Friday, April 21, 2006

Arsenic in your chicken

Many chicken products sold in the United States are contaminated with arsenic, a known carcinogen, according to a new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Investigators found arsenic in half of 155 samples from supermarkets and in all 90 samples from fast-food restaurants. All the samples were below the tolerance level set by the Food and Drug Administration.

According to the report, arsenic is legally fed to an estimated 70 percent of broiler chickens to kill parasites and promote growth. Its use on poultry farms causes environmental contamination when soils are fertilized with chicken manure containing arsenic, and when other animals are fed chicken litter containing arsenic.

Arsenic is not allowed in organic chickens, and Tyson, the nation's largest chicken producer, claims not to use it. Read the report here or read about chicken and arsenic in The New York Times (free registration required).

To find producers who claim not to feed their chickens additives such as arsenic and antibiotics, visit the Eat Well Guide.

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