Consumer Reports Vindicates Dr. Oz, Says Conventional Apple Juice Contains Very High Levels of Arsensic – Make Sure You Buy Organic

Written by Max Goldberg on December 1, 2011. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

A few months ago I reported on a study that Dr. Oz did where he found excessive levels of arsenic in non-organic apple juice.

Needless to say, it got a lot of national media attention, and much of it was not positive.

In fact, ABC News’ Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser, a former classmate of Dr. Oz, called his report “fearmongering”.

This is nothing but standard operating procedure for organizations that make money from Big Ag and major consumer packaged goods companies (ABC sells A LOT of advertising to them).

Well, Consumer Reports just came out with their own report about arsenic in apple juice (PDF) and what did they find?

Not surprisingly, Consumer Reports found very high levels of arsenic in non-organic apple juice, thereby confirming what Dr. Oz had reported earlier.

In Dr. Oz’s study, there was some controversy around the exact amounts of organic arsenic (naturally occurring) and non-organic arsenic. There won’t be any such controversy with the Consumer Reports one because they break it down by organic arsenic and non-organic arsenic, so there is absolutely no confusion whatsoever.

THE RESULTS

88 samples were tested from 28 apple juice brands and three grape juice brands in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York in August and September of 2011.

What Consumer Reports found was the following.

* Five samples of apple juice and four of grape juice had total arsenic levels exceeding the 10 parts per billion (ppb) federal limit for bottled and drinking water.

* Levels in the apple juices ranged from 1.1 to 13.9 ppb, and grape-juice levels were even higher, 5.9 to 24.7 ppb. Most of the total arsenic in our samples was inorganic, the Consumer Reports’ tests showed.

* As for lead, about one fourth of all juice samples had levels at or above the 5 ppb limit for bottled water. The top lead level for apple juice was 13.6 ppb; for grape juice, 15.9 ppb.

All of the juices that failed the arsenic and lead tests were conventional, non-organic juices. What brands exactly?

At least one sample of apple juice exceeded 10 ppb for arsenic: Apple & Eve, Great Value (Walmart), and Mott’s

At least one sample of grape juice exceeded 10 ppb for arsenic: Walgreens and Welch’s

At least one sample of apple juice exceeded 5 ppb for lead: America’s Choice (A&P), Gerber, Gold Emblem (CVS), Great Value, Joe’s Kids (Trader Joe’s), Minute Maid, Seneca, and Walgreens

At least one sample of grape juice exceeded 5 ppb for lead: Gold Emblem, Walgreens, and Welch’s

How did the organic juice brands do?

Only two organic juices were tested, 365 Everyday Value Organic 100% Apple Juice (Whole Foods) and Gerber Organic 100% Apple Juice, and both easily passed the tests.

WHERE DOES THE ARSENIC AND LEAD COME FROM?

As I say all of the time, “it’s all about the soil quality.”

It is not a coincidence that the organic products I review from Italy, such as Italian Volcano Organic Orange Juice or Middle Earth Organic Pasta Sauce, taste so good. Why is this?

Because their soil is so rich, pure, and full of nutrients.

It hasn’t been destroyed by decades of toxic pesticide and insecticide use, like ours has.  As such, it is widely believed that the arsenic problem is a soil problem.

Additionally, a lot of the apple juice concentrate that conventional food companies use comes from China. We all know the food safety issues that China has, and many people suspect the Chinese of continuing to use arsenical pesticides.

The other thing we cannot forget about is that water quality plays a role in all of this. Water gets sprayed on the apple trees and impacts the soil as well.

Water is something that I have written about a lot here, and the water quality standards in the U.S. are an absolute joke.

If you don’t know what Atrazine is, please learn how this toxic chemical, which is banned in Europe but fully approved in the U.S., has shown up in 95% of the water tests conducted here and turns frogs into hermaphrodites.

EXPOSURE TO ARSENIC IS A REAL PROBLEM

The data that I have been reading about long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic is very, very worrisome, especially for kids.

The bodies and internal organs of kids are still being developed and the impact of a box of apple juice on a 50-pound child is much, much greater than on a fully-developed 200-pound adult.

Below are some studies that should make us all concerned.

* A 2004 study of children in Bangladesh (PDF) suggested diminished intelligence based on test scores in children exposed to arsenic in drinking water at levels above 5 ppb.

* A 2011 study (PDF) published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that low-level exposure in the drinking water of more than 300 rural Texans was related to poor scores in language, memory, and other brain functions.

Furthermore, arsenic is not just limited to apple juice.

Earlier this year, I wrote about arsenic being fed to chicken, and Brian Jackson, Ph.D., an analytical chemist and research associate professor at Dartmouth College, reported finding up to 23 ppb of arsenic in lab tests of name-brand jars of baby food, with inorganic arsenic representing 70 to 90 percent of those total amounts.

If that doesn’t make any parent switch to organic baby food, I don’t know what will.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

The best thing that we can do to protect ourselves and our families is to buy organic food and drink ultra-filtered tap water.

Conventional food, with the apple juice example here and the conventional honey example that I wrote about the other day, is proving time and time again to be a much more risky option.

Am I surprised by all of this?

Not in the least, but the general public is still not getting the message and our government is in no rush to crack down on conventionally-grown, pesticide-laden and genetically-modified food companies.

Thus, it is up to each person to take responsibility for the health of their families. Organic food is by far the superior, most nutritious and safest alternative that we have.

Please forward this article to your friends, colleagues and parents of young children, so they can be adequately informed about the health risks that reside in our food supply.

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10 Comments

  1. This is a very upsetting post for me, but I’m glad you took time to write it. I have been searching the web today for solid information on Apple juice, and specifically Walmart brand Apple juice.

