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Report: Arsenic in apple and grape juice
November 30th, 2011
06:02 PM ET

Report: Arsenic in apple and grape juice

The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN Senior Medical News Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.

Ten percent of apple juices and grape juices have higher arsenic levels than are allowed in drinking water in the United States, according to a new study by Consumer Reports.

The magazine analyzed 88 samples of fruit juice purchased at stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Several well-known brands, including Walmart, Mott’s, Walgreens and Welch’s, had levels higher than 10 parts per billion of arsenic, the threshold set by the federal government for bottled and tap water.

Twenty-five percent of the samples, including juices from such brands as Gerber, Trader Joe's and Minute Maid, had more than 5 parts per billion of lead, according to Consumer Reports.  Five parts per billion is the standard set for lead in bottled water by the Food and Drug Administration. 

"We're not telling parents to freak out or throw out all their juices, but we are concerned about the public health consequences," said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumer Reports, who added that children are particularly vulnerable because of their smaller body size and because juice is often a staple of their diet.

Long-term exposure to arsenic, which is odorless and tasteless, has been linked to cancer of the bladder, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver and prostate, and high levels of lead in drinking water can result in delays in physical and mental development, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Juice Products Association said in a written response to the report that “juice is safe for consumers of all ages.”

The group added that the levels of arsenic and lead in the products tested by Consumer Reports were within the Food and Drug Administration’s “level of concern” set for juices, which is 23 parts per billion for arsenic and 50 parts per billion for lead. If a company’s product is above the “level of concern,” the FDA can, but doesn’t have to, take action against the company.

Consumer Reports recommends that babies under six months of age not drink any type of juice, and that children six months to six years should have no more than four to six ounces a day, and that older children have no more than eight to 12 ounces a day.


soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. ALL FDA NEED REPLACED THIS IS UNJUST TO SAY THE LEAST

    DIDNT USE THEIR BRAINS BEEN DRINKING TOO MUCH TAINTED JUICE

    November 30, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shakemeup

      Performing the duties of the FDA with the current and most likely future budget is like trying to tow a car with a shoestring.
      The plan of the GOP is to limit regulation and constraints on industry by underfunding. Then when they can't perform their job they are considered a worthless government employee not doing their job.

      December 1, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • Bob Dole

      A reported symptom of excessive aresenic exposure is posting comments in all caps!

      December 1, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      THE FDA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OBESITY AND DIABETES CRISIS NOT MCDONALD'S
      The FDA allows Dangerous Food chemicals that cause ineffective insulin. This is the true cause of why people cannot lose weight NOT McDonald's A filmmaker proved this and showed people how to reverse the weight gain with a Specialized diet. The FDA is responsible for the crisis

      just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

      December 4, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Eat well, stay fit, die anyway

      December 4, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • sarah

      I personally think it's better to drink fresh juice, like the ones you make from a juicer or a blender, because most of bottle juices lose the nutrients after the package. And you dont know what unneeded ingredients might be added for them to last long

      January 26, 2012 at 05:10 | Report abuse |
  2. Sailingwindward

    All juices come from CHINA concentrated in barrels, they are then mixed and packaged in the US to avoid labeling them Made in China. Martinelli's brand is the ONLY juice grown and made 100% in the USA.

    November 30, 2011 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Poodles

      I pooped my pants.

      November 30, 2011 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Eat well, stay fit – die anyway

      December 1, 2011 at 07:37 | Report abuse |
    • smartass

      whoever believes you is an idiot!

      December 2, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      It's not the only brand, but maybe among national brands. We do get things from China that are stored in barrels made of any metal, such as honey. The best juice is from local sources.

      December 2, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • neepsandtats

      Source?

      December 3, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • YMCMB!1

      YMCMB LOL OMG QTP IMBD UPS PC DPRK

      December 5, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
  3. Ken

    Why is Dr. Oz not mentioned in this report. . .?? sad. .

    November 30, 2011 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Otto

      Maybe because they wanted to maintain some credibity in this fear mongering story. Besides, Dr Oz has moved on to more important issues, like why Paula Dean is fat.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  4. Dizzyd

    That's it! I'm switching to soda!

    November 30, 2011 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Galina L

      You will be right! I keep telling my son there is no health benefits from drinking juice. If you want to drink – drink water, for health eat real fruits (in moderation) and veggies. Sometimes drink juice or soft drinks with realisation it is not good for you.

      November 30, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Galina, you are absolutely right! Juice is mostly sugar, you are totally better off eating a whole piece of fruit–at least you get the dietary fiber. Water is the way to go.

      December 1, 2011 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
    • Otto

      Actually juice is mostly water. But let's not let facts cloud things.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • tabbi

      @ otto: in juice there is about 12 – 13 tbsp of sugar per serving .... that's a lot

      December 1, 2011 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
    • Truth

      It's pop, not soda. Soda sounds gay.

      December 1, 2011 at 22:10 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      It's soda in some places, pop in others. Years ago, we moved from a soda area to a pop area, and my daughter thought other kids were trying to give her pot. Either way, it's an unhealthy addiction.

      December 2, 2011 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • EKS

      When soda pops with phosphoric acid are consumed over time I read that the human body releases a hormone that causes calcium to be released from bones. You could buy the more expensive organic Martinelli apple juice brand or juice your own apples with the Jack LaLane power juicer which generally tastes better than store bought juices. When I have juiced carrots the left over carrot pulp can be used to make carrot cake. The carrot pulp should be frozen until you want to use it in my opinion.

      December 3, 2011 at 00:59 | Report abuse |
    • randomguysteve

      actually down here in the South its neither soda nor pop... Just Coke....

      December 3, 2011 at 09:41 | Report abuse |
  5. Fearmongering Fruit!

    Fruits of the rose family–including cherries, apples, plums, almonds, peaches, apricots, and crabapples–contain in their seeds substances known as cyanogenetic glycosides, which on ingestion release hydrogen cyanide gas through an enzymatic reaction. When you crush apples to make juice the seeds also get crushed, releasing the chemical into the juice. This isnt an OMG CHINA problem, and it has nothing to do with government conspiracies. This is a natural property of the apple and not something new. The level of fearmongering is disheartening as I have yet to hear one media outlet releasing the "cause" for this scare... Something by the way that was taught in school biology books 50 years ago. Next we'll be hearing about how we need to hide from the great nuclear fission capable threat that has a tendency to rise in the east over our planet and contaminate us with photons.

    November 30, 2011 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joemama

      THANK YOU! Finally...someone with a brain is commenting about this.

      November 30, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
    • cc

      BOGUS. It is not 'naturally' occurring at these levels or the historic data would be unchanged. So, which pesticide/herbicide chemical company do you work for.

      December 1, 2011 at 01:07 | Report abuse |
    • RevHellhorn

      You find it fun pretending that you are making a reasoned and relevant contribution, don't you?

      HCN As

      December 1, 2011 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      None of which has anything at all to do with lead.

      December 1, 2011 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
    • KJC

      Actually, to back this person up, I did learn in college level biology that apple seeds and some other pits of fruits (I think cherry, mango, peach) contain cyanide. Actually, there is a Wiki pedia article about cyanide, which points this out under the heading "occurrence." I know Wiki pedia isn't always 100% reliable, but it's one source to confirm, and I am sure you can find other sources.

      December 2, 2011 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
  6. sameoldsame7

    Why do people continue to give kids juice? It is some what abbusive to continue giving our kids juice they way parents do, it is like crake to them. Growing up in the 80's and 90's my mother only had water and milk available to us, no coolaide, no juice, no soda... never missed it. We had occasional orange juice on the weekends for breakfast. Now as an adult, I only drink water and coffee, occasional orange juice for breakfast and occasional soda when I eat popcorn.

    November 30, 2011 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ZombieHunter2012

      Drink a beer you fairy! lol

      December 1, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse |
    • LinSea

      You might want rethink the coffee if you're that concerned about health. I've seen coffee stains eat through paper, so imagine what it does to your digestive tract.

      December 1, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
  7. Emelia

    It's abusive to give kids juice? Really?
    ...P-Pffffft...
    Well, that's a new one, at least...

    December 1, 2011 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Natalie

      It is not abuse, it only teaches kids to eat and drink junk food so they can deal with their health problems when they grow up.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  8. larry5

    Don't forget other elements supplied in apple juice like cleaning agents, solvents, lubricants, poisons, insect body parts and just plain dirt. You can always buy apples and make your own apple juice. You can look on the Internet for the recipe.

    December 1, 2011 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      True. And if you crush it yourself, it will also have concentrations of all of those things, too.

      December 1, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse |
  9. kim

    I agree with CC, these levels are not happening "naturally", the FDA is simply not doing its job and that is, unfortunately, nothing new. They get paid off, like most government agencies, to look the other way when something is wrong. People need to reject ignorance and face the ugly reality about these things, and saying that is not "fear mongering", it's called: being an adult and looking at the cold facts.

    December 1, 2011 at 05:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • truesinger

      kim: look at the comment by shakemeup. you don't know anything about the FDA, but I worked there as a scientist and at a very low pay to protect the public health of ignorant critics like you. your assumptions are stupid and offensive, as well as ignorant: especially ignorant. why don't you learn something before presuming to comment on it?

      December 4, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
  10. bold type

    oh dang. im gonna stop chasing the daily of liter of whiskey with aj. gotta stay healthy.

    December 1, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Seriously

    ...not juice is no good...

    Go Go FDA...as long as we make a profit it's ok right...in this I like China to a certain degree...when they catch someone doing something wrong...they excute them. We could use a good CEO culling.

    December 1, 2011 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ZombieHunter2012

    ...I'll just stick with my Guinness!

    December 1, 2011 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. fred

    The question of what is natural vs un-natural is something that needed to be addressed in this article. I have known for years that the core / seeds of apples had chemicals that were unhealthy to eat. the fact that these seeds are included in the processing of juice is understandable, but the consumer should know what a normally occurring ppm count is for these juices so we can understand if one juice has much higher levels due to non-natural issues. The public should not be led to believe that our food products are all contaminated which this article does

    December 1, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      I felt the same, that the reporting here was slipshod in leaving out a definitive statement of safe levels, historic levels and other simple facts.

      December 1, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • P.J.

      Yes, Fred. This scary story is being recycled from the 1990s. This is nothing new.

      December 2, 2011 at 07:36 | Report abuse |
  14. toddflanders

    Wow...I feel so empowered now. What a brilliant article.

    December 1, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Carley

    How about buy a juicer? or naked juice from costco? Apparently my Mom never gave me apple juice.

    December 2, 2011 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sina

      Ok, I will give up 1 wins and still win2.December 29, Papa Johns BowlRUTGERSNC State3.December 30-Holiday BowlOregonOKLAHOMA ST4.December 31-Insight BowlKANSASMinnesota5.January 1-OutBack BowlIowaSOUTH CAROLINA6.January 1 Capital 1 BowlGEORGIAMichigan State7.January 1-Rose BowlUSCPenn State8.January 2-Sugar BowlAlabamaUTAH9.January 5-Tositos Fiesta BowlOhio StTEXAS10.BCS Championship BowlOklahomaFLORIDATie Breaker 1International Bowl Jan 3UCONNBuffaloTie Breaker 2How Many Yards will Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) throw for against Florida? 207Bond, I could not pick beetewn Ole Miss and TT, hence it is not in the contest

      November 16, 2012 at 01:29 | Report abuse |
  16. GRofPA

    It's a good thing republicans are getting rid of all those job-killing safety regulations.....

    December 2, 2011 at 07:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Sara

    Just another reason to not drink juice. Eat fruit and you get much more health for your money. Majority of fruit juice is sugar and even the natural stuff contains WAY too much sugar. Sugar feeds cancer cells, lowers the immune system, and causes the body to store fat.

    December 2, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. TJ

    Dr. Oz got lambasted for this fear mongering...guess it's your turn.

    December 2, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sara

      Dr. Oz gets lambasted because he speaks the dirty truth. He is not your typical MD that goes along with what they are brainwashed to do, say and hide. They don't like him for that. I respect Dr. Oz and appreciate him speaking the truth and not hiding the dirty secrets.

      December 2, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
    • consensus

      Dr. Oz is nothing more than Oprah in a white coat. Same sappy crap.

      December 2, 2011 at 23:50 | Report abuse |
  19. chieatfetus

    eugenics.

    December 2, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. wave

    Dr. Oz is a media doctor. How can a physician stay skilled and true to his or her craft when they are a celebrity? He has said some outright outlandish things in his time in the public eye. Same with Dr. Drew, Sanjay Gupta, etc. These people should be in the thick of it in their respective professions and not as Oprah or CNNs' little puppets.

    December 2, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. ma & pa

    Yes, it's pop, not soda.

    December 4, 2011 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. ma & pa

    Sometimes we have used other words for pop to not confuse otherspeeks. Some otherspeeks say that if we say we want a pop, where they come from, they will hit us...pop meaning to hit. They enforce soda, they say, by assault. Unbelievable. That's how wars start.

    December 4, 2011 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. shadowboxme

    Why does FOX NEWS properly credit Dr. Oz for being the first to identify this issue for us...and yet CNN doesn't? Give credit where credit is due.

    December 4, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. healthnut

    ???

    December 4, 2011 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. healthnut

    I guess, those higher readings have some numbers associated with them. What are they? This is science writing alas CNN: under-informed, inaccurate.

    December 4, 2011 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. bublz

    I could have sworn that Dr. Oz was just on TV , like 2 months ago, taking a bunch of crap for telling the world about this...

    December 6, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Lliam

    Oh no! I have been drinking these types of juice for 56 years, smoke a pack of cigarettes a week, drink red wine with tequila shots and run 6 miles every day at lunch time. I'm doomed...

    December 6, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. mike

    Have people been dying in the streets from apple juice? The FDA has given a reason to radically cut their budget.

    December 6, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. sushil

    Ever since I was a kid, I was not very fond of Litchi juices. I always think that they are a bit sour to taste and is not very good to drink. I am more inclined to getting myself loaded with watermelon, melon, or mango juice than a Litchi juice. But from when I Drank Gold Win “Litchi Juice” I just started drinking like all others juice I used to.. And Gold win “Litchi Juice” is really very tasty and healthy too…

    January 16, 2012 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. arvind

    I loved to eat fruits most especially those rich in fiber, but sometimes I don't have time to buy some fresh fruits most especially Litchi because this is one of my favorite fruit. I like this fruit because it is rich in fiber that helps me easily eliminates in the morning. Litchi is one of the best fruit that is rich in fiber and vitamins, that’s why I prefer to take this fruit other than any fruit. But due to busy at work I prefer Litchi juice By Gold Win Agro Foods.

    January 16, 2012 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.