This piece of news may vie for space with stories on bird flu. After all, it is about the popular delicacy, chicken. Earlier it was thought that pets may be the only ones who need to be wary of some food additives. Now, according to an insight, an arsenic-based additive that forms an ingredient in chicken feed may be a risky proposition for humans who consume this chicken.
Roxarsone, the wide spread arsenic-based additive employed in chicken feed assists in enhancing growth, destroys parasites and perks up the pigmentation of chicken meat. In its pure form roxarsone may not cause much harm. The same compound under certain anaerobic conditions gets transformed into toxic forms of arsenic. Arsenic is known to cause cancer of the lung, kidney, colon, and bladder.
The use of these compounds has triggered a debate in health circles. Many suppliers have completely halted the use of this compound in chicken feed. Yet 70% of the 9 billion broiler chickens produced in the US on a yearly basis are raised on feed containing roxarsone. Wore still, people are left guessing about the quantity of arsenic found in chicken meat.
The article states "Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Department of Agriculture has actually measured the level of arsenic in the poultry meat that most people consume."
The National Chicken Council has refuted these claims confirming there is "no reason to believe there are any human health hazards" connected with the use of roxarsone in chicken feed.