There’s Poison in Your Poultry
Did you know that when a chicken is processed for food, manufacturers grind up the feathers and create an animal-meal feed additive that is then fed to other animals? Did you also know that recently scientists found arsenic, a potent poison, in all of the samples of feather-meal products they tested? What’s more, this same form of arsenic is actually fed to poultry on a routine basis.
Johns Hopkins University researchers published these findings in the February 2012 issue of the journal Science of The Total Environment. The researchers state that arsenic drugs, specifically roxarsone, are used in poultry production, which results in the accumulation of arsenic in the feathers of the chickens.
According to Robert S. Lawrence, MD, director of the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, chickens are fed roxarsone to make them grow bigger and have a more appealing skin tone. Lawrence says roxarsone is an organic form of arsenic, but recent research demonstrates that in chickens it is converted into the inorganic form of arsenic that is toxic.
“Inorganic arsenic is a human carcinogen and is also associated with increased risks of several noncancer endpoints, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neuropathy, neurocognitive deficits in children and adverse pregnancy outcomes,” explains Lawrence. He also notes that roxarsone is used in turkey and swine feed, and has been detected in animal waste sold as fertilizer.
The only way to avoid roxarsone exposure in foods is to buy products labeled with the USDA Organic seal. In a New York Times expose, Keeve E. Nachman, PhD, a researcher involved in the recently published roxarsone analysis, was asked what foods he buys for his family. He responded, “We buy organic.”