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USA / Many chickens sold in supermarkets are fed a steady diet of human drugs.

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  • Pamela Rice
    [ABC News] 3 Dirty Chicken Facts Exposed By LEAH ZERBE Rodale.com July 8, 2012--- abcnews.go.com Many chickens sold in supermarkets are fed a steady diet of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11, 2012
      [ABC News]
      3 Dirty Chicken Facts Exposed
      By LEAH ZERBE Rodale.com
      July 8, 2012---


      Many chickens sold in supermarkets are fed a steady diet of human drugs.

      Think the pink slime scandal is gross? There's even more unappetizing
      news, this time from the poultry department. By testing feathers,
      researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that "healthy chicken"
      sold in your supermarket could have very well been raised on a steady
      diet of prescription, over-the-counter, and even banned drugs.

      The full implication of people eating chicken containing these drugs
      isn't even known, although previous studies have shown carcinogenic
      arsenic fed to chickens---something approved for use in nonorganic
      chicken farming---does wind up in the meat.

      In the study, researchers tested feather meal, a by-product of chicken
      farming often used as fertilizer, because feathers accumulate important
      clues as to which drugs and chemicals chickens are exposed to during
      their short---usually about eight-week---lives.

      The 15 Grossest Things Your Eating

      The contaminated chicken report is the latest in a string of findings
      suggesting the industrial food system that supplies most supermarkets
      routinely engages in practices that could put consumers at risk.

      And this, the study's coauthor says, is just the tip of the iceberg.

      "There are a wide spectrum of public health, social justice, and
      environmental concerns that stem from the way we raise animals for
      food," explains researcher Keeve Nachman, PhD, assistant scientist and
      director of the Farming for the Future program at Johns Hopkins Center
      for a Livable Future, part of the university's Bloomberg School of
      Public Health. "These concerns range from the generation and transport
      of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics that are critical to human
      medicine, to the disproportionate concentration of animal-production
      sites and their associated air and water pollution in low-income
      communities of color, to the overwhelming energy and water inputs
      required to grow and transport feed for food animals."

      The 9 Nastiest Things in Your Supermarket


      More from Rodale.com:

      Why Woman Shouldn't Eat Farm-Raised Chicken

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      How To Eat Organically And Change The World

      Dirty Chicken Facts Exposed

      News of these dangers is going mainstream, too. In a recent New York
      Times column, Nicholas Kristof outlined the dangers of the industrial
      poultry system, saying, "I used to be skeptical of organic, but the more
      reporting I do on our food supply, the more I want my own family eating
      organic---just to be safe."

      Here's what industry is feeding your chickens, according to feather testing:

      Antidepressants, Painkillers, Allergy Meds

      Sure, the conditions in factory farms are depressing. But researchers
      were surprised to find active ingredients of human antidepressant drugs
      like Prozac in the chicken feather product tested. The mood-stabilizing
      drug was detected in U.S.-sold chicken imported from China, and is
      apparently used to reduce anxiety in chickens, since stress can slow
      growth and lead to tougher meat, according to Kristof's report.


      Nachman's team also detected caffeine in about half of the chicken
      feather samples. Caffeine is used to keep the chickens awake so they eat
      more and grow faster.

      Banned Antibiotics

      Surprise! Feather tests suggest large-scale poultry producers are using
      banned antibiotics in poultry production. "We were especially surprised
      to find residues of a number of over-the-counter drugs, including the
      active ingredients of Tylenol, Benadryl, and Prozac, but what was even
      more disturbing was finding residues of fluoroquinolone antibiotics,
      since these drugs have been banned from poultry production since 2005,"
      Nachman says.

      This class of antibiotics includes Cipro, a high-powered drug often used
      in humans when other antibiotics don't work. It was banned in the
      poultry industry about seven years ago because researchers were
      detecting that its use in farming was leading to antibiotic-resistant
      superbug strains that could potentially kill humans. To date, superbugs
      kill about 17,000 people in the U.S. a year.

      Protect Yourself and Your Family from Hard-to-Kill Supergerms

      Despite all this, the FDA has made it clear that it plans to not
      formally ban antibiotic use in food animal products, but rather ask
      farmers to voluntarily limit use.

      "Our research suggests that drugs that are illegal in poultry production
      may still be in use," Nachman says. "Given this, I have little
      confidence that a voluntary approach will have any impact on the food
      animal industry's abuse of antibiotics."

      Seek Out Undrugged Meat

      To find more humanely and naturally raised chicken, look for local
      grass-fed poultry farmers who don't use routine antibiotics or arsenic
      in feed. (LocalHarvest.org is a good resource.) If you're shopping in
      the supermarket, opt for organic---standards for organic include bans on
      the use of antibiotics, arsenic, and many other unappetizing
      chicken-farming practices.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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