The Juice Products Association (JPA) is calling on consumer reports to stop raising unnecessary alarm about levels of heavy metals in fruit juices and other foods and to base its recommendations on transparent, substantiated science.
In response to the Consumer Reports article, “Arsenic and Lead are in Your Fruit Juice: What You Need to Know,” JPA stated, “The article needlessly and irresponsibly alarms consumers. There is no scientific evidence indicating that the presence of trace levels of heavy metals in juice has caused any negative health outcomes among individuals at any life stage.”
The article claims that juice “may contain potentially harmful” levels of heavy metals. “Without any scientific basis for that claim, one could remove the word “juice” and insert any one of hundreds or thousands of foods people eat regularly as evidenced in the data published in the Total Diet Study issued by the US Food and Drug Administration,” said Patricia Faison, technical director, Juice Products Association.
Consumer Reports’ analysis is not transparent. Its article advises consumers to limit juice consumption but does not disclose the actual levels of heavy metals found in the juices they tested. The Juice Products Association has requested the testing data from Consumer Reports for its own analysis and believes that consumers should also have access to the full testing data. Consumer Reports has declined to share this information.
This media outlet is not a regulatory or scientific body, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The “risk assessment” information from Consumer Reports does not present a scientific assessment of risk to public health and does not appear to have been peer-reviewed, as is customary with scientific research. An assessment of health risk must be based on sound science and according to data recently collected by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Total Diet Study, there is no health risk from heavy metals in juices.
“It is a fact that substances such as lead, arsenic and cadmium exist throughout the environment, and are absorbed by plants. Trace, harmless levels of these substances may exist in juice, and other foods,” said Ms. Faison. “Juice producers are very interested in reviewing sound science as a way to continuously improve our products and are committed to providing safe, high-quality, nutritious juice that meets or exceeds regulations established by the FDA for food safety. Companies conduct their own routine testing and are being innovative in their sourcing and production methods to further reduce levels. Consumers do not need to be concerned about the safety of juice.”
Juice producers make safety a priority 365-days-a-year, and believe the concerns cited by Consumer Reports’ intermittent testing of selected products are unfounded. Consumers can be assured that juice is safe. Regardless of where the ingredients are sourced or where the juice is processed, all juice producers are required to manufacture products that comply with FDA regulations.
The Juice Products Association is the trade association representing the fruit and juice products industry. www.sipsmarter.org.