The FDA has announced plans to place a new limit on the amount of arsenic allowed in apple juice.
As consumer concern grows over the levels of arsenic contained in apple juice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has re-evaluated its decision to limit levels of the substance in the drink. The proposed plan would limit the levels of arsenic in apple juice to match the same maximum level of arsenic allowed in water, as set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The new decision comes after two previous studies resulted in heightened consumer awareness. The first public alert came two years ago after an episode of "Dr. Oz" unveiled that certain apple juice products contained as much as 36 parts per billion. The new limit would set the level of acceptable arsenic to 10 part per billion. A second study, conducted by Consumer Reports, evaluated 88 different apple juice beverages and concluded that 10 percent of the samples had more than 10 parts per billion.
The FDA maintained its opinion that consumer's had little to worry about, but proposed the limit in an effort to stave off concern and promote a higher quality product.
"Overall the supply of apple juice is very safe and does not represent a threat to public health," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, in an interview with The Associated Press. "We decided to put forward this proposed action level to give guidance to industry and to assure ongoing safety and quality."
The limit will be the first ever proposed by the FDA on arsenic contained in food or beverages.
"While we had proposed a lower limit, we think this is a perfectly good first step to bring apple juice in line with the current drinking water limits," Urvashi Rangan, Consumer Report's director for consumer safety, told the AP. "We don't have standards like this in most foods, so it's an important precedent."