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To minimize human exposure, arsenic may be banned in animal feed
“The fact that arsenic-a known and powerful carcinogen-in these feed additives leads to arsenic residue in chicken is now well known,” said CFS Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell. “FDA’s failure to investigate the mounting evidence that these compounds are unsafe is a breach of public trust, and the use of arsenic-containing compounds in food animal production is a needless and dangerous risk to human health.”
“Arsenic can be poisonous. Its use in animal feed, therefore, is unnecessarily risky and has not been shown to be safe given the latest science,” said Dr. David Wallinga, director of the food and health program of IATP. “To best protect public health, all avoidable exposures to arsenic should be eliminated. FDA can and should act,” he said.
The most commonly used arsenic-containing compound in chicken feed since the 1940s is roxarsone, and according to a paper entitled “Roxarsone in Natural Water Systems,” presented at a US Geological Survey (USGS) proceedings in 1999, very little roxarsone is retained in chicken meat-less than the FDA limit of 0.5 parts per million (ppm). Roxarsone is an organic compound, and by itself is not thought to be as dangerous as inorganic arsenic compounds.
According to the USGS paper, most of the roxarsone ingested in chickens is excreted unchanged. However, the degradation product (3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid) has been detected in the urine of hens fed roxarsone. This and other degradation products eventually break down into dangerous inorganic arsenic compounds such as AsO4-3 (arsenate ion). When chicken litter is spread on cropland and further degradation occurs, the inorganic arsenic contaminates soils and can find its way into ground water.
According to 2007 American Chemical Society research entitled “Arsenic in Chicken Production,” another source of inorganic arsenic contamination stems from the production of fertilizer pellets made from contaminated chicken litter, which is used on home gardens and lawns. Arsenic from these pellets can contaminate local water systems and vegetables grown with the pellets, and the arsenic dust from the pellets is hazardous if inhaled.
While any residual level of inorganic arsenic in food or drink is not considered safe, the EPA ruled in 2006 that public water supplies must test and maintain their water at concentrations less than 10 parts per billion (ppb), with a goal being 0 ppm. Random chicken meat samples from
According to the ACS research, banning roxarsone altogether from chicken feed will not prevent poultry protein products from containing trace levels of arsenic because poultry often consume water from contaminated wells, and heavy use of arsenical pesticides used in past cotton cultivation have contaminated the ground.
In an exclusive interview with Food Engineering, Wallinga indicated that the conversion of organic arsenic into inorganic arsenic occurs via bacteria in the soil, or bacteria living in the gut-either chicken or human. The degree to which the conversion occurs is unknown. Wallinga says, “We know this [conversion process] does and can occur, and we also know that the use of the roxarsone is completely unnecessary for growing chickens.”
Wallinga also suggests that new information shows organic arsenic may be directly toxic in ways previously unknown-certainly not in the 1940s when FDA first approved roxarsone’s use in chicken feed. One study found that roxarsone exposure could induce angiogenesis, the central process of tumor formation.
Whether or not the samples in Wallinga’s study indicate the residual levels of arsenic in the sampled chicken are organic or inorganic, the question is moot. If roxarsone is banned, then one source of arsenic exposure is eliminated.For more information, visit IATP.
Water index offers measure of corporate risks and opportunities
The index will aggregate 20 weighted factors capturing water availability, regulations, water quality and issues related to reputation. It will also allow companies and investors to transparently and adequately capture the various components of water-related risk and will enable business leaders to make more well-informed investment decisions.
The index will draw upon publicly available data regarding physical scarcity and water quality, overlaying important factors including the regulatory regime plus issues related to social aspects and reputation. The latter issues have not previously been incorporated into water risk measurement. Ultimately, this mapping tool will allow users to combine and compare different components of water risk assessment.
“In many regions around the world, water scarcity from climate change and pollution is starting to impact a company’s performance, yet few analysts account for water-related risks,” says WRI President Jonathan Lash. The institute hopes that investors will begin ‘pricing in’ these under-appreciated risks, driving investments to support more hydrologically-efficient designs and technologies.”
From the perspective of GE and Goldman Sachs, the water index will allow each company to better advise customers and clients on water-related risks and opportunities.For more information, visit World Resources Institute.
Study to wirelessly monitor leafy greens' temperature in transit
The project, funded by USDA under the CSREES National Food Safety Initiative Program (NIFSI), aims to identify a series of pre-and post-harvest E. coli intervention strategies for fresh-cut lettuce and spinach to aid in developing a highly-integrated risk assessment model for E. coli in these products. Data collected by wireless sensor technology will be used to develop and validate a predictive mathematical model for changes in E. coli growth and survival that are likely to occur during commercial distribution of these products throughout the supply chain.
The information will be critical for establishing best handling practices and scientifically based “best used by” dates to identify suspect produce prior to consumption, which will reduce the risk of food-borne illness.For more information, visit Sensor Wireless.
Organic livestock operation decertified by USDA
The decision also states the importance of records and making them available to the NOP upon request, by acknowledging that operating as an organic operation is a privilege rather than a right.“Sound recordkeeping and being able to produce those records ensure transparency and compliance to the standards required to produce organic products,” said Rayne Pegg, administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, which oversees the NOP. “Consumers must have confidence in the USDA organic label, and ensuring that all certified operations are complying with the NOP regulations is priority number one-and that means being able to examine operations records.”
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