Here’s a toxic tidbit from the “Gross Meat Facts” files: Chickens who are raised for their flesh are routinely given feed laced with Roxarsone, an additive that contains—are you ready for this—arsenic. May we suggest a new slogan for the nugget bucket? “Potent poison in every piece!”
The fact is, roughly 70 percent of the chickens who are raised for their flesh in the U.S. are fed arsenic-laced feed. (Like antibiotics, arsenic is believed to speed growth and produce more meat to sell, quicker.) The chicken industry insists that most of the arsenic is eliminated in the chickens’ waste (tough luck for fish in nearby waterways), but a recent study conducted by the Utah Department of Health revealed that it is also excreted in chickens’ eggs. This was discovered after two children who ate eggs daily from the family’s hens (who had been given feed containing Roxarsone) were found to have arsenic levels in their bloodstream that were at least twice the level deemed toxic.
It’s also in chickens’ flesh, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), an organization that is petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban arsenic feed additives. The IATP found that all the fast-food chicken and more than half of the store-bought chicken tested contained elevated levels of arsenic. High arsenic levels have been linked to certain cancers as well as immune system, endocrine, and neurological problems.
Written by Alisa Mullins