FDA proposes new rules for arsenic levels in apple juice

FDA proposes new rules for arsenic levels in apple juice

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

There has been a major update to a health story that Fox 5 covered very closely and it centers around how safe is apple juice to drink.

A huge controversy was created when it came to light two years ago and Doctor Mehmet Oz broke this controversy wide open. For a long time the Food & Drug Administration said "no, no, no." Everything is fine with the levels of arsenic in apple juice.

Well now the FDA has changed its position and is proposing a new limit. 

It was Dr. Oz who thrust the issue into the spotlight in 2011, reporting that total arsenic levels in apple juice were too high. The inorganic form of arsenic can cause cancer. 

Several months later, 'Consumer Reports Magazine' published its own investigation finding the same thing -- elevated levels of toxic arsenic.

At the time, the FDA said the levels of arsenic in apple juice were acceptable and not a danger to the public. Now, the federal agency has changed its mind and wants to lower the levels of the toxin. It's the first time the agency is setting a limit for arsenic levels in food.

The new standard would be 10 parts per billion which, by the way, is the level for drinking water.

The FDA spoke to Fox 5 by phone.

"This really is an outgrowth of ongoing work and we appreciate the input and we responded," said Michael Taylor of the FDA. "We take seriously the input that we get from folks outside."

Dr. Oz talked to Fox 5 Friday regarding the FDA's decision.

"I'm particularly impressed that they came forward. I know it's been difficult and they said you know what, in order to make the food supply safer, we're going to set a limit. Apple juice will be safer because of this new ruling," said Dr. Oz.

The question now is how would FDA monitor and enforce the new standard.

"We conduct samplings of apple juice on the market and we sample imported apple juice and so if we detect a product that is above the 10 parts per billion level – we can diffuse its entry into this country or take action to remove it from the U.S. market," said Taylor.

The FDA is not implementing the new standard just yet. First, the agency will accept input from the juice industry and the public.

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