With orange juice and its arsenic content back in the news, most print and broadcast media yesterday missed an important element that was spotlighted by Dr. Mehmet Oz 11 weeks ago on “The Dr. Oz Show” on television --- most apple juice distributed in the U.S. is imported, observes Grumpy Editor.
In his September TV show, Dr. Oz revealed 60 percent of the juice concentrate comes from China. He commented on arsenic content in apple juice after testing samples from some of the nation’s best-known brands.
The Food and Drug Administration at that time immediately disputed the findings.
After Consumer Reports this week announced its own tests on several apple juice brands and called for stricter standards, the FDA said it will examine whether its restrictions on the amount of arsenic allowed in apple juice are stringent enough.
Arsenic, not always regulated in other countries, is a toxic heavy metal known to cause cancer if consumed at high levels or over a long period.
TV channels yesterday placed a variety of doctors, nutrition experts and medical/health correspondents before cameras. But their apple juice comments focused on such things as sugar content, high calories, danger to waistlines, lack of fiber vs. whole fruit and tooth decay in small children.
Deep in an Associated Press story in some newspapers today, Marilynn Marchione, AP’s chief medical writer, reported “only 17 percent of the apple juice sold in the U.S. is produced here” with the remainder coming from mostly China, Argentina, Chile and Brazil, according to the Juice Products Association.
Indeed, a close look at apple juice containers’ fine print on labels will most likely indicate a foreign source.
Sadly, the number of U.S. farms producing apples --- mainly in Washington State, New York and Michigan --- has continued to slide, tumbling from nearly 34,000 in the late 1990s to 25,600 in 2007, the most recent year tallied.