Parkland Press

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Another View

Thursday, July 18, 2013 by SUSAN BRYANT sbryant@tnonline.com in Opinion

Be knowledgeable of what is in food, drink

An article I read recently concerning the Food and Drug Administration's new limits on arsenic in apple juice has only confirmed my belief we should pay closer attention to where our food and drinks originate.

According to the article published July 12 on Foxnews.com, the FDA is changing the amount of arsenic allowed after more than a year of public pressure from consumer groups worried about the contaminant's effect on children.

In an FDA news release published the same day, the agency stated it is allowing 10 parts per billion for inorganic arsenic in apple juice.

This is the same level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for arsenic in drinking water."

Arsenic is an odorless and tasteless semi-metalic element. It enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the ground or from agricultural and industrial practices.

The EPA says it sets the maximum contaminant level for drinking water at 0.010 mg/L or 10 parts per billion.

Whether its 10 parts per billion or lower, arsenic does not sound safe nor is it something I want in my apple juice or water.

"Overall the supply of apple juice is very safe and does not represent a threat to public health," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg is quoted as saying in the Fox News article.

However, according to the FDA news release, "Inorganic arsenic may be found in foods because it is present in the environment, both as a naturally occurring mineral and because of activity such as past use of arsenic-containing pesticides. A known carcinogen, inorganic arsenic also has been associated with skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes."

Americans have a right to know what other dangerous chemicals are in their juice or water.

A co-worker says she does not buy any food with more than two ingredients.

The only way to know if the juice you are drinking is safe is if you buy organic juice, which is pesticide free.

In the Lehigh Valley, there are a number of local farms and farmers markets where residents can purchase fresh organic apples and other fruit to make their own juice.

Last year, the FDA said "pink slime" in ground beef was safe to eat. Consumer groups disagreed.

This year, the agency says low levels of arsenic in apple juice is safe to drink.

In addition, the FDA allows an average of 60 or more insect pieces in six 100-gram samples of chocolate. What is the FDA going to allow in our food or beverages next year?

Be aware of what you and your family eat and drink.

Know where your food comes from.

According to LocalHarvest.org, most produce in the U.S. is picked 4 to 7 days before placed on supermarket shelves, and it is shipped for an average of 1,500 miles before being sold.

When buying locally, you know exactly where the food was grown and you can avoid unwanted contaminants.

Susan Bryant

editorial assistant

Parkland Press

Northwestern Press