Putting an End to Arsenic in Our Food Supply

By Patty Lovera Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch

Posted on | By Patty Lovera | Comments ()

The US Food and Drug Administration prevented over 9000 unsafe products from entering the country between 2006 and 2010, but with a less than 2% inspection rate on imported food, countless other unsafe products undoubtedly entered the US food system. Even Chinese officials have publically acknowledged their inability to regulate the country’s sprawling food production sector.

As potentially unsafe food is increasingly being imported into our country, unfortunately, arsenic is also entering the food supply right here at home. For the last 60 years, chickens have been given feed containing arsenic, at first to control disease but later to promoter faster growth and to make the chickens’ meat more pink. The arsenic fed to chickens ends up in the billions of pounds of poultry waste produced and spread across fields as fertilizer each year, which can contaminate soil and water, and some can stay behind in the chickens themselves. US Department of Agriculture data suggests the typical American is eating between 2.13 and 8.07 micrograms of total arsenic per day through consumption of chicken meat. The problem is so serious that earlier this year, the Food & Drug Administration pressured the drug company that makes the major arsenic-based feed additive to pull it from the market.

We all need to get involved to reduce unnecessary exposure to chemicals like arsenic in our food. There are a few things you can do to protect your family and make the food supply safer for everyone.

Patty Lovera

Article written by Patty Lovera
Assistant Director of Food & Water Watch