It all seemed a like shameless ratings stunt, but the campaign by telegenic daytime TV host Dr. Oz aboutarsenic levelsinapple juicehas been echoed by a newConsumer Reportsinvestigation that contradicts theFood and Drug Administration.
Consumer Reportstested 88 samples of apple and grape juice and found both arsenic and lead.
10 % of the juice samples had arsenic levels above what's allowed in drinking water. Specifically, a type called inorganic arsenic, which raises the risk of cancer. 25% of the juice samples had more lead than what's allowed in bottled water. For now, Consumer Reports is recommending parents avoid giving juice to babies younger than six-months, and says children younger than six-years-old should drink no more than a few ounces per day.
In response, the FDA sent aletterto the consumer advocacy groups Food & Water Watch and Empire State Consumer Project indicating that the FDA was now considering "setting guidance for the level of inorganic arsenic permissible in apple juice." If the FDA goes through with the decision, the watchdog groups say it would constitute a major victory for consumers.
Does Dr. Oz deserve credit for the agency's decision to reevaluate its apple juice standards?
"Absolutely, " said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch, "It shows the power of television to get the story out there."