Arsenic Still Used in Chicken Feed

Monday, November 22, 2010
Americans are consuming three times the amount of chicken than 60 years ago, but the U.S. government hasn’t kept up with its regulations governing how much arsenic is allowable when eating poultry.
Despite the known dangers of arsenic to human health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still relying on rules crafted in 1951 for the poison, says the consumer watchdog Food & Water Watch.
“The FDA approved this drug when FDR was president. Since then, the science has shown it’s a dangerous, unnecessary contaminant to our food supply,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Europe does not use arsenic, and it’s time for the U.S. to step up and ban the drug as well.”
Arsenic makes its way into the poultry food chain by way of drugs used to control a common intestinal disease, coccidiosis. An estimated two million pounds of the arsenic-based drug roxarsone is fed to chickens each year.
Today, Americans eat an average of 60 pounds of chicken a year, up from 20 pounds in the 1940s.
Too much arsenic in the human body can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological deficits and other health problems.
In 2009, Rep. Steve Israel (D-New York) introduced the Poison-Free Poultry Act, but it has yet to leave the the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


Leave a comment