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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:05 AM
Original message
Like your arsenic fried, baked or broiled?
I couldn't believe what I read on the Op-Ed page in today's Washington Post. Arsenic is deliberately put in chicken feed. It increases blood vessels in chicken flesh so the meat looks pinker and more attractive to consumers. The Food and Drug Administration has permitted this disgusting practice since 1944.

Doug Gansler is Maryland's Attorney General and I'm very glad he's leading a fight to end the use of arsenic in chicken feed. Maryland has a big poultry industry on its Eastern Shore and I'm sure the arsenic has a serious impact on our environment. Thank heaven my husband and I are vegetarians.


"A Deadly Ingredient in a Chicken Dinner

By Douglas Gansler
Friday, June 26, 2009

Most people don't know that the chicken they eat is laced with arsenic. The ice water or coffee they enjoy with their chicken may also be infused with arsenic. If they live on or near a farm, the air they breathe may be infected with arsenic dust as well.

Why do our chicken, our water and our air contain arsenic? Because in the United States, most major poultry producers add an arsenic compound known as roxarsone to their chicken feed. Inorganic arsenic is a Class A carcinogen that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and declines in brain function. Recent scientific findings show that most Americans are routinely exposed to between three and 11 times the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended safety limit.

The poultry industry has been using the feed additive roxarsone -- purportedly to fight parasites and increase growth in chickens -- since the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1944. Turns out that the arsenic additive promotes the growth of blood vessels in chicken, which makes the meat appear pinker and more attractive in its plastic wrap at the grocery store, but does little else. The arsenic additive does the same in human cells, fueling a growth process known as angiogenesis, a critical first step in many human diseases such as cancer. "

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
2. I prefer mine grilled with some rosemary
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Phoebe Loosinhouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
3. I had a European acquaintance tell me once that American chicken had a bizarre taste
compared to chicken in Europe - like "chemicals and bologna" and it was impossible to eat such disgusting fare no matter how much it was disguised with sauces, etc.
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
4. So, we are still consuming arsenic in our chicken.....
From today's Washington Post:


A Deadly Ingredient in a Chicken Dinner

By Douglas Gansler, Maryland Attorney General
June 26, 2009


.....

The poultry industry has been using the feed additive roxarsone -- purportedly to fight parasites and increase growth in chickens -- since the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1944. Turns out that the arsenic additive promotes the growth of blood vessels in chicken, which makes the meat appear pinker and more attractive in its plastic wrap at the grocery store, but does little else. The arsenic additive does the same in human cells, fueling a growth process known as angiogenesis, a critical first step in many human diseases such as cancer.

The arsenic additive also presents health risks to farmers who work with the chemical or fertilizers. Chicken growers have reported illness from contact with roxarsone while preparing feed. Because most smaller growers rely on contracts with larger chicken producers that mandate the use of arsenic in chicken feed, the smaller growers are often unable to avoid the health risks associated with roxarsone.

n 1999, recognizing that any level of inorganic arsenic in human food and water is unacceptable, the European Union outlawed its use in chicken feed. Reportedly, several American chicken producers, including Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms, have acted responsibly by discontinuing the use of roxarsone in their animals. Other growers have turned to "organically fed" chicken operations. Nevertheless, as recently as 2006, 70 percent of the more than 9 billion broiler chickens produced annually in the United States were fed roxarsone.

Chicken consumption in the United States has increased dramatically in the past 40 years. In addition to the arsenic Americans consume at the dinner table, American broiler chickens generate billions of pounds of animal waste each year -- more than 1.2 billion pounds annually in Maryland alone -- causing significant runoff of arsenic into soils and surrounding waterways. The dangerous levels of arsenic in chicken manure ultimately contaminate crops, lakes, rivers and fertilized lawns, and it may even reach drinking water. Meanwhile, the poultry industry labors under the legal fiction that although it owns the chicken feed and the chickens that eat the feed, it has no responsibility for the chicken manure.

The federal Food and Drug Administration should ban arsenic from chicken feed. Working through the environmental committee of the National Association of Attorneys General, Maryland has enlisted more than 30 states to join in this effort.




So, to get this straight, lumber is no longer treated with arsenic because of the risks to the environment and to health.


So, we can build a safe patio deck to have a picnic, but we are ingesting arsenic anyway in our barbecued chicken.



I hope we all live long enough to witness the return of sanity.


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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
5. I had mine marinated with fine Mexican spices last night.
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
6. uhhhh ...
:scared:
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
7. Build a list of arsenic-free chickens...
I've already known that Tyson and Bell&Evans use arsenic free feed, and I'm would hope Empire kosher chickens don't, either.

McDonald's stopped using suppliers who use arsenic for their chicken, and some KFC regions stopped, too.

There was no hope the rules would change under the last regime, but we should lobby for rule changes now-- there's no excuse for poison food.

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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. But there IS an excuse
Corporate profits, corporate profits and more corporate profits -- America's most sacred cow.

