Discussions around this topic are pouring through consumer and farming channels today. It’s USFRA’s belief that the entire article is summed up by one of the John Hopkins scientists and co-authors of the study – Keeve E. Nachman – “We haven’t found anything that is an immediate health concern.” And “There’s no evidence that such low levels of arsenic harm either chickens or the people eating them.”

Why worry? Where’s the concern? According to the National Chicken Council,

“Chickens in the United States produced for meat are not given ‘arsenic’ as an additive in chicken feed, or any of the other compounds mentioned in this study. In fact, organic arsenic is a naturally occurring element in our environment that is widely distributed within the earth’s crust.  It is not surprising that in this study arsenic was detected on bird’s feathers because it is naturally present in the air, soil and water.”

And the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association had the following to say on the study,

“The U.S. commercial poultry industry does not use fluoroquinolones and has not since they were banned in 2005 by the FDA for poultry. In fact, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ofloxacin found in this study – albeit at extremely low levels – have never been used in the U.S. commercial poultry industry. The fact that they are evident in this study calls into question the source of the feather meal that was tested, potential cross-contamination with other products, and ultimately the scientific objectivity of the research since it implies continued use of fluoroquinolones that were never used by the poultry industry in the first place.”

For more information:

As a farmer or rancher, what can you do? Raise your voice and share your experience as a poultry farmer. Send us your stories at info@fooddialogues.com or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFArmersandRanchers

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A recent New York Times Op-Ed column by Nicholas Kristof claims arsenic is in the chicken consumers eat.  Kristof works to pair a study on feather meal (ground feathers) to what may actually be on a person’s plate. However, the column does not include any substantive information to support his claims. 

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