US poultry organisations, US Poultry & Egg Association and the National Chicken Council, have written to the FDA to share concerns about the recent suspension of the sale of roxarsone animal drug products.
They are particularly concerned that the withdrawal of roxarsone products from the marketplace was not based upon adequate scientific study and want to bring to the agency’s attention the numerous unintended consequences that are likely to result from the withdrawal of roxarsone products from the marketplace, including an increased risk of foodborne illness, increased costs due to the need for additional feed, and detrimental environmental impacts resulting from the use of more feed.
The announcement that Alpharma, a Pfizer subsidiary, would suspend US sales of roxarsone followed FDA’s completion of a study of 100 broiler chickens to assess the levels of inorganic arsenic in the chickens’ livers. This study was extremely limited in scale and also was not peer reviewed, the letter states. It involved newly developed analytical techniques, included extremely long sample storage periods, and utilised a feed formulation atypical of commercial poultry feed. Concerns are rasied that Pfizer’s withdrawal of roxarsone (which likely was a result of pressure from FDA) was based only on this single, limited study.
In the letter they reiterate the significant potential consequences associated with the withdrawal of this product from the market place.