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Md. delegate wants harsher poultry-industry restrictions

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A Maryland delegate is calling for the state to reconsider tougher restrictions on the poultry industry after a Food and Drug Administration study released Wednesday found low arsenic levels in some chickens.

Delegate Tom Hucker, Montgomery Democrat, called for a state ban on the use of roxarsone, a popular chicken feed additive that was pulled from use by its manufacturer, Pfizer subsidiary Alpharma, in reaction to the study. FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao characterized the found arsenic levels as “very low,” but avoidable.

Mr. Hucker has sponsored failed bills in the last two years that would have banned roxarsone, but said in a statement Wednesday that the bills were blocked mainly by poultry industry lobbyists, despite support from many environmental and health groups.

“Opponents claimed that there was not sufficient scientific evidence of the product´s health effects to justify a ban,” Mr. Hucker said. “Today, that may have changed.”

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