How poison ends up on your dinner table

It might take a tough man to make a tender bird. But it takes a mad scientist to create the "chicken" on your dinner plate these days.

In fact, a recent series of tests finds enough drugs to stock a pharmacy hidden inside your chicken -- including Prozac, antibiotics, antihistamines, acetaminophen, and (as if that's not enough) a side of arsenic.


In one study, researchers tested a poultry byproduct called feather-meal made (obviously) of feathers. That might sound strange, but toxins, drugs and everything else fed to a chicken end up in those feathers.

That means if it's in the feathers, it's in the meat -- and they found everything short of Col. Sanders' goatee in the feathers.

First and foremost, they found traces of banned antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin. Poultry farms aren't supposed to use these drugs, but to hell with the rules. They have chickens to grow, and antibiotics plump those birds up fast and easy.

Just one problem: Along with fatter chickens, the overuse of antibiotics has created a frightening new class of drug-resistant superbugs. So while they get more meat to sell, we get incurable infections.

The researchers also found caffeine, which stimulates chickens so they stay awake and eat more. But since caffeinated stressed-out chickens have tough meat, the birds need something else to bring them down.

That would explain the Benadryl and acetaminophen also found in the feather-meal. They're basically tenderizers. That would also explain the PROZAC (!!!!) found in samples of feather-meal from China.

I'd say that's what you get for buying chicken from China -- but clearly, we have nothing to crow about since the rest of those drug-laced samples were all-American.

Meanwhile, a second new study finds arsenic in the feather-meal. This is no accident; poultry farmers feed low levels of the poison to their chickens to give the meat that pink glow consumers love so much.

All this is bad news for chicken-lovers, of course, but don't flip the bird into the trash just yet. Just go organic.

It'll cost you a wing and a leg, but it'll be worth it.