Maryland Becomes First State to Ban Arsenic in Chicken Feed | Food & Water Watch
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May 23rd, 2012

Maryland Becomes First State to Ban Arsenic in Chicken Feed

By Miranda Carter

Victory in Maryland, Arsenic is Banned from Chicken

From left to right: Jorge Aguilar, Food & Water Watch; Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper; Drew Koslow, Choptank Riverkeeper; Miranda Carter, Food & Water Watch

Yesterday, Maryland became the first state in the nation to ban the use of arsenic in chicken production!


Given the enormous power of our opponents, like the big chicken industry and pharmaceutical companies who fought against us for three years, this victory is a real testament to the power of grassroots organizing.
 Food & Water Watch volunteers did incredible work. In 2012 alone, we:

  • signed 60 organizations, businesses, and restaurants on to a coalition
  • knocked on 1,018 doors in a key Baltimore district
  • held a rally in Baltimore with 25 volunteers (see photo above) • made 1,395 phone calls to legislators across the state
  • sent 2,239 individual messages to legislators
  • sent 1,876 messages to Governor O’Malley

While Maryland took a significant step by banning arsenical drugs in chicken production, this is just one of many issues associated with industrial agriculture. We aren’t finished. We will continue to fight the industry’s attempts to block environmental regulations and reforms that would benefit the state’s farmers. If you would like to support our ongoing work in Maryland, please donate.

3 Comments on Maryland Becomes First State to Ban Arsenic in Chicken Feed

  1. Raymond Burton Dale says:

    Kudos to you for the arsenic ban in Maryland chicken feed. Early on as an organic farmer in North Florida I quit using commercial chicken manure and feathers because of arsenic concerns.

    I recently purchased supposedly organic celery produced by Earthbound (1-800-690-3200) and certified by CCOF as organic (www.ccof.org). I test all produce I purchase for nutritional quality and found the celery was not possibly organic (grown in good soil without chemicals or pesticides) because the celery tested a sap level of 3.75 Brix in my home lab. I duly notified Earthbound who did not even extend the courtesy of a response. I am further alarmed by the fact that the certification entity, CCOF, should be aware as a certification body should not have approved the use of arsenic (chicken feathers and chicken manure) as fertilizer and apparently are unaware that celery is a vegetable that specificly will concentrate that element from the soil where it is grown.

    Any celery grown in any soil to be fit for human consumption has a minimal value of 4.00 Brix and though rarely found, a maximum Brix of 12. The average for good celery is between 6 and 10
    (Acres USA, 1982). A lower than 4.0 is a sure sign the celery plant is struggling to survive and will pull all the arsenic it can in a desperate struggle to protect itself from worms and other invaders (Dr. Mary L. Reed Gates, CNHP,MH,ND, landisville, PA)

    When people pay premium prices for certified organic produce, they act in good faith the food will help bring health, not poison them. Arsenic even at low levels is not only cumulative and chronic, it is particularly so in children, and all sales of pseudo organic food therefore stopped in my opinion.

    Burton Dale

    cc Angie Tunik, OCIA ([email protected])

  2. Bob Edwards says:

    Wow, like I find it totally believable that Tyson and the other big boys have purposefully added arsenic to their chicken feed. Until you have proof, this sounds like a charade being perpetrated on Maryland taxpayers. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to the admit it.

  3. Ed B eckenstein says:

    Just curious. Why in heavens name is arsenic added to chicken feed? It makes them grow faster instead of croaking? Because of their different biological structure from hours it wouldn’t be a BIG surprise. Look at how many toxins get into fish and plants. People who produce our foods often shoe GREAT conscience. I’ve been washing fruit and vegetables with soap and water (rubbing it on and rinsing it off till they are squeky clean (not just apples, pears, ce;ery,…-even grapes, cherries, …) People said I was crazy till I read a label on a box of fruit that says “The wax prevents spoiage and is edible.” Then I remebered Diazanone which you spray on trees to prevent disease and killing of leaves and such. You spray on Diazanone mixed with a waxy liquid which sticks to the surfae after dring 30 minutes. And the Diazanone jars I used had a warning. Something like “Wear clothing on much of your body and a mask on your mouth. AND IF IT GETS ON YOUR BODY WASH WITH WARM SOAP AND WATER IMEDIATELY. THERE IS A HIGH TOXIN CONTENT.” I used it once in the Spring to protect a few Birch trees from Birch Leaf Miner

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