Arsenic in Your Apple Juice? Probably..

apple juice

While the EPA limits arsenic in our drinking water to 10 parts per billion, recent tests have found the amount of arsenic in apple juice (Mott’s Apple Juice, in particular) to be 55 parts per billion — 5.5 times more than what the EPA will let us drink! The FDA does not regulate arsenic in juice at all, unfortunately. However, as a result of this finding and recent research it has conducted on food imports in the U.S., Food & Water Watch is pushing this government agency to start doing so.

Girl drinking apple juice…with arsenic in it?

Where is the arsenic coming from?

Well, the answer to that question is very likely China.

“Two-thirds of apple juice that Americans consume—more than 400 million gallons annually—comes from China,” Food & Water Watch reports. “This new data on apple juice comes on the heels of a report by Food & Water Watch that detailed China’s terrible safety record for food shipped to the United States.”

Apparently, arsenic has been found in U.S. juice before, as well, and Food & Water Watch is saying “it’s past time” for the FDA to start regulating this toxic substance in juice.

Need Improved Regulation of China Imports

Of course, Food and Water Watch — which has found numerous, systemic problems with food and juice imports from China — is also pushing the government to improve its regulation of Chinese imports, starting with regulation of apple juice imported from China.

“Our next safety scare could come compliments of China,” says Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter. “Given how pervasive poorly regulated Chinese food exports are in our food supply, the FDA has a responsibility to focus its attention on imported foods, especially those that are most often eaten by children. Setting a limit for arsenic in apple juice would be a good place to start.”

The Empire State Consumer Project, which commissioned the arsenic testing above, and Food & Water Watch have sent a letter to the FDA along these lines, and “the lab report outlining the heavy metals tested for in several brands of apple juice, can be found here.”

Additionally, if you want to delve further into food imports from China, check out: A Decade of Dangerous Food Imports from China. As a short summary, the report found that many common foods in the U.S. come from China and “China’s food exports to the U.S. have tripled over the past decade to nearly 4 billion pounds of food in 2010, worth nearly $5 billion.” And it found that while the FDA kept 9,000 “unsafe products” out of the U.S. from 2006 to 2010, less than 2% of imported food is actually inspected. Concerning?

If you want to help push for FDA regulation of arsenic in juice, you might contact Anna Ghosh — aghosh(at)fwwatch(dot)org, 415-293-9905.

Photo via stvcr & Luiza

19 Comments

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    • If you do anything for an extended period or an excessive amount, it will likely be bad for you. Apple juice is no exception. No different than sun light, tv, cell phones and exercise.

      Moderation is the key.

    • Juice wouldn’t be classified as a natural food anyway. It would be better (and safer) to eat a whole apple from an orchard growing within 25 miles the local farmer’s market.

      We’re in Missouri and just switched from apples to Concord grape juice for the kids. Vintners grow it locally and bottle it in recyclable glass.

      >^;^<

  1. You may want to check your numbers in paragraph one where you stated, “While the EPA limits arsenic in our drinking water to 10 parts per billion, recent tests have found the amount of arsenic in apple juice (Mott’s Apple Juice, in particular) to be 5.5 parts per billion — 5.5 times more than what the EPA will let us drink!”

    Mathematically, 5.5 parts per billion cannot be 5.5 times higher than 10 parts per billion. I believe the original figure for the level of arsenic in the sample of Mott’s apple juice was stated as 55 parts per billion by http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org and as 0.055 mg/L on the Paradigm analytical report (http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/ESCP-11-2638.pdf).

  2. That is scary!
    I wonder if the same holds true in the UK – I’ve never read or heard anything like this, But I’d be more htan interested!

    I have never liked the labelling that allows producers to say “various countries” or whatever – I’ve always believed that the particular countries should be detailed.

    • hmm, yeah, don’t know anything about europe (though i live here), and didn’t know anything about this before either. would be nice if labels were more clear 😀

  3. I hate to be the one to point this out here, but arsenic is NATURALLY present in apples to begin with. The majority of it is found in the seeds, but significant amounts can be found in the skin and the meat of the apple as well. In fact trace amounts of arsenic are found in a lot of fruits and nuts. Cashews have plenty of the stuff, which is why you’ll never see cashews in-the-shell in stores, as the shell contains toxic levels.

    This is not to deter anyone from eating apples or cashews, both very healthy foods. My point being that arsenic is a perfectly natural substance and in trace amounts your body will simply process it and remove it from your system as it does with countless other toxins. Yay nutrition!

    • thank you very much I have been reading this article and saying the entire time”arsenic is in apple seeds” people really should do research before posting these articles. and in reality your body actually needs arsenic to sustain proper growth and healthy living.

  4. Thought I’d update you on Mott’s apple juice since that is what I usually buy. The back label of the Mott’s Natural apple juice clearly states “100% US Grown Apples.” Very hard to find, but stamped on the plastic bottle of their regular apple juice, is “USA and China.” Perhaps natural is the way to go for now.

  5. if apple juice has arsenic in it and baby food has lead in it what other foods is out there with arsenic or lead that we are unaware of. these are items we should be aware of to protect our families.

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