Lions and Tigers and Apple Juice, Oh My!

September 16th, 2011 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Lions and Tigers and Apple Juice, Oh My!

Television’s Dr. Mehmet Oz (a favorite of Oprah Winfrey) is under fire from the FDA and others for sounding what they say is a false alarm about the dangers of apple juice.

Oz, one of TV’s most popular medical experts, said on his Fox show Wednesday that testing by a New Jersey lab had found what he suggested were troubling levels of arsenic in many brands of apple juice. The Food and Drug Administration said its own tests show no such thing, even on one of the same juice batches Oz cited.

I’m not a juice expert and I certainly don’t have my own lab, but here’s my understanding of the situation: many commercial and popular brands of apple juice in the U.S. are made from apple concentrate, 60 percent of which are imported from China. Other countries quite possibly use pesticides that contain arsenic, a heavy metal known to cause cancer. The show tested three dozen samples from five brands, and Oz claimed that 10 had more arsenic than the limit allowed in drinking water – 10 parts per billion.

While all of this may be completely accurate, the buzz in the media is simply that apple juice, in general, is now bad for us, which also implicates apples – just as we enter into the new crop Autumn season.

Having accurate and complete information is important. First of all, as we know, if you are selling organic apples or organic apple juice, as most everyone reading this blog does, then this is not an issue as far as your own product goes. It’s important to educate and inform your shoppers, and let them know that the arsenic in question is actually a pesticide issue and not an apple issue per say. So, again, if your apples are organic – no arsenic.

Dr. Oz has certainly been an ally to the organic and natural foods industry, and I’m not looking to slam his study at all – I don’t have enough information to make an assessment one way or the other. But what I do know is that the reporting in the national media on this story has been horrific – incomplete, sensationalistic and misleading. Choose Organic – it seems to be making more and more sense.