North Carolina’s poultry and hog farmers could face changes in what goes into their animal feed if a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is successful. The agency continues to allow an organic form of arsenic in feed given to chickens, turkeys and hogs.
A handful of advocacy groups, including the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, want that to change. According to the Institute’s senior advisor in science, food and health, Dr. David Wallinga, the suit stems from a petition filed against the FDA three years ago.
“This is arsenic,” he declared. “We don’t need it to raise these animals for meat and, in fact, it’s a public health hazard. So, let’s do something about it.”
Wallinga said the FDA did not respond to the petition. The suit seeks to withdraw FDA approval of the four different animal-feed arsenic products that are currently on the market. The arsenic in the feed is supposed to help with animal growth and meat coloring.
The arsenic that’s used in animal feed is known as organic. It had been considered somewhat benign, but Wallinga said that in reality, arsenic is arsenic.
“The body can convert that organic form of arsenic into the other forms that are actually closely tied with risk of cancer,” he declared.
North Carolina is one of the top five chicken- and hog-producing states in the country.
Wallinga dismisses the supposed benefits of using arsenic, saying it’s not clear that it serves any useful purpose, having been mixed in with all the other drugs and ingredients in the feed.
“Long before we fed arsenic to animals, we were raising them just fine without arsenic,” he stated. “And in fact, countries around the world, including the European Union, never approved these arsenic chemicals as being safe to put into animal feed.”
More information on the suit at is at bit.ly/13dwusD.