Is there arsenic in your chicken? (or how to annoy me to no end)

I just un-friended someone on Facebook over this one.  She’s staunchly vegetarian/vegan and regularly posts articles on the evils of eating meats, I’ve mostly ignored her but this one got to me.  When I asked her if she’d read any of the attached/mentioned articles or studies her response boiled down to “of course not”.  Now I have no problem with someone who prefers a vegetarian or vegan lifestyles, or someone who only eats organic meats, but stop the rumormongering and scare tactics people.

Back in June the FDA issued a concern about the levels of in-organic arsenic in chickens slaughtered for human food.  Small amounts of arsenic are in some medicated feeds because it kills a variety of intestinal parasites and helps the birds gain weight.  Previously it was thought that the arsenic was completely excreted in the birds waste, so after an appropriate period of time without the medicated feed the birds would be arsenic free.  But studies confirmed that even after the 5-day “washout” period that wasn’t the case.  Studies found that levels of arsenic in chicken muscle and livers was quite a bit higher in birds fed Pfizer’s 3-Nitro medicated feed than those who weren’t.  HOWEVER after the 5 day washout period the amount of in-organic arsenic in chicken muscle meat was on average 252 ppb, the governmental approved tolerance is 500ppb.  Now true, the liver was a different story, after the 5 day washout period the amounts of in-organic arsenic in the medicated chickens’ livers ranged from 300ppb to 2900ppb (the average was less than 2000ppb) with a governmental approved tolerance of 2000ppb.  So what does this mean?  Since chicken liver isn’t the most highly consumed portion of the chicken most people don’t even need to consider this to worry about it, if however you do consume a large amount of ground chicken products you may want to consider the source of the meat.  HOWEVER since not every chicken grower uses these feeds (Purdue for example doesn’t) its even less likely that it was an issue.

Yes, I said “was” see, Pfizer pulled its 3-Nitro off the market after this release.  Now yes, there are other medicated feeds on the market that contain some amounts of arsenic, but my previous statements stand, chicken muscle meat is safe to eat.  And really, if you’re that worried about in-organic arsenic in your diet, you need to stop drinking water.



LA Times

FDA (includes links to the actual summeries with the scientific data)

Edited: She’s now telling everyone how immature I am to un-friend  her over an article.  No honey, its not the article that I really took offense at, it was your deliberate ignorance and the decision to use that ignorance as a scare tactic that I have a problem with.

2 thoughts on “Is there arsenic in your chicken? (or how to annoy me to no end)”

  1. There are none so blind as those who will not see…. Or something like that. To admit she hadn't even read the items to which she had linked is an intolerable form of willful ignorance.

  2. Well, she read the article who's link she put on Facebook, but THAT article was basically: LOOK AT HOW THE GOVERNMENT AND MEAT INDUSTRY ARE POISONING US!!!!! Within that article were links out to a couple more traditional news media places, and it took me about 30seconds to find the appropriate FDA links online (though I'll admit the fact that I'd looked it up back in June when it first hit the news helped). But when I asked if she'd checked any of those links, or looked at the FDA information she said that she hadn't and didn't intend to and “here lookit these other all natural news sites that say the same thing!!!”

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