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Old 05-02-2012, 04:03 PM   #1
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Warning about chicken

This will encourage me to spend the extra for organic chicken.

Guess What Drugs and Illegal Substances Are Showing Up in Chicken? | Care2 Causes

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Old 05-02-2012, 04:24 PM   #2
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Doesn't surprise me one iota. When I tell people that I pay $20 for an organic, free range chicken, they think I'm nuts. They usually counter that they can buy a chicken for $6 at the supermarket. But what people don't realize is that they're also buying (and consuming) everything that chicken has been fed or injected with.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:33 PM   #3
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I have pretty much given up on meat, poultry and fish.

When I do buy I try to shop local and as close to the source as possible.

The whole situation is very sad.

I hope CWS4322 can keep the girls off drugs when they move to the city.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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Traces of the arsenic compound Roxarsone, for example, were present in almost all of the samples. Farms administer arsenic to chickens to turn their flesh just the right shade of pink that consumers find attractive. Yet, in June 2011, the FDA gave Pfizer 30 days to discontinue selling Roxarsone, a proven carcinogen. So why is it still showing up in our chickens?

Other substances that the scientists found include acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, Benadryl, an antihistamine, even Prozac, an antidepressant. Farms feed chickens these mood-altering drugs to reduce their anxiety. Chickens are anxious because they are bred on overcrowded and filthy factory farms. Stressed-out birds develop meat that is tough and unpalatable, so they need to be sedated. Yet, chickens on tranquilizers sleep all the time and do not eat enough. So they are given high doses of caffeine (which was also found in the feather meal) to keep them awake at night to feed and fatten up.
That sounds pretty extreme! In fact it's sounding a bit too extreme for me. Is this site mainstream media? Is it some sort of advocacy site? Or is it even some sort of nutcase site like PETA?

I can't imagine the FDA allowing US chicken producers to feed chickens arsenic to make the meat look good to the public, nor can I imagine them allowing producers to dose their chickens with Prozac to get happy fat chickens. It even sounds extreme to me that any but a few chicken producers would engage in those activities due to risk of getting caught and prosecuted. I'd be astonished if the big business chicken producers would take that risk.

So I'm dubious about the accuracy of this article. Skeptical in fact. It would be good to have some corroboration from mainstream news media.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
That sounds pretty extreme! In fact it's sounding a bit too extreme for me. Is this site mainstream media? Is it some sort of advocacy site? Or is it even some sort of nutcase site like PETA?

I can't imagine the FDA allowing US chicken producers to feed chickens arsenic to make the meat look good to the public, nor can I imagine them allowing producers to dose their chickens with Prozac to get happy fat chickens. It even sounds extreme to me that any but a few chicken producers would engage in those activities due to risk of getting caught and prosecuted. I'd be astonished if the big business chicken producers would take that risk.

So I'm dubious about the accuracy of this article. Skeptical in fact. It would be good to have some corroboration from mainstream news media.
It does sound extreme. Did you look at the links in that article. The research comes from John's Hopkins. I consider that to be fairly reliable.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:21 PM   #6
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The researchers at JHU did point out they did not test any MUSCLE tissue, only feather meal. Meaning they didn't test any meat.

And look at the bright side.. it was likely organic arsenic they used.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
It does sound extreme. Did you look at the links in that article. The research comes from John's Hopkins. I consider that to be fairly reliable.
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The researchers at JHU did point out they did not test any MUSCLE tissue, only feather meal. Meaning they didn't test any meat.
I tried to find the full research article but only found the abstract. Apparently you need to be a paid member or subscribe to something. Perhaps I could find it at my local public library or local university. But just to quote part of the abstract:

Quote:
Antimicrobials used in poultry production have the potential to bioaccumulate in poultry feathers but available data are scarce. Following poultry slaughter, feathers are converted by rendering into feather meal and sold as fertilizer and animal feed, thereby providing a potential pathway for reentry of drugs into the human food supply. We analyzed feather meal (n = 12 samples) for 59 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) using EPA method 1694 employing liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). All samples tested positive and six classes of antimicrobials were detected, with a range of two to ten antimicrobials per sample. Caffeine and acetaminophen were detected in 10 of 12 samples....
They tested only twelve samples! The abstract didn't say what their sample choosing methodology was, presumably that was stated in the full article.

I'll admit I'm no academic expert, just a measly BS degree, but 12 samples does not sound like a comprehensive scientific study to me, nor even hardly significant. It's enough to get alarmed about. It's not enough to draw any conclusions, not in my humble opinion.

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And look at the bright side.. it was likely organic arsenic they used.
I presume you forgot the smiley!

I'm sure you know this but just for those who don't: Arsenic is an atomic element. The typical arsenic pesticide (I googled this) is arsenic trioxide, As2O3. Neither quite meet my criteria to be called 'organic.' You need a little carbon to turn that into an organic chemical, although presumably our food industry and FDA require a bit more than hydrocarbons to be labeled as organic.

So like I said I presume you were being humorous.

Something a bit more strange, evidently ground up feather meal is used as a livestock feed? (And fertilizer.) I'm astonished that there is any nutrient value in feathers. (Wikipedia states feather meal has nitrogen which presumably explains its merit as a fertilizer.)
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:13 PM   #8
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It's just sooooo easy to make people run screaming for the exits with half-baked interpretations of scientific studies "explained" by people who know little or nothing about the real purpose of the studies and who badly want something to further their cause or fill some Web content space.

Feather meal is an agricultural product. Its virtue is nitrogen content. It is indeed made from feathers, but they are highly processed to make the meal. Feather meal can qualify as Organic (using big "O" to denote the food production meaning - there's little 'o', the chemical technical term). To be certified Organic, the whole production chain would have to be similarly certified, including the feed fed to the chickens who grew the feathers.

Feathers are dead. Like finger and toe hails and hair, the only living part is at the base under the skin. Being dead tissue, all of these serve as records of the organism's environment. Want to know if Napoleon was poisoned? Test the sample of hair that was saved by someone present at the death. Those dead tissues tend to accumulate trace materials that are no longer present in the living tissue.

Consider this. Do you think the antibiotic you were prescribed last year is still floating around in you? Of course not. That would be a disaster in terms of the kind of resistant bacteria that would be killing you before too long. Is it detectable in your hair? Possibly. It's doing no harm there at all.

And remember that finding traces of medications and chemicals in some chicken product does not mean someone is knowingly feeding it to the chickens. The number of things that can be detected in city water is amazing, and it includes all sorts of medications. And do you really think a chicken outfit even has time in a production chicken's short life to use ten antibiotics, as the study report cites?

You can also feed feather meal back into meat animals. But the study says nothing at all about what that means, since the neither tested muscle tissue nor explored the sources of the detected products.

This is a lame article, even by the standards of the hand-wringing frantic crowd of professional warners.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:13 PM   #9
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I hope CWS4322 can keep the girls off drugs when they move to the city.
You made me LOL!!!
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:47 PM   #10
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It's just sooooo easy to make people run screaming for the exits with half-baked interpretations of scientific studies "explained" by people who know little or nothing about the real purpose of the studies and who badly want something to further their cause or fill some Web content space.
But... But... It's from John's Hopkins! I recall a class I took once, described as "how to lie using statistics." As I pointed out earlier, the only credence in the article was upon the name of the venue rather than any facts exposed in the study.

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Feather meal is an agricultural product. -- To be certified Organic, the whole production chain would have to be similarly certified, including the feed fed to the chickens who grew the feathers.
Another good point. Unfortunately I see no reason why feather meal cannot be used in the production chain of products that do not claim to be 'organic' (in the FDA sense).

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And remember that finding traces of medications and chemicals in some chicken product does not mean someone is knowingly feeding it to the chickens. The number of things that can be detected in city water is amazing, and it includes all sorts of medications. And do you really think a chicken outfit even has time in a production chicken's short life to use ten antibiotics, as the study report cites?
Indeed, and I wonder how you and I and our fellow citizens would fare if we were individually tested for the same pollution in our own bodies or fingernails and hair.

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This is a lame article, even by the standards of the hand-wringing frantic crowd of professional warners.
Both you and I agree that there is little reason to place any credence in the article quoted/linked in the OP.

The sky is falling... Run, run!!!
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:59 PM   #11
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I agree with Greg and GLC. Scare tactics from a site with an agenda. It's crap like this that makes me think censorship isn't always bad.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:03 PM   #12
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I presume you forgot the smiley!

I'm sure you know this but just for those who don't: Arsenic is an atomic element. The typical arsenic pesticide (I googled this) is arsenic trioxide, As2O3. Neither quite meet my criteria to be called 'organic.' You need a little carbon to turn that into an organic chemical, although presumably our food industry and FDA require a bit more than hydrocarbons to be labeled as organic.

So like I said I presume you were being humorous.
Not really, more ironic that humorous.

Source

Quote:

What is arsenic?Arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity. It is found in water, air, food and soil in organic and inorganic forms.
There are two types of arsenic: organic and inorganic. The inorganic forms of arsenic are the harmful forms, while the organic forms of arsenic are essentially harmless.* Because both forms of arsenic have been found in soil and ground water, small amounts may be found in certain food and beverage products, including fruit juices and juice concentrates.
A few months ago I saw an interview with one of the researchers. It seemed his final take on this was "We need to do a lot more study before any conclusions can be formed".

That does not stop media with an agenda from leveraging it to their own ends.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
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"We need to do a lot more study before any conclusions can be formed".
= "We need to get paid a lot more money for more worthless studies that don't come up with any conclusions we can stand behind." (IOW = weasel words.) I consider the money wasted if they can't formulate any conclusions they wouldn't stand behind.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:47 PM   #14
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I have pretty much given up on meat, poultry and fish.

