Arsenic in apple juice! Fed to babies! And it probably came from China!

Oprah’s favorite Television Doc, Dr. Oz is under fire from the FDA and moms everywhere for causing fear and dread in the hearts and minds of moms everywhere regarding the…wait for it…dangers of apple juice.

Well, my kids are goners!

Toxic?

Oz, the top TV doc, said on his Fox show last week, that testing by a New Jersey lab had found what he suggested were troubling levels of arsenic in many brands of juice.

Seriously, it's good for you!

New Jersey, BTW has the most toxic dumps in America, I’m sure there’s no correlation.  But, it does make one go “hmmmm.”

The FDA, which I’m sure we all trust implicitly, said its own tests show ‘no such thing’.  They even tested some of the same juice batches Oz’s study used.

One part of the FDA’s statement says, “There is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking these juices.”, with the stamp of a foot!

The shit hit the fan flap escalated Thursday, when Oz’s former medical school classmate and former BFF, Dr. Richard Besser poo-poohed him on ABC’s “Good Morning America”.

Besser said, Ozzie’s “extremely irresponsible” report was akin to “yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater.”

OK, that might be a bit harsh.

Besser was running the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before the lure of more cash dragged him away from the ATL to join ABC news.

As I’ve reported before, arsenic is naturally present in water, air, food and soil. 

According to the FDA, organic arsenic passes through the body quickly and is essentially harmless. Inorganic arsenic — the type found in pesticides — can be toxic and may pose a cancer risk if consumed at high levels or over a long period.

I, for one, would not run out and spend a lot of cash having my kids pet scanned, but if you’re a worry-wart, that’s an option.

The big beef:  “The Dr. Oz Show” did not break down the type when it tested several dozen juice samples for total arsenic. As a result, the FDA said the results are misleading.

Translation, they didn’t do it the government way, i.e. the right way.

Furthermore, the agency’s own tests found far lower total arsenic levels from one of the same juice batches the Oz show tested — 2 to 6 parts per billion of arsenic versus the 36 that Oz’s show had claimed.

OK, maybe Oz’s testers are newbies.  Or, maybe the FDA’s testers can’t count.  I for one, would think it hard to count all those parts, and it seems to me that counting to a billion would take a while.

In a letter published on the Oz show’s website, Nestle, who’s Gerber Juicy Juice was tested,  said it told the program’s producer in advance that the method the show’s lab used was intended for testing waste water, not fruit juice, and “therefore their results would be unreliable at best.”

The FDA, in a huff, sent a letter prior to the show being aired, and threatened to post its findings and the letters online if the program proceeded.

Oz, undaunted, went ahead.

The Oz website version says, “American apple juice is made from apple concentrate, 60 percent of which is imported from China.”

The show tested three dozen samples from five brands, and Oz claimed that 10 had more arsenic than the limit allowed in drinking water — 10 parts per billion.

The FDA claims that the arsenic in water tends to be inorganic, which justifies the strict regulations. 

Organic arsenic is what is usually found in food and juices. Tests by thousands of labs and researchers conducted over the last 20 years show apple juice typically has fewer than 10 parts per billion total arsenic.

Oprah’s moved on to other venues, and the TV hounds are all clawing the top spot on daytime TV left by her departure.

Sensationalism?

Probably.

Tim Sullivan, a spokesman for Oz’s show, said in an interview: “We don’t think the show is irresponsible. We think the public has a right to know what’s in their foods.”

I’ll have to agree that the public has a right to know what’s in their foods, and I’ll add that Dr. Oz needs to check his data before airing a show just for ratings.

Oz also said, “There’s no question in my mind folks can continue drinking apple juice. … There have been no cases at all of kids being harmed by elevated levels of arsenic, and the kinds of numbers we are talking about are not high enough to cause acute injury,” he said.

He said he was concerned instead about the possible ill effects from drinking apple juice for many years.

Ok, now I’m confused.

Is it good or bad?

Even Dr. Oz doesn’t know.  And we’re really not in Kansas anymore, Toto, are we?