I have been telling you to avoid non-organic chicken for a long time. The primary reason has always been the arsenic that is found in the chicken feed. It acts as a preservative to the feed, while boosting growth of the chicken. So when you buy your “All Natural – no antibiotics and hormones ever” chicken, you have been buying arsenic laden chicken, which in reality is worse than an antibiotic or hormone treated chicken.
It was a number of years ago when the studies showing arsenic in fast food chicken products flooded onto the market, here is a sample of one limited study in MN and CA. At that time I started advising everyone to avoid non-organic chicken from all sources, including Chik-fil-A (the link will take you to their web page where it is obvious that they just follow USDA allowed standards, meaning they use antibiotics as needed, and are happy to use approved arsenic laden feed, no better standard than that; in addition you can tell that all of their non-sandwich chicken is the processed stuff, see this SHOCKING LINK).
So the news, is that though I have known for years that there was arsenic in the chicken feed, I never knew that it was prepared as such with a “drug” manufactured by a Pfizer owned company called Alpharma. I guess it is now very obvious to me, that if the FDA is going to approve arsenic being added to our food supply, they would want it to be regulated, so making it a drug is the best way to do that, but it puts another blemish on the pharmaceutical industry. They have their hands in so many cookie jars, sadly, all harmful to humanity in some way.
The reason why this has caught media attention, is because the drug is being pulled from use. A study showed that though the drug uses organic arsenic, the levels of inorganic arsenic found in the livers of chickens given this drug, was higher compared to chickens who were not. Here is the FDA’s Q&A position on Arsenic differences:
“The inorganic form is more harmful than the organic form, and has been found to be a human carcinogen. Organic arsenic is not known to be carcinogenic. Organic arsenic is the form of arsenic that is the active ingredient in approved arsenic-based animal drugs, including 3-Nitro.”
Just to clarify, organic arsenic is not known to be carcinogenic at low levels, but at higher levels has been found to be carcinogenic. If you heard my detox talk Monday night, you would realize that competition for detoxifying enzymes can create situations where low carcinogenic compounds are quickly highly carcinogenic in the body. However, the real question is how does organic arsenic, convert to inorganic arsenic in the livers of these chickens? And if it does it there, could we be converting organic to inorganic in our livers? Of course it seems pretty likely.
The article in the Los Angeles Times has also reported that the only other arsenic drug marketed as a feed additive is Nitarsone, which, funny enough, is also manufactured by Alpharma. I guess 100% market share is pretty cool for Pfizer, but not so good for us, when our hope is that this stuff is banned completely (not too likely with the size of the lobby that Pharma runs in DC). In the meantime, eat organic chicken whenever possible. Trader Joes drumsticks are incredibly reasonable, and perfect for the summertime barbecue!
It will be impossible for you to avoid all sources of arsenic, however if you try hard, it is likely that you will live a longer, healthier life because of it!
Be blessed, be well – Dr. E