WASHINGTON — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed an action level of 10 parts per billion (p.p.b.) for inorganic arsenic in apple juice, a level testing has shown apple juice products are already meeting.
The standard of 10 p.p.b. for inorganic arsenic is the same level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set for drinking water.
“The F.D.A. is committed to ensuring the safety of the American food supply and to doing what is necessary to protect public health,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, F.D.A. commissioner. “We have been studying this issue comprehensively, and based on the agency’s data and analytical work, the F.D.A. is confident in the overall safety of apple juice for adults and children.”
The F.D.A. has been tracking arsenic levels in apple juice for two decades and has found very low levels with few exceptions. New technology has helped the agency better understand the breakdown between organic and inorganic levels. Last year, the F.D.A. released findings from its latest studies that found 95% of apple juice samples were below 10 p.p.b. total arsenic, and all samples were below 10 p.p.b. for inorganic arsenic.
Inorganic arsenic may be found in foods because it is present in the environment, and is a known carcinogen. It is used in some pesticides.
“While the levels of arsenic in apple juice are very low, the F.D.A. is proposing an action level to help prevent public exposure to the occasional lots of apple juice with arsenic levels above those permitted in drinking water,” said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.
The F.D.A. said it takes an action level into consideration when deciding if it should take action if it finds product exceeding the threshold.