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In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports on a study by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) showing that a majority of chicken samples bought in supermarkets and at fast food counters contained traces of arsenic, confirming "a decades-old farming practice of using arsenic in chicken feed (which) leads to contaminated meat."

In addition, the study shows that "organic chicken and chicken sold under the Tyson label had very low levels of arsenic or none at all," according to the paper, which wrote that "nearly three-quarters of the chicken from conventional producers contained some arsenic, while a third of chickens from premium or organic producers contained arsenic. Every sample from fast-food restaurants had at least some arsenic."

Dr. David Wallinga, the physician and IATP researcher who conducted the study, told the paper that this is "a bad news/good news story," the good news being that, according to the paper, "none of the samples contained enough arsenic to be deemed unsafe under federal guidelines." However, the paper also notes that when the federal guidelines for arsenic consumption were established , people ate half as much chicken as they do today.

Richard Lobb, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, tells the paper that "the IATP report was inaccurate because it looked only at chicken, when it's commonly known that arsenic can be found in rice, drinking water and seafood."
KC's View:
Well, maybe not "commonly known."

We suspect that if you quizzed a sampling of consumers about the issue, a vast majority of them would be surprised that there is arsenic in any of the foods and beverages that they consume.

One MNB user sent us a note yesterday complaining (tongue in cheek) that it is hard to find things to eat these days because of "benzene in my soft drinks, acrylamides in my fried potatoes, carcinogens in my grilled steaks, mercury in my seafood, and now arsenic in my chicken."

Don’t forget the acid rain residue on your salad and the mad in your cow.

We had a story yesterday about how studies suggest that it healthy for everybody – not just the overweight and obese – to reduce calorie consumption. Look at food from this perspective, and suddenly reducing calories doesn't seem like such a bad idea, if only because you also can eliminate all these chemicals from your body.

It may be safe to eat a certain amount of arsenic, but we have to say that from the consumer perspective, organic chicken and Tyson chicken is looking a lot better. Wonder if we'll see "arsenic-free" labels on poultry one of these days?