Have Some Arsenic With That Chicken?

Ok, let me start by saying that arsenic does occur naturally and we all have it in our systems. So the fact that there is naturally occurring arsenic in food is not that news worthy to me. However, I have always wondered why we feel the need to add more of something that is poison to our food.

Arsenic in ChickenAs noted in a recent NYT article (May 11), the chemical Roxarsone also known as 3-Nitro is added to chicken to kill intestinal parasites, promote growth and are you ready for this? Make the meat look pinker.

Not to worry we are told by the National Chicken Council, information on arsenic is simply being used to intentionally mislead consumers. Used by whom? Chicken ranchers who do not use arsenic? How dare they.

This gets even better. The company that makes the drug, Zoetis, has suspended sales in the United States. That’s good, but wait for it, they are selling down their stock to other countries that still allow its use.

Organic chickens were tested and had about .5 PPB of arsenic in their systems. As I noted at the beginning of this blog, arsenic is naturally occurring and we are all exposed to it. So what is the point here?

Simply put, I have never understood why we are so focused on adding things to our food that supposedly make the food better. Chicken that is cooked properly is safe without adding antibiotics or arsenic. A healthy chicken that is fresh is pink enough.

Maybe, just maybe it is time that we allow additives into food only after they are proven safe rather than remove them after they are proven harmful.

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