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FDA: Chickens Contain Arsenic

Maker of arsenic-laced food to suspend sales
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2011 9:15 AM CDT
FDA: Chickens Contain Arsenic
In this Aug. 25, 2010, file photo free range chickens feed in a pasture at the organic Curry Farm in Dawson, Ill. Organic chickens are not fed the arsenic-laced food.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Pfizer has suspended sales of an arsenic-laced drug that’s been fed to chickens for decades, after the FDA released a study showing that the arsenic winds up in parts of the chicken that consumers eat. The FDA stressed that chicken meat probably doesn’t contain enough arsenic to pose a health risk, but the agency would likely have banned the drug anyway had Pfizer not stopped sales on its own, the AP reports.

“The presence of that carcinogenic residue obviously raises concerns, and it’s completely avoidable,” the FDA’s deputy commissioner of foods said. “It needed to be acted upon. Roxarsone, also known as 3-Nitro, has been fed to chickens since the 1940s to kill parasites and promote growth. Pfizer says its own studies show that it is safe, but the company will nonetheless stop all sales in the US, including for pigs and turkeys, which weren’t covered in the FDA study. (Read more FDA stories.)

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