Controversy is swirling around television show host Dr. Mehmet Oz’s recent suggestion that arsenic is present in apple juice.
The FDA has issued a statement saying that the agency “has every confidence in the safety of apple juice.”
Donald Zink, Ph.D, senior science advisor at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), explains that arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity. It is found in water, air, food, and soil in organic and inorganic forms.
As a result, small amounts of arsenic can be found in certain food and beverage products—including fruit juices and juice concentrates.
While acknowledging these facts, the FDA says there is no health risk from drinking apple juice.
On Thurdsay, ABC News Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser confronted Oz on “Good Morning America,” calling Oz’s statements “extremely irresponsible.”
“Mehmet, I’m very upset about this, I think that this was extremely irresponsible,” Besser said. “It reminds me of yelling fire in a movie theater.”
But Oz stood his ground.
“We just want to have the conversation, and we’ve been trying to make this conversation happen,” Oz said.
According to ABC, the FDA sent a letter to Oz’s show on September 9, warning that the airing of the show “would be ‘irresponsible’ and ‘misleading’ because the testing ignored that there are two forms of arsenic: organic and inorganic.” Organic arsenic is thought to be harmless.
“A lot of things can have organically bound arsenic like kelp, but most of those flow right through you” William Obermeyer, a former FDA chemist, told the Associated Press.
In a statement, Tim Sullivan, a spokesman for Oz’s show, told the AP: “We don’t think the show is irresponsible. We think the public has a right to know what’s in their foods.”