Dr. Oz's Comments Linking Apple Juice and Arsenic Cause Controversy
It's TV doctor versus TV doctor as Dr. Mehmet Oz is put on the hot seat by ABC News medical editor Dr. Richard Besser for his claims about arsenic in apple juice.
On the episode of The Dr. Oz Show that aired on September 14th, Dr. Oz stated, "Some of the best known brands in America have arsenic in their apple juice."
The reaction to his allegations has been swift and furious.
"This fear mongering, it reminds me of yelling 'Fire!' in a movie theater. I'm very annoyed about this," Dr. Besser told Dr. Oz on Good Morning America.
Dr. Oz's claim that some popular apple juice brands contain arsenic sent parents into panic mode. Stores across America and the apple juice industry are now concerned people will toss out or stop buying apple juice because they don't want to poison their children, a fear the FDA says is completely unwarranted.
"We launched an extensive investigation testing dozens of samples from three different cities across America. We sent them to an independent lab for sophisticated, state-of-the-art testing," Dr. Oz said on his show.
A message posted on fda.gov reads: "There is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking these juices. And FDA has been testing them for years."
"Mehmet, I'm very upset about this," said Dr. Besser.
The drama led to the explosive exchange between Dr. Besser and Dr. Oz on GMA.
Dr. Besser said, "This was extremely irresponsible...putting out this kind of a health warning, manufacturing a health crisis based on faulty incomplete data."
"I'm not fear-mongering, we did our homework on this Rich, and you know we spent a lot of time making sure we got our numbers right," countered Dr. Oz.
INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney spoke with Dr. Besser today.
"Why do you believe the way the test was conducted is flawed? McInerney asked.
"The tests that were reported on The Dr. Oz Show just looked at total arsenic. You want to look at not just how much arsenic is there, but how much of the type that's harmful and how much of the type that's not harmful," he said.
It turns out the two top TV doctors go way back; they were classmates at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
"What was it like to denounce your own colleague and former classmate?" asked McInerney.
Dr. Besser said, "Mehmet and I are still friends. I haven't talked to him yet, but we were just having an honest, simple disagreement."
Even though Dr. Oz's warnings are in dispute, parents everywhere are wondering what to do.
"I'm a dad, I'm a pediatrician, parents come to me all the time and ask about foods and risk and I don't say that there's a risk from apple juice," Dr. Besser told INSIDE EDITION.
The FDA also says they tested the very same apple juice lots as Dr. Oz and found arsenic levels well within safe limits – almost zero.