SUNNYSIDE, Wash. (AP) — The federal Food and Drug Administration says arsenic has been found at nearly nine times the allowed limit in samples of apple juice from a Yakima Valley processor.

The Seattle Times reports the agency, in its warning letter to Valley Processing, has also faulted the Sunnyside juice processor for storing apples outdoors for months at a time. The FDA says leaving apples outside in open bins encourages mold to grow.

The agency says prolonged exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic is associated with cancer, skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and diabetes.

Professor Luke LaBorde, a food-safety specialist at Penn State University who has trained apple producers and processors, said the arsenic likely came from apples picked at an older orchard. Inorganic arsenic is usually associated with historical use of pesticides many years ago.

When asked if the FDA's allegations were true, Valley Processing President Mary Ann Bliesner said they are guided by the FDA's opinions, but their processing facility is fine.

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