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

 

Stuart Littlewood: What More Horrors Are In Store For Gaza?

I wonder what Hamas and Israeli leaders are thinking as they survey the devastation in Gaza and review the death-toll and casualty figures? Or course, neither has to live among the ruins and clamber over the devastation. More>>

ALSO:

Michael Hammerschlag: The Battle For Lysychansk; Ukr On The Move

I reached my friend Andre Samobarona (self-defense militia from Maidan) at the front Sunday- where I didn't know he was till last call 5-6 days ago, “I'm in a battle- can't talk”. He was out of touch till today, when he was on R+R from the National ... More>>

Shobha Shukla: Prevention Technologies For HIV And STIs At AIDS 2014

Women of reproductive age have a need for prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and family planning methods. More importantly, women need prevention tools/methods that are under their control and do not leave them at the mercy of ... More>>

Gary G. Kohls: The Hiroshima Myth And The Glorification Of American Militarism

This coming Wednesday, August 6, 2014, is the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized ever since war-weary Americans celebrated V-J Day on August 15. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Gaza’s Resistance Will Not Be Crushed

On the 13th day of Israel’s so-called Operation Protective Edge, stories of entire families collectively pulverized, women and children keenly targeted by Israeli soldiers saturate the media. Until now, 430 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and ... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Anderson: Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic? The Labour Party And MANA

Early in July this year, Labour Party leader David Cunliffe made headlines by apologising for being a man. Stoked by capitalist media sensation, Prime Minister John Key responded that “not all men” abuse women. More>>

Shobha Shukla: Break The Silos: Drug Use, HIV, HCV, TB, Laws And Funding

Viet Nam is one of the countries in the world that has made remarkable progress over the last decade in not only making harm reduction and HIV services available and accessible for people who use drugs but also reforming laws for supportive health ... More>>

ALSO:

Fiona Gordon: Illegal Wildlife Trading: The Global Response

At the closing session of the inaugural United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi last month, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We need to act decisively to change humanity’s relationship with our planet.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
TEDxAuckland
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news