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


Why Don't Grocery Store Potatoes Sprout?

Why don’t grocery store potatoes sprout and then rot?

If you have ever grown a potato in your backyard garden, you know for sure that if potatoes are not stored in a cold, dark place, they immediately sprout -- huge, long sprouts. Sprouting soon turns them soft, and they begin to rot.

So here is the question: If homegrown potatoes sprout in light or warmth, why are the potatoes in the grocery store not sprouting the same giant sprouts? (Okay -- some grocery store potatoes do sometimes send out pathetic sprouts when they are old -- nothing like real garden potatoes sprouts, if you’ve ever seen them).

My research has shown two answers. First, grocery store potatoes are treated with a chemical called “Clorpropham”. This chemical is also sold under the names Beet-Kleen, Bud Nip, Chloro IPC, CIPC, Furloe, Sprout Nip, Spud-Nic, Taterpex, Triherbide-CIPC and Unicrop CIPC.

Second, the potatoes are exposed to so-called “low level” nuclear radiation. This is called irradiation.

Which leads to more questions. First, did you know your grocery store potatoes were treated with a chemical, or radiation, or both? Not likely -- because by federal law, potato sellers are not required to reveal this information. You read that right -- it is legal under federal law for potato growers and sellers to keep silent about the fact that the potatoes are treated with a chemical, or radiation, or both.

Is the chemical safe? A 1993 Cornell University study says this: “Chlorpropham is moderately toxic by ingestion. It may cause irritation of the eyes or skin. Symptoms of poisoning in laboratory animals have included listlessness, incoordination, nose bleeds, protruding eyes, bloody tears, difficulty in breathing, prostration, inability to urinate, high fevers, and death. Autopsies of animals have shown inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining, congestion of the brain, lungs and other organs, and degenerative changes in the kidneys and liver. Chronic exposure of laboratory animals has caused retarded growth, increased liver, kidney and spleen weights, congestion of the spleen and death. Long-term exposure to chlorpropham may cause adverse reproductive effects. Chlorpropham may cross the placenta.”


Here is a direct link to the Cornell University study:


Here is a direct link to a University of Idaho study showing that potato growers, hoping to capture the “organic” market, are testing other ways of prohibiting sprouting, including treating potatoes with hydrogen peroxide because “The application of hydrogen peroxide to organic produce
is also allowed by the National Organic Program standards.”


Irradiation has its own problems. First, it damages the nutrients and vitamins naturally found in vegetables, and second, it turns pesticides on vegetables into new chemicals. And once again, federal law says neither the grocery store nor the grower has to tell you, the shopper, that your food has been irradiated. According to federal law, irradiated food (most vegetables in the grocery store are irradiated) can legally be labeled organic -- so even if you are buying in the organic section, your food is irradiated.  Here is a link with more information:


I’m late in leaving to give a speech this morning on this very subject. I’ll try to write more about this later. 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