FDA Proposes to Limit Arsenic Levels in Apple Juice

July 12, 2013

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed to put a limit on the amount of inorganic arsenic found in apple juice, comparable to the allowed level of arsenic in drinking water.

The FDA has proposed a limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in apple juice. This is the same level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for arsenic in drinking water.

Inorganic arsenic may be found in foods as it is present in the environment, both as a naturally occurring mineral and due to activities such as the use of arsenic-containing pesticides.

A known carcinogen, inorganic arsenic has also been associated with skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.

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

The FDA has been monitoring the presence of arsenic in apple juice for the past 20 years and has consistently found that samples contain low levels of arsenic, with few exceptions, the agency said on its website.

The proposal was applauded by non-profit, independent product-testing organization Consumer Reports, which called it a "reasonable first step in protecting consumers from unnecessary exposure to arsenic.

"Now that the FDA has released its proposed guidance, we look forward to analyzing the agency's risk assessment, submitting comments, and continuing the dialogue on this important public health issue," said Urvashi Rangan, Director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at the organization.


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