Why does it take a lawsuit to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to listen? After a 4-year petition to try and convince the FDA that arsenic-laced additives used to feed our chickens, turkeys, and hogs should be removed immediately, the government institution is finally paying attention.
Arsenic occurs naturally in trace amounts on the earth’s surface and in our ground water, but when pumped into our food supply via animal feed and environmental waste, it can cause cancer and other serious health concerns – in every form of life – from plants to human beings.
In order to get the FDA’s attention in this matter, a lawsuit was filed by Center for Food Safety(CFS), the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and seven other U.S. food safety, agriculture, public health and environmental groups. In it they require the immediate withdrawal of arsenic-containing feed used to fill numerous animals to fatten them for slaughter. Thus far arsenic was used to fatten livestock on less feed while providing a ‘healthy’ color to the meats we purchase in the grocery store. A report conducted by the IATP estimated that more than 70% of all the meat consumed in fast-food establishments and purchased at grocery stores contained unhealthy levels of arsenic.
One study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health found that chickens raised with arsenic-based drugs end up having toxic, inorganic arsenic in their meat. Unfortunately, this means countless consumers within the US are ingesting this known carcinogen.
The study abstract concluded with:
“Conventional chicken meat had higher iAs concentrations than conventional antibiotic-free and organic chicken meat samples. Cessation of arsenical drug use could reduce exposure and the burden of arsenic-related disease in chicken consumers.”
And in response to the 4-year old aforementioned request to remove arsenic in animal feed, the FDA will finally withdraw three of the four arsenic-drugs normally used with animals. Of the 101 arsenic-drugs seeking approval, 98 will be withdrawn.
Vice President of the IATP, Ben Lilliston, has commented on the issue:
“The actions by FDA and industry confirm what we’ve been saying for seven years, the use of arsenic in animal feed is not necessary and poses needless risk to public health. The FDA’s response is long overdue to reduce exposure to arsenic and should launch a more comprehensive evaluation of health risks associated with animal feed produced by the pharmaceutical industry.”