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Dr. Oz ‘Confident’ In Original Apple Juice and Arsenic Reporting

12/08/2011 at 10:00 AM ET
Courtesy The Dr. Oz Show

When Dr. Mehmet Oz outlined the unsafe amounts of arsenic found in apple juice earlier this fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was quick to deny his claims, saying that the majority of the arsenic was organic, or “harmless.”

But in the months since then, Dr. Oz’s claims have been backed by Consumer Reports, and the FDA is now researching two types of organic arsenic found in apple juice that could potentially be harmful, as well as evidence that suggests inorganic arsenic makes up a larger quantity of apple juice than previously believed.

“We argued that organic arsenic was not safe. Everyone seems to agree with that now,” Dr. Oz tells PEOPLE.

“We argued that the predominant type of arsenic in apple juice is inorganic. Everyone agrees with that now. I think that a lot of the disagreements and the anger that was hoisted at the show after the original broadcast has dissipated.”

And despite that initial backlash, Dr. Oz never waivered in the validity of his findings.

“I knew that we had done our homework well. I was confident that we had done the right thing,” he says. “Even if people were going to be upset with us, we had told the public what we would tell our own families.”

“I also think it’s my obligation,” he continues, “at my core as a doctor. I’ve got to give that advice to you even when it’s uncomfortable. One thing we learn in medicine is to give bad news even when it’s not popular to hear.”

As a father of four, Dr. Oz reveals he never gave his children apple juice as infants, but as a guideline for parents, recommends giving kids under the age of six no more than 4 to 6 oz., and for kids older than that, 8 to 12 oz. at most.

“What you do is cut it with water or add orange juice or alternate with orange juice, which does not seem to have arsenic in it,” he says. “That’s what parents are going to have to do until the FDA comes out with new guidelines on how much arsenic they are going to tolerate.”

To that end, Dr. Oz, who recently became the first man to cover O magazine, is working alongside the FDA to help define new standards of acceptable arsenic levels in not just apple juice, but other food items, like rice, as well, all in the hopes of further helping families make healthier decisions.

“[A mom] goes out to spend her hard-earned cash to buy a box of apple juice that has more arsenic in it than her tap water; there’s something fundamentally wrong with that,” he says. “I had an obligation as a healer, and all of us who have an ability to affect this process, are obliged to protect those women from doing the wrong thing for their children.”

– Kiran Hefa with reporting by Thailan Pham

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Showing 19 comments

Sarah S. on

I don’t know about all of you, but I am confused. He makes these claims, but is there a list of which brands of apple juice (and rice) I should avoid? I use one top brand of apple juice over the other because the concentrate is made in the USA; while the other top brand the concentrate is made in China. Also, rice has arsenic?? That’s a major food staple in my house. What kind of rice and where from? Mine is basmati from India and I buy it in big canvas bags from a Middle Eastern store. Scary info…

Catca on

@Sarah S,

I’m not sure about the answers to your questions, but I know my son’s pediatrician has been advising me to avoid apple juice since my son was a baby. As a general rule, docs don’t advise it for kids. It’s hard to tell these days what is okay to feed our kids. I don’t give my son apple juice, but he does get pear juice on occasion when he’s constipated. The story above doesn’t mention juices other than apple or orange juice. We as moms all want to do the right thing for our children, but it is getting really confusing as to what that right thing is anymore. There is so much conflicting information out there.

emma on

The Doc have spoken

Anonymous on

If you really look into it, apparently nothing we eat is safe. And the more healthy alternatives are often time too expensive for the average family. Bottom line for us is everything in moderation.

Katie on

I love Dr. Oz!! What a wonderful man. And because of this, I threw out my apple and eve drink boxes.

laurapalmer on

Just in time for him to put out his own Dr Oz Oprah brand of ‘fruit juice’ for you to buy!

