Explore Coverage

Living Maxwell


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink