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June 26, 2013

Is Your Kosher Chicken Safe To Eat? Probably Not

Chicken CartoonIs your kosher chicken safe to eat? Based on a new study by researchers from Johns Hopkins, the answer is that, most likely, your chicken – kosher or non-kosher – is not safe to eat. Here's why.

 

 

According to a new Johns Hopkins study, inorganic arsenic causes cancer, and 88% of chickens raised in the US are fed arsenic-based drugs and have very high levels of inorganic arsenic in their meat, 2 to 3 times higher than the FDA says is safe:

"…Conventional, antibiotic-free, and USDA Organic chicken samples were purchased from 10 U.S. metropolitan areas between December 2010 and June 2011, when an arsenic-based drug then manufactured by Pfizer and known as roxarsone was readily available to poultry companies that wished to add it to their feed. In addition to inorganic arsenic, the researchers were able to identify residual roxarsone in the meat they studied; in the meat where roxarsone was detected, levels of inorganic arsenic were four times higher than the levels in USDA Organic chicken (in which roxarsone and other arsenicals are prohibited from use).

"Arsenic-based drugs have been used in poultry production for decades. Arsenical drugs are approved to make poultry grow faster and improve the pigmentation of the meat. The drugs are also approved to treat and prevent parasites in poultry. In 2010, industry representatives estimated that 88 percent of the roughly nine billion chickens raised for human consumption in the U.S. received roxarsone. In July 2011, Pfizer voluntarily removed roxarsone from the U.S. market, but the company may sell the drug overseas and could resume marketing it in the U.S. at any time.  Pfizer still domestically markets the arsenical drug nitarsone, which is chemically similar to roxarsone.  Currently in the U.S., there is no federal law prohibiting the sale or use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry feed. (In January, Maryland became the first U.S. state to ban the use of most arsenicals in chicken feed.)…"

I asked Empire's spokesman if Empire used Roxarsone before it was pulled from the market.  He told me he did not know. I asked him to check and let me know. Ten days have passed with no answer.

I asked the Agri Star spokesperson who pushed the Agri Star meat donation to Oklahoma tornado victims story if Agri Star or its suppliers uses any arsenic-based drugs. More than a week has passed with no answer.

I asked Naftali Hanau of Grow and behold Foods the same question. He said his suppliers don't use arsenic-based drugs. I asked him for a certified third-party audit or other proof and he told that Grow and Behold checks the farms and knows the farmers personally.

And that might be okay – or it might not be okay.

Why?

In 2011 when Grow and Behold started slaughtering cattle, I asked Hanau where the cattle were being slaughtered. He wouldn't answer the question, claiming a need for secrecy.

I asked the third-party audit question with regard to humane raising and handling of the animals, and he said he audited the farm(s) himself and knew what he was doing because he had worked on farms for years.

Grow and Behold was founded in the wake of the various Agriprocessors scandals and as a type of response to them, and i found Hanau's attitude and his answers wanting.

So I asked him one more question: how much money do the non-Jewish workers at the slaughterhouse where your cattle are slaughtered make per hour? Are they unionized? Does they get health insurance and, if they do, what is their copay?

Hanau did not know the answers to any of those questions and had to ask the company to find out. (Answers: $14 per hour, unionized amount of health insurance copay not given.)

Apparently for Hanau, that the beef was grass-fed beef was far more important than how human beings producing it were being treated.

So when you buy Grow and Behold products, you do so because you trust Hanau – not because there is any valid third-party certification or audit.

I think it is very likely Hanau's chicken is grown without any arsenic-based drugs, and despite his poor attitude, I'm inclined to trust him.

As for the other kosher chicken producers and the non-kosher chicken producers, except for those certified organic you should presume arsenic-based drugs were used. And what you eat, you eat at your own peril.

Will the OU and other kosher supervisors now ban arsenic-based drugs? The study has been public for a month now and so far, the none of these kosher supervisors have banned the drugs – even though halakha says that a sakana (danger to life and health) supersedes basic halakha and is always judged stringently, meaning that according to halakha, these drugs should have been banned by the OU, etc., last month – but they were not.

____________________________

Update 6-28-2013 5:56 pm CDT – Empire now tells me that it does not use any arsenic-based drugs in its poultry feed or in any other way. That information and more updates are in my new post, which you can read here.

