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Does the Chicken in Your Refrigerator Contain Arsenic?

June 9, 2011

webwire

EMSL Analytical provides food testing services to detect contaminants and pathogens in the nation’s food supply.

Cinnaminson, NJ

The last few weeks have been filled with media reports about the E. coli outbreak in Europe that has so far claimed 27 lives and sickened thousands. Now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that low levels of arsenic may be in some products that contain chicken meat.

According to the FDA, “Arsenic is in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a contaminant and is found in water, air, soil, and food. Published scientific reports have indicated that organic arsenic, a less toxic form of arsenic and the form present in 3-Nitro® (roxarsone), an approved animal drug, could transform into inorganic arsenic.”

The study that identified the issue looked at the livers of 100 chickens. The chickens that had consumed the product had higher levels of inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is more toxic than the naturally occurring form of arsenic. The company that manufacturers the feed ingredient said that it will pull the product off the market in the United States.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. In the environment, arsenic is combined with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur to form inorganic arsenic compounds. Arsenic in animals and plants combines with carbon and hydrogen to form organic arsenic compounds.

“These latest findings from the FDA once again confirm the importance of testing the nation’s food supply to ensure that it is safe for consumers,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, a major food testing laboratory in the U.S. “Food testing can prevent unnecessary exposures to both manmade and naturally occurring elements and foodborne pathogens that can cause everything from allergic reactions and mild illnesses to deadly outbreaks like what has been witnessed across Europe these past few weeks,” he continued.

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