On Wednesday, November 30th, TODAY aired a report about Consumer Reports' new study on arsenic levels in apple and grape juice. Below are statements in response from the FDA and the Juice Products Association.
Statement from the FDA
"We welcome the research that Consumer Reports has undertaken and look forward to reviewing the data that formed the basis for their story and their recommendations. The FDA is committed to protecting the nation's public health from contaminants in our food supply and has been monitoring fruit juices, including apple juice, for arsenic content for more than 20 years. We continue to find the vast majority of apple juice tested to contain low levels of arsenic, including the most recent samples from China. For this reason, FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice consumed in this country. By the same token, a small percentage of samples contain elevated levels of arsenic. In response, FDA has expanded our surveillance activities and is collecting additional data to help determine if a guidance level can be established that will reduce consumer's exposure to arsenic in apple juice. FDA will continue to monitor the latest science and work with EPA and USDA to protect public health."
Statement from the Juice Products Association
"Safety and quality are the top priorities for U.S. juice producers. Consumers can be assured that juice producers test their products and comply with Federal regulations requiring that companies evaluate their processes, ingredients and packaging to ensure food safety.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), based upon thorough scientific evaluation and risk assessment, has established specific levels of concern for inorganic arsenic in apple and pear juice at 23 parts per billion (PPB) and for lead in fruit juice at 50 ppb. Juice products sold in the U.S. are within these Federal guidelines and we understand that the results of the Consumer Reports testing reinforce the findings that juice sold in America is safe and well below the levels of concern for arsenic and lead content.
Consumer Reports and other media outlets erroneously compare juice to the standards for drinking water. Juice is not water. To compare the trace levels of arsenic or lead in juice to the regulatory guidelines for drinking water is not appropriate because regulatory agencies have set lower thresholds for drinking water than for food and other beverages because people consume larger amounts of water. When FDA experts in food safety and toxicology developed the level of concern for juice, it took into account juice consumption among people of various ages, including children.
Juice producers rely on Federal regulatory agencies to establish science-based safety limits and juice producers will continue to comply with those."