Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chicken or Beef? Neither, if they’re conventionally raised.

Have you been asked the question, “Chicken or beef?” concerning your dining preference? Before you indulge, check out your beef or chicken selections and how they came to market.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: You are what they ate.

That’s not good news for conventional chicken and beef eaters, either. In addition to the standard unhealthy issues with conventionally raised animals for food, people who have eaten conventional chicken and beef have most likely received a heaping helping of secondhand arsenic, chicken excrement and more.

Every year in the United States alone, approximately 14 billion hamburgers are eaten, mostly made from conventionally raised beef, but beware of most beef—and chicken, too. A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the beef and chicken in two fast food chains had high levels of carbon and nitrogen isotopes—indicating that the cattle and poultry were fed primarily corn (to make them as fat as possible in the least amount of time) and were raised in extreme confinement.

Interestingly, one geobiologist professor who was part of the study suggested that the nitrogen levels were like those where animals consumed their own waste. Forbes highlighted the findings:

Hmmmm. . . consumed their own waste, huh? It’s possible due to the extreme confinement conditions. However, we already know that conventional cows are routinely fed chicken waste. They call it “litter,” and it includes feces, spilled chicken feed, feathers and poultry farm detritus (debris). In fact, USDA regulations allow chicken litter to be used as feed for cows, so conventional hamburgers might be comprised of secondhand chicken waste. This is not an isolated practice, either. The FDA says that conventional farmers feed their cattle between 1 million and 2 million tons of chicken litter annually. What’s more is that this litter feeding might be behind Mad Cow Disease. Check it out here and here.

Additionally, what chickens have been fed in the past threatens conventional chicken eaters and conventional beef eaters alike. Among other things, for decades chickens have routinely been given feed with arsenic in it. It’s called Roxarsone and it’s a version of arsenic. Until June 2011, this arsenic has been fed to conventionally raised chickens. Only when the maker of Roxarsone was confronted with evidence that the arsenic remained in the chicken—and, hence, fed to humans—did they ban the Roxarsone-feed practice in the U.S., but not in other countries. So, it may still get into our conventional food supply.

Unfortunately, for decades, humans have already consumed these arsenic-fed chickens and the arsenic-laden chicken waste which is often fed to cows and then consumed by humans.

To avoid these and other unwanted items, make sure chickens and cows are fed their natural diet. For example, cows need to eat their natural diet of green plants and forage—not corn, chicken feces, antibiotics, arsenic, or any other chemicals.

After all,  you—and I—are what they ate.