____________________________

The full Johns Hopkins press release:

Poultry Drug Increases Levels of Toxic Arsenic in Chicken Meat
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

Chickens likely raised with arsenic-based drugs result in chicken meat that has higher levels of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, according to a new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

This is the first study to show concentrations of specific forms of arsenic (e.g., inorganic arsenic versus other forms) in retail chicken meat, and the first to compare those concentrations according to whether or not the poultry was raised with arsenical drugs. The findings provide evidence that arsenical use in chickens poses public health risks and indicate that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for regulating animal drugs, should ban arsenicals. The study was published online today in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Conventional, antibiotic-free, and USDA Organic chicken samples were purchased from 10 U.S. metropolitan areas between December 2010 and June 2011, when an arsenic-based drug then manufactured by Pfizer and known as roxarsone was readily available to poultry companies that wished to add it to their feed. In addition to inorganic arsenic, the researchers were able to identify residual roxarsone in the meat they studied; in the meat where roxarsone was detected, levels of inorganic arsenic were four times higher than the levels in USDA Organic chicken (in which roxarsone and other arsenicals are prohibited from use).

Arsenic-based drugs have been used in poultry production for decades. Arsenical drugs are approved to make poultry grow faster and improve the pigmentation of the meat. The drugs are also approved to treat and prevent parasites in poultry. In 2010, industry representatives estimated that 88 percent of the roughly nine billion chickens raised for human consumption in the U.S. received roxarsone. In July 2011, Pfizer voluntarily removed roxarsone from the U.S. market, but the company may sell the drug overseas and could resume marketing it in the U.S. at any time.  Pfizer still domestically markets the arsenical drug nitarsone, which is chemically similar to roxarsone.  Currently in the U.S., there is no federal law prohibiting the sale or use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry feed. (In January, Maryland became the first U.S. state to ban the use of most arsenicals in chicken feed.)

Lead author Keeve Nachman, PhD, said, “The suspension of roxarsone sales is a good thing in the short term, but it isn’t a real solution. Hopefully this study will persuade FDA to ban the drug and permanently keep it off the market.”

Chronic inorganic arsenic exposure has been shown to cause lung, bladder and skin cancers and has been associated with other conditions, as well, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive deficits, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, at least 75 percent of Americans regularly eat chicken.

The FDA has not established safety standards for inorganic arsenic in foods, although the agency did, for a brief time in 2011, suggest that concentrations should be well below 1 microgram per kilogram of meat. The levels of inorganic arsenic discovered in the meat where roxarsone was found were two and three times greater than that level.

Another significant finding of the study is that when roxarsone was present in raw meat, cooking decreased the levels of roxarsone and increased the levels of inorganic arsenic.

The authors of the study are Keeve E. Nachman, PhD, Patrick A. Baron, MHS, Georg Raber, PhD, Kevin A. Francesconi, PhD, Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD, and David C. Love, PhD.

Comments

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well, well, well,
ok no more chicken for me then. thank you for this information.
but uh, eggs too?
i guess so.
there goes breakfast and dinner.
just kidding.
i can find something else to eat GLADLY.

You must have missed this part:

"The researchers said they tested meat samples that were gathered from December 2010 to June 2011 — before the sale of roxarsone was suspended — because they wanted to examine whether the drug led to increased levels of inorganic arsenic.

A spokeswoman for the company that sells the drug, Zoetis, said sales in the United States “remain suspended pending the ongoing evaluation of relevant scientific data regarding the use of this product in poultry.” She said that the company no longer manufactures the drug, and that it is selling down remaining stock in markets that still permit it, all of them in Latin America.

A spokesman for the F.D.A. said in an e-mail that the company “has assured FDA that it will not begin marketing the drug again in the United States without first consulting with the agency.”

Personally, I am all for consumer protection, but there is actually a lot more of this drug in rice. It's also been suspended. However, if it were truly poisonous, wouldn't you have seen a LOT of sick people who ate chicken and/or rice for years?

Where are these diagnoses? Perhaps they don't exist?

lfit99,

in all due respect, there are not only SO many people with cancer, and you're right about the white rice, but there are so many people who don't even know they have cancer.
the most important thing is no western medicine. it's the treatment
that will kill you. only eastern medicine. doesn't treat the symptom but goes for the cause.
i find your comment: "However, if it were truly poisonous, wouldn't you have seen a LOT of sick people who ate chicken and/or rice for years" difficult to digest (no pun intended)
THERE ARE SO MANY SICK PEOPLE. OMG
btw...brown rice is very very good for drawing radiation out of one's body.