Pardon my cynicism, but heaven forbid our lawmakers should do anything to endanger the profits of their corporate sponsors. After all, protecting corporate profits is what America's about, isn't it?

I fear the only way practices like these will be stopped is if a high-profile consumer dies and highly competent lawyers can sue and prove a direct link between the death and the arsenic in chicken. I hope I'm wrong. I hope Gansler wins this fight.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
9. Oh lord...
this is factory farmed chicken, right?

I'm not a vegetarian.

I get my chicken from a local farmer who doesn't feed it garbage. This is why I'm a meat eater.

It's all about eating smart, not eating what ever the hell is put in front of you.

No offense but I get a little tired of vegetarians who feel some sort of moral high ground on these issues.

It's all about being educated about what you eat, not about condemning someone across the board.

There are plenty of vegetarians that eat garbage greens, etc from huge vegetable factory farms via their local supermarket.

So before you start hurling your self-righteousness, look at the larger picture and stop lumping people who eat healthy compassionately raised farm animals fed a grass only diet with those who eat crap garbage meat via slaughter mills, fed high doses of heavy metals, ground up diseased meat from other chickens and cows, their own feces, questionable water and copious amounts of drugs.

I'm off my soap box now.

Cheers.

:rant:
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I beg your pardon?
I was not trying to "hurl my self-righteousness" around, I was merely expressing relief that we stopped eating chicken 2 years ago. I don't push vegetarianism on anyone, but reading about this arsenic chicken feed reinforces my belief that no longer eating meat was a good decision for my family. I might also add that I raise many of our own vegetables. Organically.

It seems to me that if anyone is hurling around self-righteousness, it might be the comments about eating compassionately raised farm animals as opposed to those who eat factory farmed animals.

Now let's get back to the issue.

Even though you may not eat factory farmed chicken, you and I and everyone else are affected by this toxic practice. The article I posted points out that arsenic from chicken byproducts and chicken manure gets into our environment. Our drinking water, for example. We can't escape this widespread contamination just by being vegetarians or eating organic chicken.

I'll bet arsenic tainted chicken winds up in pet food. Not only does this create the risk of slowly poisoning our pets, but the arsenic from dog and cat droppings washes into our waterways every time it rains.



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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. "Thank heaven my husband and I are vegetarians."
In your own words.

good bye, you are blocked.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Don't let the door hit your....
Edited on Fri Jun-26-09 03:24 PM by LiberalEsto
Oh, that's right. Thank heaven he's ignoring me now. :eyes:
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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. Arsenic In Chicken Production: adds arsenic to human food and endangers water supplies
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/government/85/8515gov2.html

FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS and some public health experts, one of the most puzzling practices of modern agriculture is the addition of arsenic-based compounds to most chicken feed. The point of the practice is to promote growth, kill parasites that cause diarrhea, and improve pigmentation of chicken meat. But Tyson Foods, the U.S.'s largest poultry producer, stopped using arsenic compounds in 2004, and many high-end and organic growers raise chickens quite successfully without them. What's more, McDonald's has asked its suppliers not to use arsenic additives, and the European Union banned them in 1999.
Stephen Ausmus/USDA

Roxarsone4-hydroxy-3-nitrobenzenearsonic acidis by far the most common arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed. It is mixed in the diet of about 70% of the 9 billion broiler chickens produced annually in the U.S. In its original organic form, roxarsone is relatively benign. It is less toxic than the inorganic forms of arsenic-arsenite and arsenate . However, some of the 2.2 million lb of roxarsone mixed in the nation's chicken feed each year converts into inorganic arsenic within the bird, and the rest is transformed into inorganic forms after the bird excretes it.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic can cause bladder, lung, skin, kidney, and colon cancer, as well as deleterious immunological, neurological, and endocrine effects. Low-level exposures can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes. "None of this was known in the 1950s when arsenicals were first approved for use in poultry," says Ellen K. Silbergeld, a toxicologist at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Three different pathways exist by which roxarsone in chicken feed can contribute to human arsenic exposure. Roxarsone, or its breakdown products, ends up in chicken meat and adds to the dietary intake of arsenic; roxarsone excreted in chicken litter contaminates land and groundwater after the manure is spread on cropland; and the large amounts of poultry litter made into fertilizer pellets for home gardens and lawns contaminate homegrown produce with arsenic and expose the consumer to arsenic dust.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-26-09 07:20 PM
Response to Original message
14. Roxarsone is an *organic* arsenic compound, but ...
it looks like it should readily degrade to inorganic arsenate. The wiki on this compound is very brief, but does link to a couple of scientific papers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roxarsone

One of these has an abstract available -- seems to suggest arsenic makes it into the eggs and liver. Of course, the excreta -- a major pollution problem in the Delmarva area -- contains plenty of arsenic, as it all has to end up somewhere.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/6688/abstrac...

(some of the links in the wiki had problems ... YMMV)
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