Lower Lead Levels in Juice Recommended

Josh McGillFood Safety, Orange Juice

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended lower lead limits for juice. The recommended limit is currently 50 parts per billion (ppb). New draft action levels would be 10 ppb for lead in single-strength apple juice and 20 ppb for lead in all other single-strength juice types.


The FDA estimates that establishing a 10-ppb action level could result in as much as a 46% reduction in exposure to lead from apple juice in children. For all other fruit and vegetable juices, establishment of an action level of 20 ppb is estimated to result in a reduction of 19% in children’s exposure to lead. The FDA issued a lower draft action level for apple juice because it is the most commonly consumed juice that young children drink.

The FDA will work with manufacturers of these products to encourage the adoption of best practices to lower levels of lead in juice. According to FDA, juice can become contaminated with lead through sources such as old lead-containing equipment.

Lead is toxic to humans and can affect people of any age or health status. Even low lead exposure can harm children’s health.

The FDA recommends that for good nutrition, parents follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends limits on juice intake for children. Decreasing juice consumption would also reduce potential exposure to lead from juice. The guidelines recommend that children should get at least half of their fruit needs each day from whole fruit rather than juice, and that children under 12 months of age should not consume juice.

Though not binding, the action levels are intended to encourage manufacturers to maintain lead levels in juices below the action levels, thus reducing risks associated with dietary lead exposures.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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