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The federal Food and Drug Administration is firing back at Dr. Mehmet Oz, after a Wednesday episode of his Harpo talk show accused several leading juice brands of including potentially dangerous levels of arsenic in their apple juice.
“American apple juice is made from apple concentrate, 60% of which is imported from China,” said a statement on the Dr. Oz Show website. “Other countries may use pesticides that contain arsenic, a heavy metal known to cause cancer. After testing dozens of samples from three different cities in America, Dr. Oz discovered that some of the nation’s best known brands of apple juice contain arsenic.”
The site contains a full list of test results and statements, including responses from several juice companies, such as Apple & Eve, Gerber, Juicy Juice and Mott’s.
“Recent media reports regarding the presence of arsenic in apple juice have been irresponsible and have needlessly alarmed consumers in the name of ratings,” a statement from Mott’s reads. “It is important for consumers to know that trace elements, such as arsenic, naturally occur in the environment and are present at miniscule levels in drinking water and many of the agriculturally derived foods and beverages we safely consume – everything from dairy products, meat and whole fruits to vegetables and grains.”
The FDA also released a statement to consumers, insisting that the information relayed by Dr. Oz was not entirely accurate.
“When the Dr. Oz Show gave the FDA information suggesting that apple juice samples it had tested showed results as high as 36 parts per billion (ppb) of total arsenic, the FDA obtained its own samples of apple juice—including a sample of the same lot of apple juice purportedly containing 36 ppb—for analysis,” the agency said. “The FDA’s test results do not support the findings of the Dr. Oz Show, and, in fact, are significantly less (2 to 6 ppb) than the levels found by the television program’s analysis.”
Additionally, the FDA posted to letters, addressed to Dr. Oz producer Barbara Simon, which suggest that the show’s test results “may be erroneously high,” and that “it would be irresponsible and misleading for the Dr. Oz Show to suggest that apple juice is unsafe based on tests for total arsenic.”
Dr. Oz himself appeared on Good Morning America Thursday, Sept. 15, to stand by his show. The TV doc faced off against ABC News chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, who referred to the show’s claims as “fear mongering.”
“I’m not fear mongering. We did our homework on this, Rich,” Oz responded. “It is misleading to claim that all of the organic arsenic is safe.”
“I want to be clear about this,” he continued. “No children are dying from acute toxicity from arsenic, the levels we’re talking about are much lower than that. My concerns are about long-term effects over years of kids getting arsenic levels that are higher than we can tolerate. The FDA and the EPA have been continually reducing the amount of arsenic that they think is safe for us.”
Watch the complete showdown between Dr. Oz and Dr. Besser in the video below.
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