    I have recently begun to substitute soda with Apple juice in my diet, and I drink a full 64 FL OZ a day of the Walmart brand. I choose it because it’s obvious cost, and now, I have to change again.

    Personally, I haven’t noticed any serious health issues, but as of about the past two days I haven’t felt myself.

    Written by Doug Montgomery on December 1, 2011 @ 5:59 pm
  2. Hi Doug,

    Glad it was helpful and I am sorry to spread the bad news but letting people know the truth is very important to me.

    Very interesting how you haven’t felt yourself over the past few days. Just shows you the impact that high quality, or low quality, food can have on a body.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 1, 2011 @ 6:03 pm
  3. This does not surprise me I cant believe all the stuff that’s going into are food and
    drinks. I drink welch’s grape juice every day instead of pop. I drink 2 to 3 glasses every day I am mad about this. I think that’s why we have so much sickness, we
    never had all this different kind of sickness when people grew there own food.

    Kim

    Written by Hi Kimberley, on December 1, 2011 @ 6:27 pm
  4. What do you recommend for water filtration if we are mobile (i.e., we can’t install anything permanent) and don’t have a huge budget?

    Thanks in advance!

    Written by Charlotte on December 1, 2011 @ 7:38 pm
  5. Hi Kim,

    You are right. People need to get mad. We need to get furious and demand change from the government. Until then, it will be status quo and a food supply that is not safe and healthy.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 1, 2011 @ 10:40 pm
  6. Hi Charlotte,

    When I am traveling, I buy Mountain Valley glass bottled water. It is amazing stuff and is not in plastic. http://www.mountainvalleyspring.com/

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 1, 2011 @ 10:42 pm
  7. As long as we import fruit,vegetables, and juices from South America and China we will continue to have problems with high levels of arsenic or other chemical or biological contamination.They are out of our control.
    As for the Texas study- where I lived in Texas the town water supply tasted so bad it was undrinkable. I think there are many places in the USA with high levels of minerals(arsenic-lead) in the water that may be unsafe. And most municipal water plants cannot remove most chemicals. Just look at pharmaceutical residues in water!
    And last but not least, your fear mongering about Pesticides- especially recent organic types are not a problem. Even DDT has never caused cancer and has saved millions of lives from Malaria – without DDT millions die! A statistical fact! So you need to reassess your pesticide statements and attitude!

    Written by Bane Tyler on December 2, 2011 @ 9:31 am
  8. Hi Bane,

    It is nice to know that apologists for the chemical industry, such as yourself, are reading my blog.

    Your statement about DDT not causing cancer is just plain wrong, and it would serve you well to do your homework before making such outlandish statements.

    Girls exposed to DDT before 14 years old are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer in middle age.

    Read here: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.10260

    DDT is also linked to liver cancer

    Read here: http://news.cancerconnect.com/ddt-exposure-linked-to-increased-rates-of-liver-cancer/

    Furthermore, The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies DDT as “possible carcinogenic to humans.”

    In regards to malaria, you are wrong there as well.

    Malaria started to decrease rapidly in the first half of the 20th century, without the use of DDT. According to the Center for Disease Control, from 1920 to 1946, malaria cases decreased from 400 out of 100,000 inhabitants to only 30 cases per 100,000.

    I think you are the one who needs to get your facts correct before you start telling me to change my attitude.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on December 2, 2011 @ 2:05 pm
  9. Thanks for this article. However, I need to challenge your reporting. I buy organic whenever I have an option. However, I went back to review the Consumer Reports article you cited. You seemed to have missed the glaring example in the test findings on page 25 of that CR issue that refutes your headline. The 365 Brand of Organic 100% Apple Juice from Whole Foods (which I occasionally buy) is rated in the top half of the Arsenic (7.0 to 7.1ppb) and Lead (3.5 to 3.8ppb). These levels are very much higher than many others tested by CR. Brands I never consider buying in lieu of Organic are much lower: for example: Juicy Juice 100% Apple Juice has 1.7 to 3.0 ppb Arsenic and 0.8 to 2.3ppb Lead, Minute Maid 100% Apple juice box (packaged for McDonald’s – horror of horrors) has lower levels at: 2.0 to 5.6ppb Arsenic and 0.8 to 5.3ppb Lead.

    The 365 brand may be non-GMO, and taste better, and be more nutritious than the others on the market, but that does not follow they have better Arsenic and Lead levels.

    I agree with your final statement: “it is up to each person to take responsibility for the health of their families.” And while the majority of “Organic food is by far the superior, most nutritious and safest alternative that we have,” I would also add: Let the research from unbiased studies be understood and realized not all Organics are universally pure. I found your article misleading and guilty of bending the facts regarding Arsenic and Lead to satisfy an editorial position.

    Written by Paul on April 18, 2012 @ 4:36 pm
  10. Hi Paul,

    You are correct that some conventional juices were below the levels of the 365 Brand of organic juice, in terms of arsenic and lead.

    Yet, neither of the organic juices exceeded the allowable limits for arsenic and lead. Several of the other conventional juices were above the allowable limits for arsenic and lead, two by a heavy percentage.

    The bottom line is that several conventional juices failed the test while none of the organic juices failed the test.

    Similarly, when you go buy conventional milk in a supermarket, some of it is going to be produced from animals who were administered synthetic growth hormones. Will all of it be produced using synthetic hormones? Probably not.

    Nevertheless, I know that by purchasing organic, I will avoid this risk altogether. I believe a similar analogy holds true for the juice example.

    While organic is by no means fool-proof, I believe that from an overall perspective it is a safer option than conventional. And CR test results proved that.

    Organic didn’t exceed the regulations while some of the conventional did. I stand by my post.

    Thanks for your comment and interest.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on April 19, 2012 @ 11:57 pm

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