Arsenic in our Chicken, How About Our Pets?


Arsenic in our chicken, it’s apparently true. I suspect the same for pet foods, but I don’t really know. The concern is that it generally takes far less of anything to impact our pets.

According to an Associated Press story, the Food and Drug Administration said
Wednesday (June 8) that some chicken meat may contain small amounts of arsenic,
though the agency is stressing that the amount is too tiny to be
dangerous to people who eat it. 
The FDA report indicated that a new study developed by the agency shows
that an ingredient in chicken feed that contains arsenic, called
Roxarsone, may make its way into parts of the bird that are eaten.

Pfizer Inc., which makes the feed ingredient, said it will pull it off the market in the United States. Had
the company not stopped sales, the FDA could have eventually banned the
product since it contains a known carcinogen.

Many poultry producers have already stopped feeding their birds the
ingredient, which has been used since the 1940s to kill parasites and
promote growth. And the New York Times first reported this story in April, 2006.

The FDA said that people should not stop eating chicken that may have
been fed the drug.

(click continue reading)

Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods,
said the study raised “concerns of a very low but completely avoidable
exposure to a carcinogen.” Pfizer said in a statement that a subsidiary, Alpharma LLC, is
suspending sales next month in response to the FDA findings.

The company
said it is waiting a month so producers have time to transition their
birds off the drug. The ingredient will also be pulled off the market
for swine and turkeys, though the FDA only studied chickens.

Scott Brown, of Pfizer Animal Health’s Veterinary Medicine Research
and Development division, said the company also sells the ingredient in
about a dozen other countries. He said Pfizer is reaching out to
regulatory authorities in those countries and will decide whether to
sell on an individual basis.

The National Chicken Council, which represents companies that produce
and process chickens, said in a statement that the ingredient has been
used to maintain good health in chickens for many years, and that it is
used in “many, but not all” flocks.

“Chicken is safe to eat,” the group added.

Since pets are a sentinel because adverse responses in foods may
affect them sooner than us…IF indeed the chicken is also used in pet foods (and I don’t know if it is),
And for pets, chicken may be what they eat day in and day out…I can’t
help but wonder what that impact may or may not be, and if it might be more significant than in people.