Alpharma Incorporated

Chicken without a side of arsenic

Maryland farmers produce no crop more valuable than chickens. The state ranks eighth nationally, and the 1.4 billion pounds of broilers grown each year are valued at more than $600 million, or roughly 40 percent of all the state's crops added together.

Yet the industry is in danger of harming itself — and others — with its continued opposition to a proposed ban on arsenic in chicken feed. How can poultry producers possibly oppose taking a known carcinogen out of the food chain? It appears many are more focused on keeping down costs than ensuring a healthful product and safe environment.

At issue is the drug Roxarsone, which has been routinely added to chicken feed to reduce...