DeLauro pleased FDA to set limit on arsenic levels in apple juice

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes a part of Shelton, is praising a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) draft proposal to establish a new standard for acceptable levels of arsenic in apple juice.

The FDA is setting a threshold to provide guidance to industry and will use the level when considering enforcement action if it finds a food product exceeds the threshold, according to a release from DeLauro’s office.

“I am encouraged the FDA has moved to protect American consumers,” said DeLauro, co-author of the Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in Juice Act of 2012 (or APPLE Juice Act).

‘A significant public health threat’

“Evidence clearly shows that high levels of arsenic in our food supply pose a significant public health threat, especially to children,” DeLauro said. “I urge the [Obama] administration to ensure that the final rule is as strong as possible and addresses this serious issue.”

In May, DeLauro and U.S. Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, had 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 federal Office of Management and Budget.

The FDA’s new draft proposal will be finalized after a 60-day period, during which interested parties from industry and the public may submit comments.

High arsenic levels in sampled juices

DeLauro, senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services and Education, introduced 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 Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

The report found 10% of the sampled juices from five brands contained arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards, and 25% contained lead levels higher than the federal standards for bottled water, according to DeLauro’s release. Both lead and inorganic arsenic are carcinogens and can cause serious health problems.

The release started that 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.

‘Peace of mind’ for parents

DeLauro co-authored the legislation with Pallone, who is the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

“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,” Pallone said.

Two congressional districts in Shelton

Shelton is divided between two congressional districts. DeLauro, a Democrat, is in her 12th term representing the Third District. She lives in New Haven.

Congressman Jim Himes, also a Democrat, represents the Fourth District that covers other parts of Shelton. Himes lives in Greenwich.