Arsenic Above Safe limits Found in Juices in US

The debate over the safety of fruit juice consumed by Americans escalated Wednesday with the release of a Consumer Reports study that found many apple and grape juice samples tainted with arsenic.

The researchers detected the chemical element at levels exceeding federal drinking-water standards in 10 percent of 88 juice samples tested. The samples involved five brands of juice sold in bottles, boxes or cans of concentrate.

“This is very disconcerting on several levels. Parents should be worried,” said Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “Hearing this should make parents say no to juice.”

Most of the arsenic detected was inorganic, meaning it’s known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancer. It can also up the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and some reports have stated that arsenic exposure can affect brain development in children.

Concerns about apple juice safety arose in September when Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” said that about one-third of apple-juice samples he’d tested had arsenic levels exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is the limit for drinking water. There are no federal limits for arsenic in juice or foods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded with a statement that it “has every confidence in the safety of apple juice.”

But rather than quell the debate, the FDA’s response may have spurred Consumer Reports to do its own fruit-juice testing. The results are published in its January issue.

Arsenic levels in the grape juice samples were even higher than in the apple juice — with the highest nearly 25 ppb, more than twice the limit for drinking-water safety, the researchers found.

Arsenic is a natural element that can contaminate groundwater used for drinking and irrigation. But it’s also used for industrial and agricultural purposes, which increases individual exposure. Chicken, rice and even baby foods have been found to contain inorganic arsenic, the researchers said.

The Consumer Reports research also discovered that 25 percent of apple juice samples had lead levels higher than that recommended by the FDA for bottled water. No federal limits exist for lead in juice.

Responding to Wednesday’s report, the Juice Products Association issued a statement saying that juice is safe for all consumers, adding the industry “adheres to FDA guidelines and juice products sold in the U.S. meet and will continue to proactively meet or exceed the federal standards,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

In a related analysis using government data, Consumer Reports researchers found that people who reported recently drinking apple juice or grape juice had about 20 percent more arsenic in their urine than non-drinkers.

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, is urging the FDA to set arsenic and lead standards for both apple and grape juice, especially given that inorganic arsenic has been detected in other foods.

Lead in juice should be limited to 5 ppb as it is for bottled water, while arsenic in juice should not exceed 3 ppb, Consumers Union stated.

The group also encouraged parents to limit their children’s consumption of juice per guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics: no juice for children under 6 months of age, no more than 4 to 6 ounces daily for children under the age of 6 years, and no more than 8 to 12 ounces for older children. They also recommend diluting juice with water.

But the presence of a potentially fatal element is only one reason children should be drinking little or no juice, said Richel.

“Juices are empty calories,” he said. “They’re laden with sugar and [carbohydrates] that lead to childhood obesity, and if children are allowed to consume juice after juice after juice, that can replace the balanced consumption of dairy and solids.”

A poll conducted by Consumer Reports found that 35 percent of children age 5 years and younger drink more juice than recommended.


Lunch for Kid

Snoopy Charaben


  • Snoopy – rice and nori
  • Deep-fried chicken
  • Fried egg with green onion
  • Sausage
  • Stir-fried squid, carrot and cucumber
  • Simmered pinto beans
  • Boiled broccoli

The Dangers of Snow Shoveling

Urban legend warns shoveling snow causes heart attacks, and the legend seems all too accurate, especially for male wintery excavators with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease. However, until recently this warning was based on anecdotal reports.

Two of the most important cardiology associations in the US include snow -shoveling on their websites as a high risk physical activity, but all the citation references indicate that this warning was based one or two incidents.

“We thought that this evidence should not be enough to convince us that snow -shoveling is potentially dangerous, ” says Adrian Baranchuk, a professor in Queen’s School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Kingston General Hospital.

Dr. Baranchuk and his team retrospectively reviewed KGH patient records from the two previous winter seasons and discovered that of the 500 patients who came to the hospital with heart problems during this period, 7 per cent (35 patients) had started experiencing symptoms while shoveling snow.

“That is a huge number,” says Dr. Baranchuk. “7 per cent of anything in medicine is a significant proportion. Also, if we take into account that we may have missed some patients who did not mention that they were shoveling snow around the time that the episode occurred, that number could easily double.”

The team also identified three main factors that put individuals at a high risk when shoveling snow. The number one factor was gender (31 of the 35 patients were male), the second was a family history of premature coronary artery disease (20 of the 35 patients), and the third was smoking (16 out of 35 patients). The second two factors may carry much more weight than the first, however, since the team could not correct for high rate of snow shoveling among men in their sample.

A history of regularly taking four or more cardiac medications was found to be preventative.

These findings were recently published in Clinical Research in Cardiology.

Source: Queen’s University

A Seafood Gazpacho Recipe from My Clippings


7 large beefsteak tomatoes
10 sun-dried tomato halves, packed in oil
1 large English cucumber
2 jalapeño peppers
4 limes
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pint teardrop or small cherry tomatoes
1 sweet yellow pepper
1 small red onion
1/2 cup chopped coriander


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Score bottom end of beefsteak tomatoes with a small X. Drop in boiling water until skins start to crack, from 15 to 25 seconds. Remove to a bowl of cold water, then peel and halve. Drain oil from sun-dried tomatoes. Peel cucumber, then cut in half. Set aside half for garnish and coarsely chop remaining half. Slice jalapeños in half and remove seeds.
  2. Place beefsteak and sun-dried tomatoes, chopped cucumber and 2 jalapeño halves in a large bowl. Squeeze out juice from limes. It should measure about 1/2 cup (125 mL). Add to bowl along with garlic, salt and pepper. Pour half of mixture into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Purée, using a pulsing motion, until as chunky or as smooth as you like. Pour into a bowl. Repeat with remaining vegetable mixture. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, before serving. Soup will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 day. If preparing ahead, wrap and refrigerate remaining cucumber half and jalapeño halves.
  3. Before serving, prepare garnish. Seed, then chop reserved cucumber into 1/4-inch (0.5-cm) pieces. Finely mince jalapeño halves. If using frozen shrimp, run under cool water to remove any ice crystals. Chop about half of shrimp into small bite-size pieces. Slice teardrop or cherry tomatoes in half or quarter if large. Cut yellow pepper in half and remove seeds. Dice pepper and onion into 1/4-inch (0.5-cm) pieces. To serve, ladle soup into chilled bowls. Garnish with shrimp and vegetables, heaping in centre of soup. Top with coriander.


Turn this gazpacho into a substantial seafood meal with the addition of some hearty mussels. In a wide-bottomed saucepan, add 12 mussels to 2 inches (5 cm) boiling water. Cover and cook over medium heat until shells open, from 6 to 8 minutes. Discard any that don’t open. Drain off liquid. Cool mussels in shells; add to soup.

Source: Chatelaine

“Waiter! There’s a fly in my soup.”

“No sir, that’s the chef. The last customer was a witch doctor.”