FDA disputes TV doc's warning of apple juice risk

The federal Food and Drug Administration and a leading doctor are disputing suggestions by television show host Dr. Mehmet Oz that trace amounts of arsenic in many apple juice products pose a health concern.

(AP Photo/Harpo Productions, Inc., George Burns)

(AP) -- The federal Food and Drug Administration and a leading doctor are disputing suggestions by television show host Dr. Mehmet Oz that trace amounts of arsenic in many apple juice products pose a health concern.

Oz said on his show Wednesday that testing by a New Jersey lab has found what he implied are troubling levels of arsenic in many juices.

However, the FDA says the lab methods were not appropriate and that its own tests show much lower arsenic levels. The agency warned "The Dr. Oz. Show" producers in advance that their testing was misleading.

Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician and former acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also scolded Oz Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America" show for scaring consumers with what Besser called an "extremely irresponsible" report, like "yelling 'Fire!' in a movie theater."

The issue: arsenic is naturally present in water, air, food, and soil in organic and inorganic forms, according to the FDA.

"Organic arsenic is essentially harmless," the agency says, and it passes through the body quickly. Inorganic arsenic is the type found in pesticides, and consuming it at high levels or over a long period can cause concern.

The testing "The Dr. Oz Show" did was for total arsenic, and the FDA even disputes those levels. The agency's own tests found lower total arsenic from one of the same juice batches the show's lab tested.

"There is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking these juices. And FDA has been testing them for years," the statement says.

Note to consumers: They are talking about organic and inorganic arsenic — not organic versus non-organic fruits and vegetables.

An independent lab agreed with the FDA's contention that the form of arsenic matters.

"A lot of things can have organically bound arsenic like kelp, but most of those flow right through you" and don't accumulate, said William Obermeyer, a former FDA chemist who cofounded ConsumerLab.com. It is a company that tests dietary supplements and publishes ratings for subscribers, much as Consumer Reports does with household goods.

Tim Sullivan, a spokesman for Oz's show, sent an email saying: "We don't think the show is irresponsible. We think the public has a right to know what's in their foods."

Sullivan said Oz does not agree that organic arsenic is as safe as authorities believe, and that the show will do further tests to distinguish organic from inorganic arsenic in juice samples.

"The position of the show is that the total arsenic needs to be lower," he said. "We did the tests. We stand by the results and we think the standards should be different."

___

AP television writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

___

Associated Press
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
News Topics: Organic food, Health, Food and drink, Lifestyle

People, Places and Companies: Mehmet Oz, Richard Besser


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 129898358 - local8now.com/a?a=129898358
Gray Television, Inc.