The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented stricter guidelines regarding the presence of inorganic arsenic in apple juice. The objective is to reduce children's exposure to environmental contaminants through food, as stated by the agency.

The FDA's latest measure aligns with its decade-old advisory to enhance safety standards by proposing a maximum limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic levels in apple juice.

Although manufacturers are not required to follow the maximum limit, the FDA will keep testing samples to check for higher levels of arsenic. If samples consistently show higher levels, the FDA may take action against the company, considering the limit along with other factors, CNN reported.

What Is Arsenic and Why Is It Found In Apple Juices?

The heavy presence of arsenic and lead in fruit juices is sometimes beyond the control of the manufacturers, according to Consumer Reports. That's because they naturally occur in soil, water and air which can affect the fruits used in creating juices.

However, the presence of these chemicals in most staple food options has so far raised health concerns, particularly among children and pregnant women. It is for this reason that the FDA hopes to encourage more manufacturers to continue lowering arsenic levels in their products.

How Much Arsenic Do Apple Juices Usually Have?

Some apple juice samples have tested below 3 ppb and 5 ppb, indicating a decrease in arsenic levels. Unfortunately, others still exceed 10 ppb, which facilitates the possibility of higher contamination.

"Therefore, we are finalizing an action level of 10 ppb because we consider this level achievable with the use of good manufacturing practices," the FDA explained. "As lower arsenic levels are more protective of public health, we expect to revisit this action level as part of the FDA's Closer to Zero action plan."

What Other Chemicals Are In Juices?

As per a 2018 Consumer Reports test, nearly half of the tested fruit juices contained elevated levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and/or lead, suggesting potential health concerns.

Brian Ronholm, food policy director at Consumer Reports, is hopeful about the FDA's recent actions in addressing food chemicals and heavy metals.

"It is encouraging that the FDA has recently undertaken a renewed focus on addressing food chemicals and heavy metals," he said. "Hopefully, the FDA will continue to focus on these issues and monitor and take action if they find troubling levels of inorganic arsenic in apple juice."

Apple Juice.
Apple Juice. Jacob Rickard/Flickr