Sep 192011
 September 19, 2011  Posted by  Tagged with: , ,

TV host, Dr. Oz, and the FDA have gone to war over apple juice after he claimed on his show that the arsenic levels in many brands are poisoning consumers.  According to a recent Atlantic Wire article, the FDA is failing miserably to debunk this latest health hysteria despite its best attempt.  It looks like in this battle royale between a bureaucratic governmental agency and a charming TV personality, the TV personality is winning.  The FDA just doesn’t have the same adoring legion of (mostly) female fans.

The deeper issue (believe it or not) lies beyond whether your apple juice is killing you.  Rather, I think this latest incident calls to question the intentionality and the repercussions of Dr. Oz’s proclamation.  Is it morally reprehensible that Dr. Oz is fanning the health hysteria if he truly believes it?  Debatable. Is it sad that so many Americans are brain-washed by what they see on TV? Definitely.

There are two interpretations of Dr. Oz’s intentionality.  Cynically speaking, he may know that arsenic levels in apple juice are safe and is inciting fear for the sake of yellow “televisionalism.”  In this case, I would argue that he deserves to be reprimanded for his publicity stunt.  More leniently (and more realistically) speaking, Dr. Oz may genuinely think that he is on to something.  After all, he is not a chemist and the FDA has been wrong before.  If this is the case, then his next steps are crucial to assessing his moral culpability.  For his credibility’s (and moral standing’s) sake he should retract his statement and call off his cult of fans who are attacking the FDA with a frenzy.

To see the news story and Dr. Oz’s response, click on the videos below:

Regardless of the intentionality, the repercussions of Dr. Oz’s warning distinguish it from analogous cases such as the Jenny McCarthy vaccination-autism scare.  Unlike the autism claim which scared many parents into refusing their children vaccinations, this recent is apple-juice hysteria is relatively innocuous.  Aside from apple-juice manufacturers, the general public will probably emerge unscathed.  So from a consequentialist viewpoint, perhaps Dr. Oz is off the hook after all.

The effects of the crusade against apple juice have yet to play out.  Maybe the same parents who refused to vaccinate their children because of autism will now boycott apple juice.  Maybe, the FDA will be forced to print “safe levels of arsenic” on all bottles of juice.  Maybe Dr. Oz will declare apple juice safe and apologize with his winning smile.  Or maybe, America will realize on its own that apple juice is not out to kill us…seriously.

  5 Responses to “Your Apple Juice May be Killing You…Seriously”

  1. What I worry about is that people will fall into a trap by which they begin to believe that everything the FDA says is faulty, eventually moving from arsenic in apple juice to something like HIV in donated blood. Even though the HIV and donated blood measure has been dealt with, if people don’t place some element of trust in the FDA, they can’t be sure any of the foods or drugs they take are safe. I am also a little bit more critical of Dr. Oz than you are. If he was trying to enact some kind of change and raise awareness of the issue, would it be better to perhaps invite a member of the FDA to his show, or write a letter to the FDA stating his concerns, as opposed to accusing the FDA and creating hysteria?

  2. There’s quite a difference between not feeding your child apple juice and not getting them vaccinated. Maybe it’s a good thing that some American children will be drinking less apple juice. It’s not actually the healthiest beverage.

  3. Maybe Dr. Oz has a secret agenda to improve health in children… What’s next? Lead in potatoes?

  4. Grace brings up a valid dilemma concerning the effects of the media and their precedence over legitimate organizations. Because of Dr. Oz’s role in the media and also in society, even if directed towards females, his credibility is never questioned. Thus, he could potentially say just about anything and his multitudes of fans would adhere and whole-heartedly believe in his message. This easy persuasion brings up the idea of naivety and lack of knowledge on society’s party. If Americans were more knowledgable on the food and drink that they choose to consume, as they most definitely should be, they might not be as susceptible to false claims by icons such as Dr. Oz. And even more important, if Americans were more pensive and contemplative when it came to food, we would work towards solving many concerning and lethal health issues pervading the country today.

  5. Apple juice probably won’t hurt adults, but children with autism often have higher levels of arsenic and other heavy metals than non-autistic children. It seems to me that there could be a connection, especially for children who drinks lots of apple juice daily. My grandson drinks several boxes a day and has speech delay. We are taking him off apple juice and blueberries, unless we can find organic ones.

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