Even kosher Hebrew National hotdogs have sodium nitrate/nitrite, a cancer causing agent, in them. Read the labels of the food you are buying and decide for yourself what you want to eat. Kosher doesn't necessarily mean healthy.

"Posted by: Ifti99 | June 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM"

Sigh.

Process: Organic chicken has much LESS arsenic than non-organic, just as Basmati rice has much less arsenic than other rice.

Therefore, if you hold that halakha still allows you to eat rice or chicken, you should under halakha make sure to eat only organic chicken and Basmati rice.

It's Halakha 101.

Too bad your yeshiva didn't teach you properly.

I should add this from a NY Times blogger:

"…extensive testing by the Consumers Union of many brands of rice and rice products shows that some products are considerably lower in arsenic than others. White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, which together account for 76 percent of the rice grown in the United States, was considerably higher in arsenic than rice grown in California; this is probably linked to the fact that these states are also cotton-producing states that until recently permitted pesticides with high levels of arsenic to combat the boll weevil.…

"The Consumers Union is putting pressure on regulators to phase out the use of pesticides containing arsenic, to ban the use of arsenic-laden manure as fertilizer and to prohibit the feeding of arsenic-containing drugs and animal byproducts to animals. But meanwhile, what is a brown rice lover like me to do? Across the board, brown rice is higher in arsenic levels than white rice, because the residues tend to concentrate in the outer shell of the grain.

"Consumer Reports does not urge us to go cold turkey, but rather to limit our intake to one serving of rice (or other rice products) per week for children and pregnant women and two servings for other adults. A serving is based on one-fourth cup of uncooked rice (which is about half a cup of cooked brown rice and about three-fourths cup to one cup cooked basmati.…"

So?

What should people do? Ignore the arsenic? Or limit eating products with high arsenic levels?

Or is this question too difficult for you to answer?

ruthie-

About 10 years ago, a nutritionist told me that eggs have arsenic. He said that arsenic hasten the growth of chickens.

As I have stated in the past, a kosher diet is the least healthy of just about everything out there. Kosher providers are using equipment and manufacturing practices that are very much out of date. The food is loaded with preservatives and chemicals in order for it's convenience level to be increased. The Poultry and Beef providers are using hormones to increase yield that just skirts many federal laws. One is allowed to import meat for religious reasons and that beef is not subject to local laws, therefore it can be loaded with chemicals, hormones and preservatives that under normal circumstances may be illegal. Yet the rabbis say the Kosher diet is the best for you. No, the Kosher diet is best for the Kosher providers.

oh!
oh!
i like my poached eggs on multi grain bread...for breakfast.
oh, hmmm....
i will have to investigate this further.
many thanks for the info. bas melech

Perhaps I am missing something here, but why would kosher chickens be any more suseptable to this than non-kosher chickens?

"As for the other kosher chicken producers and the non-kosher chicken producers, except for those certified organic you should presume arsenic-based drugs were used. And what you eat, you eat at your own peril."

Wrong. Unless they still have leftover product from when Pfizer Animal Helath (now Zoetis)stopped selling the product 2 years ago, absolutely no one in the USA is using arsenic based products in chickens. While according to Hopkins Zoetis could start selling at any time, they would have to notify the FDA prior to doing so. As they have not done so you can rest assure there is none in you domestically produced poultry. For what its worth, the typical broiler in this country lives for about 6 weeks, so there should be no concern whatsoever.

OK - I did a dive into this, because I do eat a lot of chicken (2 meals a week) at my house. The John Hopkins study DOES follw what Shmarya has laid out above, but also indicates that most of the inorganic arsenic congregates in chicken livers. Further, it quantifies that the overall risk translates into a small increase in cancer risk over a lifetime of eating chicken to be around 124 annual deaths in the USA due to bladder and lung cancer for ALL eaters of chicken. I would have to assume that the subset that eats kosher chicken represents maybe................one of those 124?

The study goes on to say that the conventional chicken breasts broken down in their study contained levels of inorganic arsenic of about 2 parts per billion, while organic/kosher chicken only contained about one half part per billion. Under federal standards anything below 500 parts per billion is allowable - and that also under federal guidelines, any chicken that has had been fed grain containing nitarsone or roxarsone must to be seperated from that feed (I assume still fed something else) for 7 days prior to slaughter.

Bottom line for me: IS chicken containing levels of inorganic arsenic less healthy than chicken that does not? Yes. Is the risk at a level I can live with - yes. Does the data indicate that levels of inorganic arsenic is actually less in organic and kosher chicken than it is in "main stream" chicken - again, yes.

Shmarya - greatly appreciate you pressing the people who process our food for these answers, and should they ever actually answer you - I would be most curious as to what it is they have to say.

Shmarya - Am I wrong in assuming this is your way of getting us all to observe the meat fast during the three weeks?

rocky -

much of the fear surrounding nitrites is unwarranted. while people who eat a lot of processed meats high in nitrites have a higher rate of cancer, its doubtful the nitrites are to blame.

" In 1981, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed the scientific literature and found no link between nitrates or nitrites and human cancers, or evidence to even suggest that they’re carcinogenic. Since then, more than 50 studies and multiple international scientific bodies have investigated a possible link between nitrates and cancers and mortality in humans and found no association.

What may be more surprising to learn is that scientific evidence has been building for years that nitrates are actually good for us, that nitrite is produced by our own body in greater amounts than is eaten in food, and that it has a number of essential biological functions, including in healthy immune and cardiovascular systems. Nitrite is appearing so beneficial, it’s even being studied as potential treatments for health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, sickle cell disease and circulatory problems.....arugula 4,677 ppm

basil 2,292 ppm

butterhead lettuce 2,026 ppm

beets 1,279 ppm

celery 1,103 ppm

spinach 1,066 ppm

pumpkin 874 ppm

This compares to standard hotdogs or processed meats with average nitrite levels of 10 ppm.
"
\http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-banning-hotdogs-and-bacon-make.html

vitamin C , an antioxidant, inhibits nitrosamine formation , so its prob a good idea to drink some OJ or take a vitamin C pill with your salami and hot dogs. most manufacturers already include it in the meat, so enjoy your franks.

"Consumer Reports does not urge us to go cold turkey..."

Is this your way of telling us that turkeys suffer from the same problems as chickens?

"Wrong. Unless they still have leftover product from when Pfizer Animal Helath (now Zoetis)stopped selling the product 2 years ago, absolutely no one in the USA is using arsenic based products in chickens. While according to Hopkins Zoetis could start selling at any time, they would have to notify the FDA prior to doing so. As they have not done so you can rest assure there is none in you domestically produced poultry. For what its worth, the typical broiler in this country lives for about 6 weeks, so there should be no concern whatsoever.

Posted by: nottinghill | June 26, 2013 at 02:52 PM "

Idiot.

The producers are using other arsenic-based drugs.

Are you really this stupid? Is your reading comprehension really this poor?

"OK - I did a dive into this, because I do eat a lot of chicken (2 meals a week) at my house. The John Hopkins study DOES follw what Shmarya has laid out above, but also indicates that most of the inorganic arsenic congregates in chicken livers. Further, it quantifies that the overall risk translates into a small increase in cancer risk over a lifetime of eating chicken to be around 124 annual deaths in the USA due to bladder and lung cancer for ALL eaters of chicken. I would have to assume that the subset that eats kosher chicken represents maybe................one of those 124?"


Here is what the study ACTUALLY found:

"Assuming lifetime exposure and a proposed cancer slope factor of 25.7 (mg kgBW-1 day-1)-1, this could result in 3.7 extra lifetime bladder and lung cancer cases per 100,000 exposed-persons."

It also noted other negative impacts on health, including increased diabetes levels.

And I'll bet you, if kosher birds had been tested as a separate category, they would have tested higher because, due the extra time involved in the kill method, kosher producers have a very strong financial incentive to get more weight per bird faster than other producers do.

Which works out to 124 cases a year..... Quoted straight from the Hopkins report.

You are correct that other arsenic based drugs are being used.

As to kosher producers being more likely......not a clue. Outside Empire, most don't raise their own birds around here.

Idiot.

The producers are using other arsenic-based drugs.

Are you really this stupid? Is your reading comprehension really this poor?

