New research not only confirms use of arsenic, but finds the addition of a frightening elixir of drugs that includes caffeine, banned antibiotics, and even Prozac. Researchers started off testing just for banned antibiotics but went ahead and looked for other substances because it didn’t add to the cost of the test. What they found even surprised them.
By doing a test on their feathers, which is similar to that of human fingernails in the way it accumulates chemicals, they found caffeine, antihistamines, acetaminophen, fluroquinolones (banned antibiotics), arsenic, and even Prozac (in chicken imported from China). Fluroquinolones are illegal because they have been proven to cause antibiotic resistant superbugs.
Prozac was added to feed because stressed out chickens produce tough meat and brutal conditions often mean a constantly nervous bird. Chickens are fed coffee pulp and green tea powder to keep them up longer so they eat more food, according to a story in The New York Times.