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FDA disputes TV suggestion of apple juice risk

The federal Food and Drug Administration and a leading doctor
are disputing suggestions by television show host Dr. Mehmet Oz
that trace amounts of arsenic in many apple juice products pose a
health concern.
Oz said on "The Dr. Oz. Show" Wednesday that testing by a New
Jersey lab has found what he implied are concerning levels of
arsenic in many juices.
However, the FDA says the lab methods were not appropriate and
that its own tests show much lower arsenic levels. The agency
warned the show's producers in advance that their testing was
misleading.
Dr. Richard Besser, former acting head of the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, also scolded Oz Thursday on ABC's
"Good Morning America" show for scaring consumers with what
Besser called an "extremely irresponsible" report, like "yelling
`Fire!' in a movie theater."
The issue: arsenic is naturally present in water, air, food, and
soil in organic and inorganic forms, according to the FDA.
"Organic arsenic is essentially harmless," and passes through the
body quickly, the agency says. Inorganic arsenic is the type found
in pesticides and at high levels or over a long period, can cause
concern.
The testing "The Dr. Oz Show" did was for total arsenic, and
the FDA even disputes those levels. The agency's own tests found
lower total arsenic from one of the same juice batches the show's
lab tested.
Tim Sullivan, a spokesman for Oz's show, sent an email saying:
"We don't think the show is irresponsible. We think the public has
a right to know what's in their foods."
Sullivan said Oz does not agree that organic arsenic is as safe
as authorities believe, and that the show will do further tests to
distinguish organic from inorganic arsenic in juice samples.
"The position of the show is that the total arsenic needs to be
lower," he said. "We did the tests. We stand by the results and
we think the standards should be different."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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