Tami on

Haha laurapalmer, I thought exactly the same thing! I loathe this kind of faux concern from celebrity doctors. It’s all self serving. There are people out there whose jobs are dedicated to protecting the public and regulating the food industry to make sure it’s safe but because we don’t know their names and they don’t have self-titled TV shows, we don’t trust them half as much as this guy. It’s sad.

J on

Well you sure stuck it to the man, Katie.

Laurapalmer and Tami are right. There are other people who’s job it is to study up on foods and when they make a claim we should be concerned about people poopoo them ,yet when Dr. Oz says that the tiniest sneeze is cancer people go flocking to their Drs during allergy season and write out wills.

A on

@Sarah S, and anyone else who’s interested:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.govmc/articles/PMC1892142//p

from the article:

“Until this all gets sorted out, consumers shouldn’t be overly concerned,” Duxbury says. Nevertheless, rice fanciers might note that both Duxbury and Meharg found basmati rice imported from India and Pakistan and jasmine rice from Thailand to contain the least arsenic.

Another article noted that within the US, rice from CA had the lowest arsenic levels
and rice from LA had the highest.

Shelby on

Tami,

If you honestly think the EPA and FDA are looking out for you and your family’s health than you have a lot of reading to do. Some many high level executives in those administrations that are “supposed” to be looking out for us have their pockets deep in the food industry. They’ll do anything to sweep things we don’t need to know about under the rug. You can do what you want but I trust myself for my health needs and even an inkling of arsenic is enough for me to not buy apple juice or serve it to others. Sure, it’s more expensive to be intentional about eating and making the right choices but I’d take that any day over a health risk like this. To each their own but I know I sure as heck wouldn’t have apple juice anywhere near my children until this is cleared up.

Harley on

God, it’s amazing any of us are still breathing – oh wait, they’re going to tell us that’s going to kill us too, right?

Carrie Jo on

I remember reading about this last year. I wish i could find the link, but one site showed some brands that had low or undetectable amounts of arsenic. One of the brands that I remember was Martinelli’s.

tarat3232 on

Shelby, you DO realize that arsenic is a naturally occurring product of most fruit, right? You can’t get rid of it completely.

Harley on

Yes, I’m suprised most of you don’t know. Arsenic is found in the seeds of apples. The cores/seeds aren’t removed before jucing, so the seeds are crushed, releasing arsenic which is left in the juice. So it’s no surprise that detectable amounts of arsenic is found in apple juice, and although it’s not a major concern in small amounts, people should still be aware of it, especially when giving it to small children.

Jacqui on

It’s not just the arsenic, it’s the LEVELS.

Shelby, you are totally right and I appreciate your comment. The FDA is terribly corrupt. Do a little digging and see for yourself.

Tami on

Shelby, I hope your conspiracy thinking works out for you. It must be scary to live in a world where an entire federal organization is completely corrupt and cannot be trusted to provide good advice.

Personally, I believe people are generally good and that they choose to enter fields such as science and population health because they actually care about people. There are likewise probably a few shady cops around who went into policing for the power trip, but that doesn’t mean you should distrust the entire police force and completely disregard all their advice.

Laura on

Gotta agree with the ones that say to be wary of the FDA. Many of the major countries in the world have a policy of having products be seen as guilty until proven innocent, so they have to be proven to be safe before it ever sees a stores shelves. The United States is not one of those countries.

We are a reactive society, the alarm bells go off after the fact. My husband is a research scientist so this isn’t some random link or story. Its based on papers most people don’t have the time or access to read. Not saying the FDA is evil but they aren’t angels either. And they are a business. A big business.

With all that said you just gotta do the best you can, don’t trust the FDA just because they are the FDA and do trust your own judgment.

Dee on

Relax people. Just continue to eat healthy. Apple juice once in a while will not kill you! You know your body better than Dr Oz. He gives great advice, but at the end of the day, u do what you believe is right for you..

jessica bennett on

Harley, apples do not contain arsenic. They contain cyanide. http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/apples.asp

Also, I too believe the FDA is not concerned with our well being. I think it is my job to look out for my family. I do trust the article that Dr. Oz has put up.

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