A school district in Liberty, Illinois took apple juice off its menu, amid concerns about the safety of the levels of arsenic in the juice.
The school made the move in response to an investigation which aired Monday on the popular Dr. Oz Show.
On the program, the Dr. Mehmet Oz alerted parents about the safety of arsenic levels in apple juice. He said that in one juice sample, arsenic surpassed the 'level of concern' for apple juice (23 parts per billion), that could increase risks of disease such as kidney failure.
"A lot of people asked this morning, because it is a favorite, and they were asking why there wasn't any apple juice," the school district’s Food Supervisor Chris Hogge told ABC's affilliate KHQA Wednesday.
"They found traces of arsenic in all apple juice concentrate, from China, Chile, Brazil and Argentina and a few other countries", Hogge explained. "I checked our labels and also found that these were made from Chile and China concentrate," he said according to KHQA.
The school pulled off the drink amid an ongoing debate between Oz, federal authorities and the juice industry. Generally speaking, scientists say that Dr. Oz measured the total amount of arsenic in apple juice from different brands but did not distinguish organic arsenic from the inorganic arsenic. The organic type is considered harmless while the inorganic type could be poisonous. Arsenic found on juices is mostly organic, according to U.S. authorities.
The Food and Drug Administration distinguishes organic from inorganic arsenic in its analysis of apple juice. It reported finding very low levels of inorganic arsenic -- 6 parts per billion at most in particular juice sample, according to ABC News
“There is currently no evidence to suggest a public health risk from fruit juices, including apple juice,” the FDA said.
In the same way, the juice industry criticized Dr. Oz and said his reports about arsenic in apple juice are misleading.
"Dr. Oz Show may needlessly cause concern among consumers because the program fails to explain that arsenic is in the soil, water and air and therefore it is found in very low, harmless levels in many naturally sourced foods and beverages", the Juice Products Association representing the industry, said in a press release.
The juice industry stated that the FDA measured arsenic of the same lots of juice from one of the named brands mentioned by Oz and found significantly lower levels of arsenic, all "well under any FDA level of concern."
Published by Medicaldaily.com