I’ve long known that there was cyanide in apple seeds, however, when I was a small child I avoided the accidental consumption of apple seeds not because I thought they were poisonous but because I thought that an apple tree would grow in my stomach. When you think about it, the apple has always gotten a bum rap. From Adam tempting Eve to the evil queen offering up a poisoned fruit to Snow White. Now, Dr. Oz is doing very little to add street cred to the apple’s resume.
Last week, The Dr. Oz Show went and dissed not apple seeds, but rather alarmed parents that they should stay away — far, far away — from apple juice. If one is to believe the wise prophecy of Dr. Oz, apple juice is poisonous, saying tests showed levels of arsenic, not cyanide, in some products. Even U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer heeded the call of Dr. Oz and demanded the FDA implement higher standards for apple juice imported from China.
Dr. Oz claimed that people, especially children were at risk of arsenic poisoning which could make children very sick and possibly lead to death. But is this true or is Dr. Oz being a bad seed?
According to the FDA, Dr. Oz’s report was sensationalistic reporting used to gain viewers by rocking the apple cart. In fact, the FDA came out with a formal response to the show, saying that the reports Dr. Oz used to “warn” the public of potentially lethal apple juice made no distinction between the dangerous man-made arsenic and the organic form which is naturally occurring in many foods, water and soil.
The FDA further put their boxing gloves on and offered this smack-down to the Oz-man:
“It is inappropriate to draw conclusions about the safety of a food based on the total arsenic level since in most instances organic arsenic, which again is essentially harmless and not absorbed by the body, makes up the bulk of the total arsenic in foods like juice.”
The FDA also said they did their own testing on Dr. Oz’s lot and think he’s a big, fat liar and jerk-face. Okay, they didn’t say that, but they might as well have:
“On September 10-11, 2011, the FDA completed laboratory analysis of the same lot of Gerber apple juice that was tested by the Dr. Oz. Show, as well as several other lots produced in the same facility. The FDA’s testing detected very low levels of total arsenic in all samples tested. These new results were consistent with the FDA’s results obtained in the FDA’s routine monitoring program and are well below the results reported by the Dr. Oz Show. The FDA has concluded that the very low levels detected during our analysis are not a public health risk and the juice products are safe for consumption.”
Apparently Dr. Oz isn’t taking this sitting down and definitely not sitting down while downing a nice, cold glass of delicious apple juice. He takes his bow and shoots it off the head of the FDA with his response:
“Organic arsenic CAN be harmful. There are toxic forms of organic arsenic. The FDA also knows that our understanding of organic arsenic is evolving. We are learning more about how organic arsenic is converted into the more toxic inorganic arsenic.
“The FDA announced this summer that a company that makes chicken feed with ORGANIC arsenic was suspending sales because INORGANIC arsenic was turning up in the chicken.”
Problem is — if an organic foodstuff is just as dangerous as processed and GMO foods, then you might as well go into your bathroom, stick your head in the toilet and continue to flush.
I mean, really.
Food contamination wasn’t invented recently. In the 1600s, people couldn’t figure out why so many would fall ill and croak after eating food. They thought that living matter could appear from meat and produce as if it was giving birth to life while wallowing in its own death. It wasn’t until hundreds of years later that a scientist had an aha moment and concluded that parasites and insects attached themselves to dead matter.
And it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century when micro-organisms were discovered and people began to understand that contamination came from water, soil, air, and animals. So, we were kinda wingin’ it until the 1900s. We’re talking mass contamination of food was around when the average lifespan was around 45 and likely contributed to the young mortality rate of the time.
While I believe that mass production of food brings about its own set of problems and safety issues, I’m not swearing off apple juice just yet. If you swore off all organic matter, you might as well give up on life altogether. One of the reasons people think there are far more fatalities from food contamination these days is because recording of this data has been rather recent.
I’m not suggesting anyone be reckless with their food safety, I’m only suggesting one use logic and not always follow the shiny and glittery charms of competitive ratings. Make up your own mind and don’t trust the television to do it for you. Even the purest of all water can be fatal if one consumes too much. If you go looking for trouble, you’re sure to find it, even in your own, homegrown garden. My advice — don’t eat where you poop and don’t poop where you eat and use common sense. Dr. Oz is only human and likely eating organic matter that someone finds harmful, even if his diet consists of nothing more than water and organic celery.