Adult supervision for fries and Dr. Oz hype over arsenic and apple juice

09/15/2011 02:43:00 PM
Tom Karst

So it was Mission Accomplished as far as creating a buzz about arsenic and apple juice, and the media fallout continues today. Here is coverage from Medpagetoday.com "FDA slams Dr. OZ for apple juice report" and this video clip from Good Morning shows a lively debate on the issue.

The Food and Drug Administration officials went to extreme lengths to warn Dr. Oz about his approach and then brace the media for the cosumer reaction to the Oz segement, which aired yesterday. 

Here is what the USDA sent to my inbox yesterday morning:


Dear Industry Trade Press Constituent:
 
We wanted to let you know about some new information that is available on the FDA Internet site that may be of interest to you.
 
We have posted new information on the FDA's Internet site on the issue of apple juice and arsenic.  As you are probably already aware, arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally-occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity, such as from the use of certain pesticides or fertilizers.  It is found in water, air, food, and soil.
There are two types of arsenic: organic and inorganic. The inorganic forms of arsenic are the harmful forms, while the organic forms of arsenic are essentially harmless. Because both forms of arsenic have both been found in soil and ground water, small amounts can be found in certain food and beverage products – including fruit juices and juice concentrates.

The Dr. Oz show is airing a segment today, September 14, 2011, on this issue and we wanted to ensure that there was reliable information available for consumers and our other constituents to accurately answer their questions and concerns.


 The FDA issued two separate letters to the producers of the Dr. Oz show urging them not to air the segment because the information they present is misleading and it would be irresponsible to suggest that apple juice contains unsafe amounts of arsenic based on tests for total arsenic since it does not distinguish between organic and inorganic.  At this time, it appears that the episode is still scheduled to air this afternoon at 3 PM EST.   We have also posted the letters that were sent to the Dr. Oz show on our Internet site in an effort to provide additional information to constituents.  
 
In addition, at 3PM today, there will be a blog posted on www.foodsafety.gov on this issue where constituents can obtain information and have the opportunity to ask questions.  Answers from FDA will be posted back onto the blog so that all readers will have access to the responses.
 
We encourage you to share the information with your constituents as well as with any other connections that you may have that you feel would benefit from receiving this information.
 
We appreciate your assistance in our outreach efforts on this issue.
 
http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm271595.htm - Questions & Answers: Apple Juice and Arsenic
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm271394.htm - FDA: Apple Juice is Safe To Drink (Consumer Update)
http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm271746.htm - Letters from the FDA to the Dr. Oz Show Regarding Apple Juice and Arsenic



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