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Arsenic-Laced Apple Juice Flowing From China?

To the long list of things that worry Food & Water Watch, add a river of apple juice coming from China and the high arsenic levels found in that flow.

That combo was enough to cause F&WW Thursday to call upon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg  to set a tolerance level for heavy metals like arsenic in apple products. The national environmental group also wants stepped up testing on imported foods.

The request for FDA action came after F&WW and its partner, the Empire State Consumer Project, announced the results of tests by Paradigm Environmental Services showing Mott’s Apple Juice with arsenic levels of 55 parts per billion.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits arsenic in public drinking water to 10 parts per billion, a level that has forced some communities to invest millions on treatment to cut existing levels.

According to F&WW, more than 70 percent of the apple juice consumed in the United States now comes from the People’s Republic of China, where the government has acknowledged a problem enforcing a new food safety law.  F&WW also reports that China makes wide use of arsenic-based pesticides in farming.

In a letter to Hamburg, F&WW’s Wenonah Hauter and Empire State’s Judy Braiman say apple juice should come in for special attention because it “is regularly consumed by children.”

“We find it unconscionable that FDA has not established tolerance levels for arsenic and other heavy metals in the foods we consume, especially for foods that are staples in children’s diets,” they wrote.

F&WW began drawing attention to potential dangers of food from China last month, especially juice, candy and canned fruit consumed by American children.  According to the group, China’s food exports to the U.S. have tripled over the past decade to nearly 4 billion pounds of food in 2010 with a value of $5 billion.

Less than 2 percent of imported food is inspected by FDA.

The arsenic levels produced by the F&WW-Empire State-Paradigm tests exceeded those found in apple juice by the St. Petersburg Times in March 2010.   The Florida newspaper reported levels of 35 parts per billion.

Mott’s, an American company with a history dating back to the 1840s, has not commented on the high arsenic levels found in its apple juice. FDA, which has previously expressed concerned about arsenic levels above 23 parts per billion, also has yet to comment on the uptick that may be occurring from Chinese apple juice.

© Food Safety News
  • Ann Quinn, consumer

    Does the American consumer need to make everything from
    scratch because you can no longer trust even the oldest
    and among the best corporate food producers/processors
    or the government food safety regulators?
    What’s the best brand of juicer for the kids?

  • BB

    Another reason to buy organics from the USA.

  • Jim Schmidt

    Well BB, Organic goods can have the same problems. The best consumer is an informed consumer and they do not make the assumption that something is safe based upon a word or location but looks at the entire “package” to make an informed decision.
    And here I thought China was doing so well with no food laws, but that didn’t work so they passed some, now they are just having trouble enforcing them. And what do some people want to do here? They want food as safe as it was in China 20 years ago.

  • http://www.circleoffood.com/blog Karyn Zoldan

    Does Mott’s apple juice and other foods made in China say so on the label?
    I don’t buy apple juice but the only food I regularly check for where it’s made is dog food & dog treats.
    What is the FDA waiting for?

  • Carlo Silvestri

    To Ann Quinn: Try Martinelli’s. They strictly and only use USA Apples. No imports whatsoever. That’s what I drink. I’ve never had a problem.

  • Mom in DC

    Juicy Juice (by Nestle) apple juice is at least partly from China. I thought it was from the US or Switzerland based on the distributor being in Glendale CA and their trademarks being from Switzerland. Also, they participate in Box Tops for Education. One day recently, I noticed that “China” was stamped on the plastic bottles, so I phoned them. Sure enough, they import the apples or the juice from China. They proudly say this on their phone recording, claiming high standards, but I still won’t buy or let my kids drink it after this if at all possible. We have plenty of apples here in the USA. UGH.

  • MCamp

    Why Can’t we find this on the FDA list of recalls or unsafe food?

  • http://aol MAESTRA

    Also check fish
    Alabama has banned fish imports from China- fish
    is contaminated most
    of the time.
    Meanwhile fishermen on East Coast still suffer from Bush laws that prohibit them from fishing in certain parts of the Atlantic
    because Bush allowed a treaty that lets Russians fish there.
    Here
    in RI many fishing companies have had to shut down because the quotas allowed for Americans are so low.
    Common sense is not so common

  • nonni

    I stopped buying(Organic) Hansens Apple juice when I read the contents stamped on the side of the bottle were a product of China> I even called the company and told them I would no longer buy any of their products. They did not seem to care. We must all be aware of where the products are made. O dpn’t buy Applejuice except Treetop. Apple and product ingretients all made in America.

  • Mary Cannon

    Doesn’t anyone besides myself believe that china has it in for us, from the toys with lead paint, the dry wall, and of course our food. I really try to buy everything that is American made because I am in fear of what is in the stuff thats not from America, and also because of our economy, but try to find a toy or a toothbrush for that matter that is made in America, very hard to do.

  • Janice

    What is so IRONIC is that Chinese people trust US products more than their own, especially for their babies, so we export our safe goods and import the cheaper, questionable goods, what’s wrong with this picture?
    Make sure the label is a trusted company that never use Geneticaly engineered products or meat and dairy products from factory farms that use Monsanto GE alfalfa-in other words- buy USDA CERTIFIED organic. (China peddles orrganic products too, but no one tests them-:-(

  • John Simms

    This stinks. I won’t buy anything from Mott’s ever again.

  • alison

    Consumers would be surprised what foods are made in China that we consume, rarely will manufacturers say on their labels where the food comes from. The only information you will find is the company name and their address, or you will see Product of USA. “Product of USA” does not mean it was made here, I came across a website that lists food makers who rely on China. Gerber Baby Food, Infamil Baby Formula, Campbell Soups, 50% of the apples sold in the US come from China but you won’t see that on a sticker. Here is the website to look at:
    http://www.jiesworld.com/international_corporations_in_china.htm
    I have no problem with China making certain goods for us but when it comes to food, that is where I draw the line. My husband and I have withdrawn buying foods from the listed manufacturers on Jie’s World, the scarey part is China makes some of our drugs, not to mention they want to start making our vaccines for us. As a consumer, I refuse to buy goods made in China. We as consumers have the right to know where our food comes from, next time you pick up that bag of frozen Talapia or Haddock…look at where it came from. Last bag of Talapia I bought said Farmed and Processed in China…NO THANKS!

  • Yea Right

    Cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, antimony, chromium….enough said!! This is just some on the stuff found on products coming from you’re beloved country!