Why Is Arsenic in Grocery Store Chicken?

A few hours ago, the Washington Post reported that Maryland is set to become the first state in the U.S. to ban arsenic in grocery store chicken. Here is the full article.

My bestselling book, The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers, was the first book in the nation to address this issue, I believe. And everywhere I go, I try to mention the arsenic in chicken issue and people are stunned they have never heard anything about this. As I report in my book, Utah has the dubious distinction of being the first state in the nation to document arsenic poisoning in children thanks to arsenic in eggs. This new article from the Washington Post sheds further light on this troubling issue.

Everywhere I go to speak, I am telling people that we are supposed to be the land of the free, and yet, we have very little freedom to choose health, because the real ingredients of our food are being kept a secret from us. Don't believe me? Just try to find arsenic on the label of the chicken breasts, or eggs, that you buy at the grocery store. You won't find it.

Yet it all has arsenic in it.

“It’s a known human carcinogen," quotes the Washington Post. "If you know something is poison, you don’t increase people’s exposure to it.”

Rather than being the home of the free, you now have to be brave just to eat at the grocery store. Because you are being poisoned. And thousands of people are dying, every year, from eating food from the grocery store -- remember the listeria-tainted cantaloupes?

Whether or not you care about chemicals in your food, or irradiation of your vegetables, but surely we can all agree on this -- it is immoral and unethical to sell things with hidden ingredients.  If you buy food from a grocery store, the store and the producers have an obligation to tell the truth about what they are selling us, and then let WE, THE BUYERS, decide what we want to buy. If food has been directly treated with a chemical, or radiation, or the field or the water was treated, this information should be labeled so that we can decide what we want to buy and what we want to eat.

So, the original question of this post was this: why is there arsenic in grocery story chicken? The Washington Post article does not directly address this question. But the answer is simple. When you shove thousands of chickens into a tiny space to raise them, they are filthy, disease-ridden animals. Filth and disease is the only option for mass-producing chickens in cages. So the chickens are very sick, and must be pumped full of drugs, which include arsenic, in order to be kept alive -- not necessarily health, just alive -- so they can make eggs or be sent to the grocery store.

Again, this is not about animal rights necessarily. It is about the human right to know what we are buying when we buy food from the grocery store. If there is more than just "chicken" in our chicken -- drugs and inorganic arsenic, for example -- why are we being told?


Because of money. Someone, somewhere, is living in fear that if the truth is known, they will lose money. With good cause. Two weeks ago, the plants that used to make "pink slime" -- connective tissue spun in a centrifuge and then sprayed with ammonia and mixed into ground beef in grocery stores. And this went on for years without anyone ever being told. Until ABC's national news team broke the story, and people stopped buying beef out of sheer disgust.

We want to know what we are eating when we buy food at the grocery store. We deserve to know. I am proud to have been the first to bring national attention to the issue of arsenic in chickens in my book. 
I’ll be giving a couple of speeches on this subject to health groups this week. If you would like more information about some of the reasons to consider growing your own real food, consider taking a look at my books -- my newest book, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast, and my national besteseller, The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers. -Caleb


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