Arsenic in our Foods?

What is arsenic and why is it dangerous?

Arsenic is a chemical element that occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It is commonly used as a means of poison in both humans and animals. A recent study found that over 137 million people in over 70 countries are probably affected by arsenic poisoning from drinking water. Additionally over 100,000 americans are hospitalized each year due to food poisoning.

For more information about arsenic click here.

Arsenic is widely used in industrial settings because of its known effects on animals. It is proven to enhance growth in animals such and chicken, pigs and turkeys. It also said to turn their meat into a rosy pink color.  Although it enters the feed as an organic form, it quickly turns inorganic, thus becoming poisonous.

We all remember when several apple juice manufactures faced ridicule for including arsenic in their products, well apparently it doesn’t end there.

Several studies, including ones by the FDA have been conducted to test the levels of arsenic in various meat products sold in supermarkets, and the results showed heightened levels of inorganic arsenic in chicken and turkey.

In addition to arsenic being present in our industrial feeds, it also believed to end up in manure which can seep into public water supplies.

Watering and fertilizing with arsenic-infused manure may contribute the increased presence of arsenic in rice products. The FDA’s findings are that arsenic is present in quantities that might increase an individual’s life-time risk of cancer when children consume typical amounts of these rice products.

According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, arsenic based compounds “were never approved as safe for animal feed in the European Union, Japan, and many other countries.”

This begs the question: When will the U.S. tighten up regulation on arsenic based compounds?

For starters, on May 1, a coalition of enviro groups including the Center for Food Safety, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit demanding that the FDA ban them from feed.

The lesson:

The main goal for a business to maximize profit, and unfortunately sometimes it comes at the expense of peoples health.

Don’t take anything for granted.  Stay educated and up to date with food recalls and don’t be afraid to ask questions