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Queens Chronicle

Gianaris seeks to halt feed additive

Seeks ban of drugs with arsenic

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 10:51 am, Thu May 31, 2012.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) announced Monday he has proposed a ban of Roxarsone (3-Nitro) and other drugs containing arsenic in chicken feed.

Roxarsone aids in making the appearance of poultry pinker because it causes the chicken’s blood vessels to grow unnaturally larger. The additive has been linked to several diseases, including cancer.

“This is a known cancer-causing agent that has no business being in our system,” Gianaris said.

He also wrote a letter to the United States Food and Drug Administration requesting the nationwide ban of the use of drugs containing arsenic in chicken feed.

Last June, the FDA said on its website the levels of Roxarsone found in chicken feed were so low that they did not pose a health risk. It reported last August that organic arsenic, which is found in Roxarsone, was transforming to the more harmful, inorganic arsenic. The FDA found that the chickens treated with Roxarsone, compared to those that were not, had higher levels of inorganic arsenic in their livers.

Alpharma, a company under Pfizer Animal Health, voluntarily stopped the sale of Roxarsone, but state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) said that is not enough.

“We do ban other carcinogens in bird feed and this should just be added to the list,” Stavisky said. “Chicken soup will taste very good without it.”

After reading the bill, Stavisky said she is going to cosponsor it.

Sandra DeFeo, executive director of the Humane Society of New York, said there is no benefit for having the additive.

“We’re in support of it [the bill] because we want a better living quality for animals and people.”

Gianaris said he wants people to feel confident in the food they consume.

“This is important to public safety — to public health.”

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