Apple Juice Arsenic Limits Set By The FDA
July 12, 2013

FDA Limits Apple Juice Arsenic Levels

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

On Friday, the FDA proposed setting a new limit on the level of arsenic allowed in apple juice after facing public pressure from consumer groups over the past year. The agency proposed a limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in apple juice, which is the same level set by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for arsenic in drinking water.

"The FDA is committed to ensuring the safety of the American food supply and to doing what is necessary to protect public health," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "We have been studying this issue comprehensively, and based on the agency's data and analytical work, the FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice for children and adults."

Michael R. Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said that while the levels of arsenic in apple juice are very low, the agency is proposing an action level to help prevent public exposure to the few lots  of apple juice  that contain levels above those permitted in drinking water.

The agency said the proposed level of 10 ppb takes into account a sampling of data plus peer-reviewed risk assessment of inorganic arsenic in apple juice conducted by FDA scientists. The agency said it has been monitoring the presence of arsenic in apple juice for the past 20 years and has consistently found that samples contain levels that are low, with only a few exceptions.

New tools have enabled the agency to learn more about the breakdown between organic and inorganic arsenic levels. In the past year the FDA released findings from its latest data collection, looking at 94 samples of apple juice for arsenic content. This review showed that 95 percent of apple juice samples tested were  below 10 ppb total arsenic, while 100 percent of the samples tested below the allowable levels for inorganic arsenic.

According to the FDA, inorganic arsenic may be found in foods because it is present in the environment, both as a naturally occurring mineral and because of activity such as past use of arsenic-containing pesticides.

"A known carcinogen, inorganic arsenic has also been associated with skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, and diabetes," the agency said in a statement.