The Great Apple Juice Debate

Dr Oz really stepped in it this week with his analysis of apple juice.  His team sent major brands of apple juice to a reputable laboratory and the results came back showing elevated levels of arsenic in some brands of apple juice.  This finding caused uproar within the scientific community to the point of Dr Oz being accused of fear mongering on television. The media went wild and many parents were left to yet again watch a cat fight occur between experts touting nutrition knowledge.

Regardless of whether or not experts agree with the results from Dr Oz’s apple juice experiment, several other issues have been swept under the rug because they are overshadowed by the arsenic debate. Parents need to be aware of the fact that:

  • Conventional apples are #1 on the dirty dozen list. This is a list from the Environmental Working Group that calculates pesticide residue on produce and ranks the top 12 offenders. Apples topped the list. It’s not just apples from overseas that are the problem,
  • Juicing concentrates the amount of pesticides and sugar found in a single apple. Our kids are drinking too much juice and as such are ingesting a concentrated source of pesticides especially if they drink more than the ½ to 1 cup recommended daily.
  • We import 60% of our apples from China. Because of this we have no jurisdiction over what types of chemical pesticides China uses on their apples, including arsenic. We banned the use of arsenic years back and some still lingers in the soil.  Let’s support our own apple growers where we can be assured of what we are getting. Let’s not have a repeat of the tainted dog food and baby formula that China sent us.
  • The amount of arsenic allowed in juice is higher than that allowed for in water (23ppb versus 10 ppb). I know many children who drink more juice than water and as such the levels allowed in juice should be lowered to reflect this potential.
  • The safety of inorganic and organic arsenic is still being studied so it may not be totally accurate to say one is fine while the other is harmful.  Scientists are still looking into this.

So in conclusion, something needs to be done about our food system as a whole and what we allow in and on our children’s food. I congratulate Dr Oz for being brave enough to step out and say “let’s look at this”. It will take us as parents to echo these words in order to have a chance of changing our childrens’ food supply.  Together we can do it!


  1. dr. deb…many thanks for posting this. my daughter’s preschool gives them apple juice for snack and i’ve asked that they give my daughter water instead. now i can give them more information thanks to your post.

  2. I`m aware that many products imported from China do not meet our standards BUT I am astounded to find out that 60% of our apples come from there as well. Thanks to your post & Dr Oz, the info will be shared to enable parents & schools to make changes in the best interest of all childrens` health. Also , apples are so plentiful in North America ,why are we not supporting our own hard working farmers??

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