What You Need to Know About Juice and Arsenic

Purple Bug Juice

Recent news reports about the possible presence of arsenic in some wines and other foods have raised questions about juice. Here’s what you should know: arsenic is a naturally occurring element in our environment. It is present in low levels in the air we breathe and in the crops we grow. Therefore it may be found in trace, harmless amounts in many naturally sourced foods.

What exactly is arsenic?
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in our environment. It is widely distributed within the earth’s crust, in rocks and metals, and also occurs in combination with other elements such as oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. It enters the environment through both natural and manmade sources.

Is any amount of arsenic in food or drinks safe to consume?
Arsenic is not harmful in the trace amounts that it is found in naturally sourced foods and beverages. Federal regulatory agencies such as the FDA evaluate scientific data to determine levels that are safe in foods and beverages. The data collected by the FDA indicate there is no safety concern for apple juice.

Are organic juices arsenic-free?
No. Because arsenic is naturally occurring and can be found in the soil, water and air, it may be found in any naturally sourced foods, including those produced organically.

What action has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) taken regarding arsenic in apple juice?
The FDA has proposed an “action level” or limit, for the level of inorganic arsenic in apple juice of 10 ppb (parts per billion).

Is apple juice safe?
Absolutely. Safety is the top priority for juice processors and, as is the case for many foods, the trace levels of arsenic found in apple juice are harmless. In fact, data released by the FDA in conjunction with the proposed guidance reaffirms the safety of apple juice. According to the FDA, 100 percent of the apple juice samples it collected and tested had levels of inorganic arsenic below the proposed 10 ppb limit.

If 10 ppb is a new proposed limit for arsenic in apple juice, what is the current limit?
The current, enforceable FDA limit for inorganic arsenic in apple juice, known as a level of concern, is 23 parts per billion (ppb).

Shouldn’t juice producers have a responsibility to make their products as safe as possible?
Yes. The safety and quality of their products are the top priorities for juice processors. Individual juice processors and the FDA both conduct testing to ensure the apple juice products people enjoy are safe.

What are companies doing and what is the juice processing industry doing, to assure the safety of apple juice?
The safety and quality of the beverages produced by the members of the Juice Products Association are of utmost importance. All juice companies must comply with FDA regulations known as juice HACCP, meaning Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. The HACCP regulation requires juice companies to evaluate their processes, ingredients and packaging, and monitor for biological, physical and chemical risks that could possibly occur in food processing and take the necessary action to alleviate these risks. Juice processing facilities are inspected by federal and state agencies.

How much apple juice should I give my child?
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following guidance for daily consumption of 100 percent fruit juice:

Children ages 1 through 6 may consume 4 to 6 ounces of juice daily

Children ages 7 to 18 may consume 8 to 12 ounces of juice daily

For both children and adults, the USDA, in its Dietary Guidelines for Americans, states that one-half cup of 100 percent fruit juice, such as apple juice, is the equivalent of one serving of whole fruit, making 100 percent fruit juice a way that people can help meet the recommended daily servings of fruit in their healthy diet.