When I do buy I try to shop local and as close to the source as possible.

The whole situation is very sad.

I hope CWS4322 can keep the girls off drugs when they move to the city.
Don't worry, Aunt Bea, the girls will still be "rural" enough that they won't hook up with the wrong crowd. I'm NOT driving them inner-city. They'll have to walk!
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:49 PM   #15
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Even a lot more study is no assurance of a confident conclusion. Individual studies rarely produce anything upon which to base a confident decision. The goal of scientific study is to direct the scientific community toward the next study.

In medicine, the studies that tend to produce some kind of reasonable basis for at least a tentative way to make decisions are metastudies in which no new study data is generated, but the results of many studies become the subject of the metastudy. That's because few studies can be broad enough to be practically meaningful. If they were that broad, their data would be highly suspect, because there would be too many variables and no possibility of a control group.

This study essentially says:

Subject to further studies reproducing these results, there is evidence to suggest that certain identified substances were present in the environment of the chickens that grew the feathers for some unknown period, at some unknown concentration, and in some unknown means of exposure.

While it is indeed necessary to confirm that situation, some similar result could be predicted with high confidence, given what is known about what is floating around the environment and the nature of feathers and similar biological structures.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:07 PM   #16
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...
This study essentially says:

Subject to further studies reproducing these results, there is evidence to suggest that certain identified substances were present in the environment of the chickens that grew the feathers for some unknown period, at some unknown concentration, and in some unknown means of exposure.
Yes. That's enough to make me concerned about eating those chickens.

Quote:
While it is indeed necessary to confirm that situation, some similar result could be predicted with high confidence, given what is known about what is floating around the environment and the nature of feathers and similar biological structures.
I don't know for sure that it was factory chickens, but if it was, they spent their lives in a very controlled environment.

I would really prefer if the food I eat didn't have access to those kinds of contaminants.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:49 PM   #17
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Yes. That's enough to make me concerned about eating those chickens.

I don't know for sure that it was factory chickens, but if it was, they spent their lives in a very controlled environment.

I would really prefer if the food I eat didn't have access to those kinds of contaminants.
The point is that you can raise your own chickens at home, and there's every reason to believe the same kind of study would have detected an array of medicinals and chemicals in your chickens' feathers. And perhaps in their meat, for that matter.

It's pretty safe to guess that the feathers in feather meal come from production chickens at the point of commercial slaughter. I wouldn't venture to guess whether your backyard chickens or the commercial chickens would have which contaminants. Factory chickens might well be exposed to much lower levels of airborne pollution than city or suburban chickens, simply by virtue of being rural.

The point is that water supplies carry some load of medicinal products and byproducts excreted by humans. The air contains a vast array of pollutants. And urban home site may have anything from a normal array of herbicides and pesticides and lead, etc., to highly contaminated soils. And farms sites have a legacy of years of chemicals, commonly badly handled and disposed of. The study may have looked at feathers from factory chickens, but there is no reason to presume that the same study of yard birds would have had any much different result. They simply discovered what was already known or reasonably presumed. And, unless you're eating feather meal, it means almost nothing in practical terms, and may not mean much if you do happen to be eating it. (Not likely. Apparently one of the problems with it in cattle feeding is that the cattle just don't like it.)
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:59 PM   #18
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It's true, and I hadn't thought about it, that our water supply is contaminated with lots of leftover medication. Apparently the amount of hormones from women taking birth control is rather shocking. I know someone who won't drink any water except distilled water because of that.

I still don't want it in my food.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:17 PM   #19
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The point is that you can raise your own chickens at home, and there's every reason to believe the same kind of study would have detected an array of medicinals and chemicals in your chickens' feathers. And perhaps in their meat, for that matter.
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It's true, and I hadn't thought about it, that our water supply is contaminated with lots of leftover medication. Apparently the amount of hormones from women taking birth control is rather shocking. I know someone who won't drink any water except distilled water because of that.
It is arguable whether we humans would fare any better than the chickens we eat if we (our hair or tissues) were subjected to the same testing as in the survey referred to in the OP. I too have read many articles describing how our urban water supplies are contaminated by antibiotics, birth control drugs anti-depressants (Prozac), pesticides, industrial chemicals, just about every chemical that man manufactures.

I wonder if we and our food were analyzed and compared, maybe we are just as unhealthy as our food. In fact we might even be more contaminated than our food, in which case maybe eating these contaminated chickens might even be relatively good for us.

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I still don't want it in my food.
Well that's the whole basis for the organic food movement. The real issue is that we need to take these organic concerns mainstream. If it's not good for those who are more critical and discerning than the rest of us, maybe it's not good for any of us. Maybe the organic enthusiasts are right and maybe the rest of us are killing ourselves with cheap but contaminated foods.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:11 AM   #20
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And all of a sudden the site is now shutdown.
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