Lawsuit Looking to Eliminate Arsenic in Animal Feed


Several advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration because it continues to allow arsenic in animal feed that is given to chickens, turkeys and hogs. Among those filing the suit is the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and senior adviser David Wallinga said the suit stems from a petition filed against the FDA three years ago.

“Basically saying, ‘This is arsenic. We don’t need it to raise these animals for meat and, in fact, it’s a public health hazard. So, let’s do something about it.’ And we think that FDA did not respond to the petition, so we’re filing suit to force their hand and protect public health,” Wallinga said.

The arsenic in the feed is supposed to help with animal growth and meat coloring, but Wallinga said that when mixed in with all the other drugs and ingredients, it isn’t clear that arsenic helps at all. On top of that, the arsenic used in animal feed is known as “organic,” and considered somewhat benign, but Wallinga said in reality, arsenic is still arsenic.

“Whether you’re talking about a chicken that’s eating this arsenic in their feed, or whether it’s a human being who’s taking it in somehow in the meat they eat, the body can convert that organic form of arsenic into the other forms that are actually closely tied with risk of cancer,” Wallinga explained.

Agriculture is the largest Industry in Indiana, and the suit is seeking to remove FDA approval of the four different animal-feed arsenic products currently on the market.