleading. It's irresponsible, and I think they're needlessly scaring parents," FDA scientist Don Zink, Ph.D, told the TODAY Show.

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But Dr. Oz insists the tests on his show, done by an independent lab, are accurate in their finding that one-third of contained dangerous levels of arsenic, much higher than the level the EPA allows in drinking water. The TODAY Show’s independent expert from Cornell University pointed out that the doctor’s study was flawed because it didn’t test enough samples to draw conclusions. At this point, the FDA hasn’t determined what exactly a safe level of inorganic arsenic is, but it has determined that the same lots of juice the Dr. Oz Show examined had almost no arsenic. Huh.

When asked what all his research meant, Dr. Oz said he didn’t want parents to banish apple juice altogether, since arsenic presents no short-term risk, but that he did want to open up a discussion about arsenic in juice.

What’s your take on this? Has Dr. Oz needlessly panicked parents, or do you think the FDA needs to take another look at arsenic levels in juice?