Your Turkey May Have Feasted on ... Arsenic

It's a common ingredient in turkey feed
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2010 11:19 AM CST
Turk, a Heritage Turkey, roams the Louden Farm near Princeton, Kan., Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010. Turk and two hens survived the Thanksgiving holidays and will be used as breeders for next year.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

(Newser) – Here's a fun fact to throw around the Thanksgiving table: Lots of turkey farms use arsenic in their feed. Yes, that arsenic, the deadly poison, which can control stomach bugs in turkeys and fatten them up, explains NPR's Shots health blog. It can also show up in the turkey meat on the table in trace amounts. Reason for worry? The FDA says no—based on standards developed in the 1950s.

"But since then, there's been an enormous amount of research on the human health effects from arsenic exposure," says a Johns Hopkins expert on the subject. That includes an EPA discovery that arsenic's cancer-causing potential is 17 times more potent than previously believed. Therefore, "it seems irresponsible to rely on FDA's tolerances to protect public health," he says. Bon appetit.

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