It might seem like cause for cheer that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasordered the withdrawal of most drugs containing arsenic fed to chickens, turkeys and hogs. After all, getting a well-known poison out of the food chain seems like just the sort of thing the agency should be doing.
Temper your enthusiasm: First, one of the four drugs banned will stay on the market and continue to be fed to turkeys. Equally disturbing, the FDA acted only after food-safety groups threatened to sue, and almost four years after the agency was presented with a petition asking that arsenic-based drugs be withdrawn right away. The makers of the drugs were actually ahead of the FDA: They had voluntarily pulled three of them from the U.S. market a couple of years ago.