U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), have written a letter to the Office of Management and Budget asking for the release of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) voluntary industry guidelines for levels of arsenic in fruit juices currently under review by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
Citing studies that have found “concerning” levels of arsenic in food and beverages, DeLauro and Pallone assert that FDA’s guidance document will be “instrumental” to industry members and consumers in their efforts to address “this public health issue.”
It is “inexcusable that the guidelines are stalled while consumers continue to be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of arsenic,” the letter states. “Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen that can increase the risk of bladder, lung and skin cancers, [which is] particularly concerning because children consume large quantities of juice and may be at risk for more harmful effects from inorganic arsenic exposure.”
During the last session of Congress, DeLauro and Pallone introduced the Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure in Juice Act of 2012, which would “require FDA to establish enforceable standards for arsenic and lead in fruit juices.” The legislation was introduced following a Consumer Reports study that alleged high levels of arsenic and lead in apple and grape juice in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. DeLauro and Pallone reportedly plan to introduce a similar bill in the coming months. See News Release of Rep. Rosa DeLauro, May 8, 2013.