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Fungal Toxins in Apples

Researchers report levels of a fungal toxin in organic and conventional apple juice.

October 5, 2009 |
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Fact or fiction, though. Many of us were told as kids not to eat the brown parts., but can we eat the whole apple bruises and all?
Patulin is a mycotoxin produced by a fungus that infects apples and can cause those characteristic brown patches. If it is a human carcinogen—and we’re still not sure—it’s a pretty weak one. So the concern is not the apples themselves, because you can just cut away the brown parts, but in apple juice, where companies can get away with using fallen, rotting, moldy apples—and we would never know. Unless, researchers started testing apple juice for the presence of fungal toxins. And in countries around the world, patulin levels in apple juice—the number one source of fruit servings for toddlers in this country—have in many cases exceeded the World Health Organization safety guidelines.
Always better to consume apples than apple juice, but if you are going to drink apple juice, choose organic, as none of the samples of organic juice in the latest study this year exceeded those safety limits.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on juice. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some more context, please check out my associated blog posts: Dr. Greger's Natural Nausea Remedy Recipe and  Apple Peels Turn On Anticancer Genes

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on juice. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • K8

    I love apples eat them all time, however, after eating them my lips and sometimes my tongue will swell a little or tingle. This usually happens for only a few minutes. It doesn’t seem to matter how well I wash the apples or if they are regular or organic. Is this an allergy or is it something that is on the skin of the apple?

    • DrDons

      Hi KB, Your symptoms fit the diagnosis, Oral Allergy Syndrome. It is fairly common and usually localized to the mouth and might be related to remnants of pollens in the fruit. It is usually not associated with dangerous systemic symptoms but can sometimes cause additional intestinal symptoms. Cooking the apples may eliminate the problem. The safest course is to avoid the apples. To find out the most current recommendations for this condition you might consider a visit an Allergy Specialist.

  • kamala

    I dont understand toxigenic fungi.where do i find the material about this?

  • LumLum2500

    Are black bananas safe to eat? Many people I know wait till they are black (and then some) before using them in banana nut bread.