Thursday, June 9, 2011

CLUCK NEWS: Time to Stock Up if you want Arsenic-laced Chicken Livers

One of the more bizarre and challenging attacks thrown at CLUCK during the campaign to re-legalize chickens in the City of Sarasota was the accusation that arsenic in chicken feed would pass through the hens and contaminate our local soil. Arsenic is a known carcinogen, more toxic than old lace, with which it is frequently associated. It was not only challenging because we didn't know how big or real a problem it was, but also because there didn't seem to be any realistic way for CLUCK or the City of Sarasota to address it, if it was a problem. How do a few chicken feed purchasers change the ways of a feed company??

Well, crisis (if there ever way one) averted! Many news sources are reporting that chemical giant Pfizer, whose subsidiary Alpharma makes Roxarsone (aka 3-Nitro), the arsenic-containing additive, will be suspending sales next month.

According to an online story from Medical News Today

Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods, said:
"FDA detected increased levels of inorganic arsenic in the livers of chickens treated with 3-Nitro, raising concerns of a very low but completely avoidable exposure to a carcinogen. We are pleased to announce that the company is cooperating with us to protect the public health."

The website went on to say: "3-Nitro was approved by the FDA in 1944, the first arsenic-containing new animal drug to go on the market. It has been used mainly to control a parasitic disease - coccidiosis - that affects the chicken's intestinal tract. It has also been used to improve pigmentation and for weight gain."

Read a CBS news story version here.

As it turns out, local backyard chicken fans in Sarasota could simply have purchased un-medicated feed. 

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