arsenic in juicesRecently, we addressed the recently surfaced issue of arsenic in apple juice by developing a highly sensitive method to separate organic and inorganic arsenic in apple juice. There has been some debate on this matter. For example, a Consumer Reports investigation recently revealed elevated levels of arsenic in juice samples. However, the FDA sent two letters to the Dr. Oz Show regarding apple juice and arsenic essentially disagreeing with the arsenic findings revealed by the testing done by Dr. Oz’s show.

But, as we have noticed in the past that when such a food contamination issue surfaces, the issue typically reflects the tip of the iceberg in terms of the depth and spread of the contamination. This was true of the melamine contamination in milk in China which then was detected in domestic and exported milk products (baby formula, candies, cakes, and biscuits) followed by pet food. Thousands of adults, children, and pets were sickened and some died from this contamination. And, the melamine story continues to resurface in media reports on a regular basis.

In the case of arsenic, it is important to distinguish between inorganic and organic types of arsenic because inorganic forms of arsenic are highly toxic whereas organic forms are not. As arsenic is a naturally occurring element, it can be sometimes found in drinking water and fruit juices. Because typical levels of total arsenic found in apple juice are lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water maximum contaminant level, apple juice is generally considered safe and is currently not regulated.

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In the method we developed, chromatographic separations were carried out using the Thermo Scientific Dionex ion chromatography (IC) system, the Thermo Scientific XSERIES 2 ICP-MS, andanion-exchange columns.

You can download a PDF copy of the method here: Ion Chromatography ICP-Q-MS for the Detection of Arsenic Species in Apple Juice

Are you testing for arsenic in juices? Or, do you consider this to be a onetime issue? Do comment below.