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Apr 30, 2013 09:02 AM

At chicken plants, chemicals blamed for health ailments are poised to proliferate

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  1. A lot of industries use hazardous chemicals, and food processing is no exception. This is mainly an OSHA issue.

    1. Typical OSHA bullshit. They break your balls over full trash cans but ignore stuff like this.

      1. When the workers get sick and die, it is an OSHA issue, but certainly there is a much bigger concern for anyone that eats the meat. Added chemicals and treatments for increased profits on the processing line is not just an OSHA issue.

        "The USDA has not conducted research into possible health risks that chemical treatments could pose for consumers of the poultry products. The agency says it relies on the chemical review and approval process of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, for its part, does not conduct its own research but examines data provided by the chemical manufacturers."

        This should concern everyone.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          " ....just not an OSHA issue."

          Exactly. While OSHA might cause the plant to install better ventilation or something to improve worker safety, their mandate isn't the safety of the chemicals being introduced into the food.

          1. re: sedimental

            Yes, that aspect is an issue for the FDA and USDA, but I'm not concerned about the use of chlorine in food processing. It is a concern for people handling it during processing.

          2. One person commented, "Anyone who reads this article should be terrified." No kidding. I just removed chicken from my shopping list. Thank you for the link.

            7 Replies
            1. re: pitterpatter

              Why should I be terrified because one person makes such a comment? Where, exactly, is the cause for terror?

              1. re: GH1618

                You would have to read the article to learn that our chicken is sprayed with toxic chemicals then dipped into an ammonia bath, to rid of salmonella and other nasty bugs. The workers are exposed through breathing these chemicals and are suffering from all kinds of ailments, primarily to their lungs, and government agencies are not at all concerned. They rely on testing from the chemical companies themselves. And we are eating this stuff.

                1. re: pitterpatter

                  I read the article. I am aware that ammonia is used in food processing for sanitation, along with chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, and perhaps other things. The pathogens they target are something to be afraid of, not the chemicals when used according to USDA standards.

                  As for potential harm to workers, that is cause for concern for workers, not consumers.

                  You have tiptoed around the question. What, specifically, should cause a consumer to feel "terrified" and why?

                  When we are terrified, the terrorists win, in my opinion.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    Well, ammonia is a neurotoxin, and I don't know much about those other chemicals, but it also bothers me that workers are becoming very ill in these plants. I have concern for the workers -- that in any way misguided? If you have faith in the USDA, fine. I am skeptical. If we are going to great stronger pathogens because of these practices, that concerns me as well. I understand the need to feed people, but don't think I am at all a terrified kook for wanting to eat, or having the people of America eat, chickens raised and slaughtered in such a way that these measures are not necessary.

                    1. re: pitterpatter

                      Ammonia is nasty stuff, all right, but there is no residue of ammonia in food resulting from its use as a disinfectant, because it's a gas. Ammonia is produced in the human body as a normal part of its biochemistry, and is excreted. You can't avoid being exposed to it. I'm not terrified yet.

                      Ammonia is a concern in industrial settings, and I am concerned about workers also. If OSHA is not protecting workers from all hazardous chemicals, then that's a problem that needs to be addressed. But delivering contaminated chicken to consumers is not the way to fix it.

                      The question is whether the consumer of chicken should be "terrified." The answer is no. Chicken is not poisoned as a result of industrial disinfectants being used in processing it. The consumer should be aware that chicken can contain pathogens which are capable of causing serious harm (including neuropathy), should be thankful that the USDA attempts to minimize the danger of contaminated chicken, but should nevertheless handle it according to FSIS standards to ensure that it is completely safe.

                      Whether they eat chicken or not, people should be concerned about the welfare of workers who produce our food supply. This is an entirely separate matter which has no bearing on whether consumers of chicken should be "terrified."

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Makes perfect sense to me. In fact I'm gonna fire up the pit and BBQ chicken tonight and I want be terrified when I eat it.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          Clearly you know much more about the chemistry of these processes than I do, and appreciate your erudition. I really wish some agency with authority can come forth with trustworthy, hard science to alleviate my fears which I know many other consumers share. I approach many of my concerns about our food supply based on voluminous reading on the subject, with so many contradictions, inadequate data, opposing agendas and hidden political motivations. I want the facts, the real facts. Any suggestion as to where I can learn from the best?

              2. Ground Turkey is in the news as well:


                Not for worker health, but all kinds of other nasties.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sedimental

                  There is another thread on that, but its title is unclear.