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Dr. Oz, Dr. Besser argue over apple juice safety

September 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Is your apple juice safe? Two well-known doctors held a spirited exchange about the issue on "Good Morning America" on Thursday.

The issue was whether there are dangerous levels of arsenic in apple juice, but that issue took a back seat to the confrontation between Dr. Mehmet Oz and the Chief Medical Editor for ABC News, Dr. Richard Besser.

While the debate was over whether arsenic in apple juice poses a health threat, the debate between the two doctors is what had plenty of people talking.

"I'm very upset about this. I think that this was extremely irresponsible," Besser said to Oz. "This fear mongering, it reminds me of yelling, 'Fire in a movie theater.'"

"I am not fear mongering, we did our homework on this Rich," Oz fired back.

The heated exchange lasted several minutes - two of TV's top doctors going toe-to-toe on "Good Morning America."

During Wednesday's episode of the Dr. Oz TV show, Oz warned parents that many of the leading juices on the market contain arsenic and that the FDA does not regulate arsenic in apple juice.

"I am not saying that arsenic is causing cancer in our kids. What I am arguing is that unregulated arsenic in the apple juice in America is unacceptable," Oz said during his show.

The confrontation between Oz and Besser was fodder for conversation on Thursday's episode of "The View."

"When you say something like this, you gotta know, it's gonna scare parents," said Sherri Shepherd on the show.

Besser said he was upset that Oz did not distinguish between the amounts of naturally occurring arsenic and inorganic arsenic.

"I don't think people understand that arsenic is something we live with every day. It's in our air, it's in the water we drink, it's in the soil we walk on. It's part of our environment," Besser said. "It's also a toxin that comes from industry, so to look at one food and say, 'We found arsenic, therefore its dangerous for our children,' is just not a responsible way to move forward."

But Oz stands by his show's investigation.

"My concerns are about long-term effects over years," he said.

In response to the Dr. Oz Show, the FDA released a statement stressing that apple juice is safe, saying "Sampling thus far does not indicate a safety concern for these products."

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