Senator Schumer Calls on the FDA to Put Standards in Place for Juice Companies

The Dr. Oz Show has called on the FDA to set a standard for total arsenic in apple juice to 10 parts per billion – the same as what the EPA has set for arsenic in drinking water. Today, Sen. Charles Schumer, (D) New York, issued a statement and letter he wrote to the FDA, calling on the FDA to place standards on arsenic in juice concentrate.

Posted on

September 18, 2011

The Honorable Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.                        


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, Maryland 20857

Dear Commissioner Hamburg,

I write to express my concern about the quality and safety of imported Chinese-produced foodstuffs, including fruit and vegetable juices and juice concentrates that may contain high levels of inorganic arsenic.  I respectfully request that the FDA increase inspections, testing and analysis of imported juices and juice concentrates.

As you know, apple juice is a beverage regularly consumed by children. Over 70 percent of the apple juice concentrate used in processing and consumed in the United States is imported from China.  Pear juice – the majority of which also is imported from China – is another popular children’s beverage.  Given continuing horror stories of toxic food additives and chemicals in the Chinese food supply, I am concerned that the juice and juice concentrate China exports to the United States may put children at risk of exposure to cancer-causing contaminants such as arsenic.

I understand there is no present limit for the total permissible concentration of arsenic or inorganic arsenic in food or beverages.  This gap in safe food guidance is disturbing, and I urge the FDA to establish a federal standard for arsenic in food and beverages.

The possibility that arsenic contamination is endangering the health of our children cannot and should not be ignored.  As such, I urge the FDA to act expeditiously with respect to testing of juice imports and setting a federal standard for arsenic.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.  I also ask that you please keep me apprised of developments on this issue.


U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer