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Juice vs. Dr. Oz

WASHINGTON — Shelf-stable juice is benefiting from fruit/vegetable blends, but it hasn't been all good news for the category.

An episode of the “Dr. Oz Show” last month investigated the safety of apple juice, reporting that 10 of three dozen juice samples from five different brands came back with higher than the arsenic limit allowed in drinking water.

Although arsenic has been banned in the U.S., it's not regulated in some other countries from which the U.S. imports apple concentrate.

In response, the Food and Drug Administration said it has monitored fruit juices for elevated levels of arsenic for several years, and test results do not support the findings of the “Dr. Oz Show.”

Juice marketers also disputed the report. Nestlé's Juicy Juice, one of the brands cited in the show, said the Dr. Oz segment was misleading because it used a testing method intended for testing water and waste water, and not the method specified by the FDA for testing fruit juices.

“We tested Nestlé Juicy Juice products from the same batch as the show using an appropriate method for testing arsenic levels in juice, received significantly lower levels, and shared our findings with the show's producer before the segment aired,” Nestlé said in a statement.

To compare the trace levels of arsenic in apple juice to the regulatory guidelines for drinking water is not appropriate because regulatory agencies have set lower thresholds for drinking water than for food and other beverages because people consume larger amounts of water, according to Nestlé.

“We are shocked that the ‘Dr. Oz Show’ would report results that are neither reliable nor representative of the levels in our products, thus causing unnecessary alarm,” according to Nestlé.