Arsenic in Animal Feed

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This is one of those ridiculous but true stories.  Arsenic, the deadly poison and known carcinogen, is an allowed ingredient in some animal feed.  Please read and tell the FDA to completely ban the use of arsenic in animal feed.

The Alliance for Natural Health reports that last December, the Center for Food Safety and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy filed a petition with the FDA asking for the removal of arsenic-containing compounds used in animal feeds.  “Most arsenic-containing animal feed additives are not used to treat sickness.  Instead, these additives are commonly used in poultry production to induce faster weight gain and give the meat a healthy-looking color; the same techniques are used to a lesser extent in turkeys and hogs.”  http://www.anh-usa.org/urgent-action-alert-tell-fda-to-ban-arsenic-in-animal-feed/

In 2006, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy published a startling paper titled “Playing Chicken, Avoiding Arsenic in your Meat”.  While the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims that none or very little of the arsenic put into chicken feed makes its way into the meat, this organization tested raw chicken purchased from supermarkets and fried chicken purchased from fast food chains.  They found that most uncooked chicken products (55%) contained “detectable arsenic” and many fast food chicken “carried some detectable arsenic” as well.  (This is a very fascinating and well written report – you can read it here:  http://www.iatp.org/iatp/publications.cfm?accountID=421&refID=80529)

There is no available information of arsenic levels in chicken meat used in pet foods.  Because many pets eat a chicken based food, and eat that food every day of their life (unlike humans who might only consume chicken two or three times a week), this is a huge concern for pet owners.  If a pet food does or does not contain arsenic would depend on the chicken producer the pet food company purchases from.  My guess would be few (if any) pet food companies tests for arsenic levels in their chicken or chicken meal.  However again, considering many pets eat a chicken based pet food day in and day out for years, this should be a consideration for all conscientious pet food companies.  So if ‘you’ (pet food companies) are listening out there, please test for arsenic levels and provide those test results on your website.

For pet owners that feed raw or home cooked with chicken, the above Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy paper lists the raw chicken companies they tested and levels of arsenic found.

Should you wish to post a comment to the FDA – asking them to ban arsenic in animal feed, visit https://secure3.convio.net/aahf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=560
(the deadline to comment is today – June 15, 2010)

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
TruthaboutPetFood.com
PetsumerReport.com

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