Posted by: Shmarya Rosenberg | June 26, 2013 at 04:07 PM

Wow, calling me an idiot, that's harsh. I guess technically you are right that other products exist that could sell into the poultry industry, but they don't. Only 1 aresenical product is currently on the market Histostat (nitrasone). It is only indicated for use in turkeys and breeders for the treatment of blackhead disease. As you are an expert in this are you no doubt know that blackhead is much more prevalent in turkeys than in breeders, and since it does not have a growth promotant claim it is essentially boxed out of the breeder market. The other 2 aresenical with NADA's- arsanilic acid and carbarsone are, per the FDA, not currently marketed:
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ProductSafetyInformation/ucm258313.htm

Bottom line is there is no arsenical feed in your chickens today (though the same can't be said for turkeys).

Idiot.

From the FDA on the very link you provided:

"Are there animal drugs approved with arsenic in them?

Yes. 3-Nitro® (Roxarsone) was the first arsenic-based product approved for use in animal feed and is currently the most commonly used arsenic-based animal drug. Other arsenic-based drugs that are approved for use in food-producing animals (poultry and swine) include nitarsone, arsanilic acid, and carbarsone. *****Current data indicate that only the 3-Nitro® and nitarsone products are being marketed.****** These drugs all have forms of organic arsenic--the form of arsenic that is less toxic and not carcinogenic--as their active ingredient."

Except Johns Hopkins proved that is essentially false.

The FDA continues:

"What is FDA doing as a result of this study?

FDA advised Pfizer of the study findings and the agency concerns. The company decided to voluntarily initiate a plan to suspend sale of the product [Roxarsone] and to facilitate an orderly process for suspending use of 3-Nitro® (Roxarsone). This plan provides for maintained sales of the product for 30 days (from date of this announcement) before suspension. Maintaining sales for this period will not pose a risk to human health and will provide time for animal producers to identify and transition to other treatment strategies and will help assure that animal health and welfare needs are met. In conjunction with voluntary suspension of the product, the company is working with FDA to examine all relevant scientific data regarding the use of this product in animals."

Nitarsone is still on the market and is used in poultry. When I asked Empire if it used any arsenic-based drugs now it did not answer, even though it had just told me that Roxarsone was off the market.

That non-answer is an answer just as Agri Star's non-answer is an answer.

And you are a fool.

Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die.

Wow, calling me an idiot again. Not sure why you insist on all the name calling - would think you would be able to argue over the substance of a matter without getting personal. The quote you provided from the FDA does not say that nitarsone is being marketed to chickens. The fact is that it is not sold into chickens unless they have blackhead disease, which is quite rare. It does not make economic sense for a chicken producer to use Nitarsone due to its lack of cross clearances. It is, however sold into turkeys (as I said before).

Now, I am sure you will retort to this again with name calling such as fool, idiot, etc. I guess it plays well to your audience. I happen to probably know a little bit more about this area than you do as I am in the industry. Why don't you contact Hopkins and ask them how much nitrasone they estimate is used in chickens?

I'll try this one more time.

1) The FDA has said nothing in response to the Johns Hopkins study that in any way indicates that Nitarsone is not used in chickens or is rarely used in chickens.

2. Empire and Agri Star had every opportunity to say they don't use Nitarsone in chickens or only use it very rarely – but they did not.

3. Johns Hopkins does not say that Nitarsone use in chickens is rare.

4. You have brought no proof that Nitarsone use in chickens is rare.


If this is too difficult for you to grasp, seek the professional help you need.

Hanau/G&B's beef is not grass-fed.

It's "pastured" (see the "About" section on their homepage), which means it may spend some time on grass, but is also fed corn and other grains.

There's only one producer of grass-fed domestic kosher meat as far as I know, and that's KOL Foods (www.kolfoods.com).

Thank you for not calling me an idiot.

I notice a pattern here of you thinking that someone's lack of response means they are doing what you are alleging. The FDA does not have to answer to Hopkins and similarly Empire and Agri Star owe you nothing in terms of a response. You are correct that I have brought no proof that Nitarsone is not used extensively in poultry - nor have you brought proof that it is used extensively. I bring industry knowledge - you bring conjecture and a lack of trust of the food industry. How about trying this on for size - the fact that the FDA did not ask Pfizer to remove it (as they did roxarsone) - does that tell you that they are not as concerned about it.

