Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), authors of the Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in Juice Act of 2012 or APPLE Juice Act, praised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) draft proposal for a new standard for acceptable levels of arsenic in apple juice. The FDA is establishing this threshold to provide guidance to industry and will use the level when considering enforcement action if it finds a food product exceeds the threshold.
"The FDA's move to implement enforceable standards for levels of arsenic in apple juice is a victory for children, parents, and all consumers. With these new protections and FDA's announcement, parents can now have peace of mind that the products they are buying are safe for their children to drink. Congresswoman DeLauro and I have worked very hard on this issue, and I'm happy to see the FDA adopt our proposal," said Congressman Pallone.
"I am encouraged the FDA has moved to protect American consumers. Evidence clearly shows that high levels of arsenic in our food supply pose a significant public health threat, especially to children. I urge the Administration to ensure that the final rule is as strong as possible and addresses this serious issue," said Congresswoman DeLauro.
Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education, introduced their legislation, the APPLE Juice Act, on the heels of a January 2012 Consumer Reports revelation that alarmingly high levels of inorganic arsenic exist in apple and grape juice in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
The disturbing report found ten percent of the sampled juices from five brands contained arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards, and 25 percent contained lead levels higher than the federal standards for bottled water. Both lead and inorganic arsenic are carcinogens and can cause serious health problems. Arsenic and lead are known to affect brain development in children, and inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen that can increase the risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancers.
FDA's draft proposal will be finalized after the current 60 day period, where interested parties from industry and the public may submit comments.
In May of this year, Pallone and DeLauro sent a letter calling for the release of FDA's voluntary guidelines for levels of arsenic in fruit juices that were stalled under review in the Office of Management and Budget.