Arsenic and Apple Juice
By Anna Ghosh
Today the most popular doctor on television, Dr. Mehmet Oz, reveals some shocking results about toxins in apple juice. Tipped off by a Food & Water Watch and Empire State Consumer Project media advisory calling on the FDA to hold juice to the same minimum standards as drinking water, the Dr. Oz Show asked our Assistant Director Patty Lovera to be on the show as an expert guest and write an article about how arsenic gets in our food supply and what we can do to get it out.
While food safety scares that originate here in the U.S. get a lot of media attention—like the two recent turkey recalls—consumers need to keep in mind that a large proportion of our food is being imported into our country, but less than 2 percent of it actually gets inspected.
It’s not just juice. Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. food safety inspectors have been overwhelmed by the surging food imports from China, where environmental, food safety and labor laws are weaker, and regulatory oversight is lax. In 2009, 70 percent of apple juice, 43 percent of processed mushrooms, 22 percent of frozen spinach and 78 percent of tilapia Americans ate came from China. And there’s no indication that China’s food safety standards are improving. To learn more about the problem, read our recent report: A Decade of Dangerous Food Imports from China.
Unfortunately, food imports may be sickening consumers. Until we have a better system for inspecting imported food, the best way to protect ourselves is to buy food that’s grown and processed in the U.S. To find out where fresh, frozen and canned produce at the grocery store is coming from, check out the Global Grocer—a fun interactive tool that gives you interesting stats on items from a jar of pickles to frozen corn, to, yes, apple juice.
YOU CAN HELP!
Tell the FDA to set a limit for arsenic levels in juice and to step up inspections of imported foods!