If you are truly interested in getting to the truth of the matter I would again suggest that you contact Hopkins (whom you seem to trust) and ask them if they believe Nitarsone is used extensively in the chicken industry.

You seem to have a problem with being wrong (or at the least being challenged). I truly wish you luck in figuring out how to better cope.

I'll go back to calling you an idiot – which you clearly are.

No normal person would tell me that we don't use Roxarsone because it was removed from the market and then refuse to say if Nitarsone is used or not. But that is what Empire did.

Agri Star, which previously approached me to push a donation story I subsequently covered – and which they thanked me for – did not answer me at all.

The FDA could easily have said that Nitarsone has very limited use in chicken – but it did not do that.

And you have brought no proof.


If you don't grasp why you – an anonymous blog commenter, no less – are not be believed, ask a friend or your physician.

Shmarya, Thank you for posting this important study. Without your blog, I never would have heard about this.

Jeez, while its tough to overcome the overwhelming presumption created when someone who once thanked you subsequently ignores you, how's this for evidence that there is no arsenic in today's chickens ...

From the National Chicken Council:

Chickens in the United States produced for meat, known as broilers, are no longer given feed additives that contain arsenicals. Some broiler flocks used to be given feed that contained a product called Roxarsone, which included safe levels of organic arsenic. Even though the science shows that such low levels of arsenic do not harm chickens or the people eating them, this product was removed from the market in June, 2011 and is no longer used in raising broilers in the U.S. No other feed additives containing arsenic are currently fed to broilers in the U.S.

http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/ncc-responds-to-misleading-johns-hopkins-study-says-arsenicals-no-longer-fed-to-broilers/

Enjoy your humble pie (arsenic free of course).

To say the statement from the National Chicken Council is misleading about the details of the study is, I'd say, an understatement.

And I would add that you could have cited this misleading press release much earlier in support of your claim – but you did not do so.

I would argue that the misleading press release belongs exclusively to Hopkins. Trumpeting a scare relative to chicken based on a feed product (or type of product) that THEY KNOW is no longer fed is the same as coming out with a press release that people should stop using floor tiles because at one point they were manufactured with asbestos.

The Hopkins release was needlessly inflammatory and frankly irrelevant. Your ire should be directed to them for misleading you not for the NCC (or me) for correcting the error.

Oh, please.

The Chicken Council claims the levels are low and says rice has far more arsenic than chicken, but does not acknowledge that a significant amount of the arsenic in rice comes from runoff from chicken farms. It also fails to acknowledge that the FDA threshold levels for arsenic were set in the 1940s, and are long overdue to be lowered. (They haven't been in part due to the lobbying of…the National Chicken Council.)


And then we have the claim from Roxersone's and Nitarsone's maker, Zoetis, that scientific data supports Nitarsone's safety. But that is a tenuous claim, at best.

The arsenic-based drugs should have been banned years ago, and the threshold level lowered so less arsenic in food was deemed safe.

But the FDA didn't do it.

Maybe now it will.

I disagree with you with regard to the banning of Nitarsone (and no I don't work for Zoetis or have any skin in the fight). To add one more element to consider, to my knowledge, at least when it comes to turkey's, Nitarsone is the only proven treatment for blackhead disease - a truly devastating and deadly disease. The CVM's mandate is to ensure both human health and animal welfare. Thus the plight of the turkey needs to be included in any analysis.

Irrespective of whether you agree about whether arsenic-based drugs serve any useful purpose, I would think that at this point you would acknowledge that your headline (and sub headline) for this blog piece is inaccurate.

Please.

If Empire, Agri Star and other brands had stated that they do not use arsenic-based drugs, you'd have a point.

But as I've repeatedly pointed out, they have not done that even though they have been asked – repeatedly in some cases.

Thanks for these posts. Just one point you did not make explicitly: Grow and Behold's beef is not "grass-fed," which they are less than forthcoming about. If you read Grow & Behold's standards on their website, their farmers finish their cattle on grain. The language they use seems designed to try to obscure this fact ("may be finished on a mixed diet of grass, hay and grains"), but the fact that the cattle are finished with grain is clear. Feeding cattle on pasture & then finishing them on grain is the conventional method which is the way 95% of cattle in the US are raised. G & B is careful to call it "pastured" which is not a regulated term since it would be illegal to call it grass-fed, but I imagine most customers made the same mistake that you did.

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