Arsenic in Chicken

FDA: Some chicken may have small amount of arsenic
The FDA said Wednesday that a new study 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. Previous studies have indicated the arsenic was eliminated with chicken waste.
Pfizer, which makes the feed ingredient, said Wednesday that it will pull it off the market in the United States. The FDA said it would be banned because it is a carcinogen.

Many poultry producers have already stopped feeding their birds the ingredient, which was used to kill parasites and promote growth.
The FDA said people do not need to stop eating chicken that may have been treated with the drug. Michael Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, says the study raised "concerns of a very low but completely avoidable exposure to a carcinogen."
Pfizer said in a statement that its subsidiary, Alpharma, is suspending sales next month in response to the FDA findings. The company said it is not withdrawing the ingredient immediately so chicken producers have time to transition their birds off the drug.
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 it on an individual basis.
In a study of 100 chickens, the FDA found that chickens that had eaten the Roxarsone had higher levels of inorganic arsenic as opposed to organic arsenic, which is naturally occurring in their livers than chickens that had not been fed Roxarsone. Inorganic arsenic is more toxic than the naturally occurring form.
Roxarsone has long been a concern for environmental groups worried about its presence in chicken waste and the resulting effects on human health in areas with high chicken production. Maryland state lawmakers have tried to force a ban in that state, saying the arsenic ends up in the Chesapeake Bay.
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 said.