Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


A Little Arsenic Never Hurt Anyone, Says US Chicken Industry

A Little Arsenic Never Hurt Anyone, Says US Chicken Industry

by Martha Rosenberg
June 11, 2013


Click for big version.

A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found detectable levels of arsenic in chicken from grocery stores in 10 American cities, including in organic chickens. If the drug were fed to all chickens, over 100 US deaths would result from arsenic-related lung and bladder cancers, report the authors.

The National Chicken Council, which represents the firms that produce 95 percent of US meat chickens, dismissed the study as reflecting "very low levels of arsenic," reported the New York Times.

This is not the first time arsenic levels in poultry have made the news. In 2011 Pzer announced it would stop selling arsenic-treated chicken feed after the FDA found inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen, "at higher levels in the livers of chickens treated than in untreated chickens." Other poultry feed with arsenic remained on the market.

The FDA has approved arsenic in poultry feed for years to control parasites in birds, promote weight gain and feed efficiency and improve "pigmentation." Like artificial dye in farmed salmon and gasses used to keep grocery store beef red, the FDA apparently puts public health risks below helping industry move its products.

In 2006 in the same journal, Environmental Health Perspectives Dr. Ellen Silbergeld raised questions about arsenic levels in poultry including "additional exposures to arsenic from confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) wastes via land disposal, which may reach human populations though soil." Such runoff from megafarms is now indicted for high levels of arsenic found in US rice. A Consumer Reports investigation last year found concerning arsenic levels in the food supply and recommended federal action.

At the time of the article, Dr. Silbergeld was assailed by Big Ag for raising the alarm about arsenic levels in poultry as having a "political agenda" but reports since 2011 suggest she was right.

The levels of arsenic reported last month in Environmental Health Perspectives are below federal limits and were also obtained before Pfizer withdrew its widely used feed product in 2011. But the researchers point out that the danger levels of arsenic for humans were established in the 1940's and another arsenic laced product remains on the US market. Nor is the National Chicken Council a reassuring voice.

An article in the now discontinued Gourmet magazine says the National Chicken Council admits that 10 percent of chickens by the time they are hung from shackles at the slaughterhouse have had a wing dislocated, fractured, or broken from rough handling. It also admits that 2 percent of the birds are awake as the blade cuts their throat or boiled alive because they miss the stunner that is supposed to spare them. Richard L. Lobb, a spokesman for the Council said of the estimated 180 million a year who perish this way, "This process is over in a matter of minutes if not in seconds," in Gourmet.

Both arsenic in birds and bird feed and the deaths described in Gourmet magazine stem from the cult of cheap food perpetrated by US factory farms. It is a cult food consumers are increasingly rejecting.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:

Max Rashbrooke: Why The New British Conservative PM Is Talking Inequality

In a major speech, May honed in on one key theme: an economy “that works for everyone”. It was strikingly like the language that the former British Labour leader, Ed Miliband, used in last year’s election campaign, as he put inequality front and centre of his – unsuccessful – political pitch. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tony Blair And The Chilcot Report

Alongside this litany of criticisms of Blair’s style of government and decision-making, Chilcot has also given Blair a remarkable amount of wiggle room. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Flying Blind

Lets imagine an industry that prides itself on its modern technology. Yet its basic service is a chronic source of anxiety to many of its customers, partly because (very occasionally) this industry suffers catastrophic accidents that kill everyone who is using a particular instance of its service at the time. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news