Last week the Associated Press reported that the FDA finally admitted that some chicken meat on the market contains arsenic. Long story short, 3-Nitro, approved in 1944, has been given to chickens, turkeys and pigs that people eat for years. Sadly, 3-Nitro contains a dangerous, poisonous form of inorganic arsenic, a substance known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing).
The National Chicken Council went on the defense right away saying, “Chicken is safe to eat. When used, 3-Nitro is given according to label directions approved by FDA.” Actually that’s funny because if the drug was being use according to directions, it seems like people wouldn’t be ingesting this drug at all. The label for 3-Nitro states, “If swallowed, call a physician, poison control center, or hospital immediately. Induce vomiting by giving Ipecac syrup as directed.” Geez, someone should tell them that Ipecac syrup isn’t recommended anymore… but, I digress, the point is that you’re not supposed to eat this stuff.
The FDA agrees with the National Chicken Council and says that people should not stop eating chicken that may have been treated with the drug.
Now what’s up:
Although 3-Nitro has been used since 1944, it’s just now come into question. Not because the FDA has been running any sort of rigorous testing, but more likely because of public pressure and outcry. Pfizer, who makes the drug has just announced that they’ll be voluntarily withdrawing 3-Nitro starting in July. This was a Pfizer decision, by the way, not an FDA command.
So yeah, 3-Nitro is not going to be fed to chickens any longer, and thus, it will no longer be fed to people who choose to eat conventional, factory-farmed chickens. That said, I’m quite sure that factory farmers will simply look for another handy drug to feed to animals. Others agree, for example, NPR reports,
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, said in a statement that the decision by Pfizer, maker of 3-Nitro, to voluntarily remove it from the market is “a good first step” but called for the FDA to ban arsenic-based drugs for animal feed altogether.
Go organic… go organic… go organic!
You know, the FDA, and other “give drugs to food sources” advocates keep pressing the fact that the arsenic is in such small amounts that no one should care, that it’s perfectly safe to keep eating. However, think about that for a minute. Is ANY amount of poison knowingly ingested a good idea? Is it?
If you gather up all those little bits of arsenic from all those chicken nuggets and chicken breasts and so on that you feed your family, and you put said arsenic in a glass and make your family drink it, the situation looks way more icky. Arsenic causes cancer and is a poison. Why on earth would you eat this on purpose?
Trust me, 3-Nitro is being pulled, but you can bet money that factory farmers will simply find and use a different poison. Seriously, remember last year’s strawberry cancer shenanigans? Manufacturers will put anything in food, because frankly, consumers will keep eating it. Don’t be that consumer if you can help it.
USDA Organic is far from perfect, but if you’re going to eat meat, you really, really need to consider only eating organic meat. Going organic is going to cut your chances of voluntarily eating poison by a decent percentage. Another option is to eat less meat, or no meat at all.
Learn more about safe, organic food:
- See Food, Inc.
- How to afford organic food
- See a recipe for homemade organic vegetarian pot pie.
- Unscrambling Organic Eggs: Separating Facts from Fiction
Do you buy conventional chicken, organic chicken, or no chicken at all. Let me know in the comments.