USDA Finds Arsenic In Chickens

USDA Finds Arsenic In Chickens

The level of arsenic found in young chickens, which are called “broilers,” may be three to four times higher than the amount of arsenic in other types of poultry and meat, HealthDayNews reports of a new study from researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

How is arsenic getting into chickens? Arsenic is a government-approved feed supplement that farmers use as a way to fight intestinal parasites in the birds, especially young ones. This USDA study is the first of its kind to measure the levels of arsenic in chickens, as well as how much of it is ingested by people who eat those chickens.

It’s important to note that the USDA says that even with the higher levels of arsenic found in broilers, the amount of arsenic we ingest from our favorite chicken dishes is still well below what is considered a tolerable daily intake. But the researchers are equally quick to point out that the amount of arsenic we are ingesting from chicken is much higher than previously thought, which may prompt government agencies to reassess the acceptable level of total arsenic exposure.

Arsenic, while poisonous in large amounts in its inorganic form, is a naturally occurring organic element that is found in food, drinking water, and the environment. Arsenic in its less toxic organic form is used as a chicken feed supplement. Previous research has linked long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. HealthDayNews notes that it is also associated with cardiovascular, pulmonary, immunologic, neurologic, and endocrine problems. All of this means our total exposure to arsenic is an important measurement. A little is okay. A lot is not. “If we’re taking in more [arsenic] in chicken, then there’s, in a way, less room to take in arsenic through the water,” lead study author and epidemiologist Tamar Lasky explained to HealthDayNews.

How much arsenic do you get from eating chicken? If you ate 12 ounces of chicken every day, you would ingest between 21 micrograms and 31 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per day and 33 micrograms to 47 micrograms of total arsenic per day. Your weight is important in computing how much of that you can tolerate. If you weigh 154 pounds, this amount translates to 0.30 to 0.44 micrograms per kilogram per day of inorganic arsenic, which is well below the tolerable daily intake of 2 micrograms per kilogram per day, but still a sizable portion of the total, reports HealthDayNews.

We Americans love chicken. It’s a staple of our diet. To wit: In the last three decades, our per capita consumption of chicken has nearly doubled from an average of 40 pounds per year in 1970 to about 78 pounds a year by 2000, according to data from the National Chicken Council. The group’s spokesman, Richard Lobb, told HealthDayNews that the USDA study “appears to be much ado about nothing.” He points out that the arsenic in poultry feed is the less toxic organic form and that it “is used responsibly and safely by poultry producers.”

The study is meant to raise questions for further research–not scare people away from eating chicken. Says Lasky, “It’s reasonable for consumers to say, ‘We want to know more about this.’”

The study findings were published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Does this really suprise you? This crap has been going on for years.
One reason my family only eats free ranged, organic meats and produce.
The agri-business giants with their ware-housed animals only creates more need to use toxins to control the disease and parisites that those conditions create. We need to go back to small farms and local markets if we want to rid ourselves of these toxins… look at beef too while you are at it.

Organic chicken ‘less nutritious’ than battery-farmed birds
By FIONA MacRAE Last updated at 22:42pm on 3rd December 2006

Battery chickens: More health benefits than free range organic.

With its premium price tag, shoppers expect organic chicken to be both tastier and healthier than cheaper battery-farmed birds.

But organic poultry is actually less nutritious, contains more fat and tastes worse than its mass-produced equivalent, research has shown.

Tests on supermarket chicken breasts showed that organic versions contained lower levels of health-boosting omega 3 fatty acids than other varieties, including non-organic free-range poultry.

The compounds, present in high levels in oily fish, are thought to be responsible for a host of health benefits, from combating heart disease to boosting intelligence.

Organic chicken, which typically costs nearly three times as much as battery-farmed poultry, also contained lower levels of anti-oxidants ? compounds which mop up harmful molecules called free radicals that have been linked to cancer, heart disease and strokes.

If that wasn?t enough, the chicken ? from birds which are raised as naturally as possible and are given antibiotics only when they are actually ill ? contained up to twice as much cholesterol.

Organic chicken even fared poorly in blind taste tests, gaining the lowest marks for succulence.

Researcher Dr Alistair Paterson, of Strathclyde University, told the Sunday Times: ?It is safe to say that you are not getting any nutritional benefit from buying organic chicken.

?You could be better off buying conventional chicken.

?There is no guarantee that organic chicken gives you more omega 3, better taste or lower cholesterol level.?

The findings come as organic food market is booming, fuelled by a rise in ethical shopping.

Last year it was worth £1.6 billion, dounle the amount in 2000. Sales are forceast to be worth £2.7billion by 2010.

An organic chicken costs about £12 in a supermarket, almost three times the price of a more conventionally reared bird.

The latest study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, is not the first to question the health benefits of eating organic. Earlier this year, food watchdog the Food Standards Agency said that organic milk was no healthier than the traditionally produced variety.

Dr Paterson, a food technologist, said the difference in nutritional quality could partly be explained by the way the birds are fed. Synthetic vitamin supplements, which are routinely added to conventionalfeed, are banned under organic farming rules, as is feed with GM additives.

The rules also impose strict standards on the use of pesticides and animal welfare and sustainability. While all organic chickens are free range not all free-range chickens are organic.

The Soil Association, which accredits organic poultry producers, disputed the Strathclyde University team?s findings yesterday.

Spokesman Hugh Raven said: ?This research contradicts the bulk of evidence which shows organic food is higher in omega 3, vitamins and minerals than conventional chicken.?

watch a film on how chickens are treated:

and this is not the only company that treats oragnic/range free chickens like this

We raise our own chickens, beef and rabbits ( yes we eat those too )!
I would be willing to bet that anyone tasting any of these meats would prefer the ones raised free range and without the toxic chemicals of the mass produced agra-farms watery, almost tasteless, toxin infused excuse of meat that is forced on the public these days. You can quote study after study by both sides and it is the taste and texture that tells in the end.

Humm that video seems to make my point about agra farms and not free ranged.

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