Early in 2013, a study out of the UK about lead in chicken broth ruffled a lot of feathers, and unfortunately is still scaring people away from broth. The study, which appeared in the journal Medical Hypotheses, reported broth made form organic chickens was contaminated with lead, one of the deadliest toxic metals known.
That was scary news, and if the study were valid, there would be plenty of reason for concern. Lead, after all, is a neurotoxin that can cross the placenta and the blood-brain barrier. It is associated with abnormal fetal development as well as a very long list of neurobehavioral disorders and diseases in children and adults, including ADHD, violence, social withdrawal, depression, substance abuse and Parkinson’s.
The study left a flock of unanswered questions starting with the type of cookware and the broth ingredients, and ending with a need for more details about the source of those “organic chickens,” the feed they were fed, the water they drank, whether they were “free range” or confined, where they were raised, and what were their living conditions. All the article reported was they were “organic birds.” Then, six months after the study was published, the researchers discovered the chickens were not “organic” after all, thus proving a whole lot of people had been alarmed unnecessarily. In the meantime, we tested chicken and beef broth made from pastured chickens and cows raised at several locations in California and found undetectable levels of lead, even at five parts per billion.
The takeaway? The lead/broth flap was a lot of clucked up nonsense. But take care with the source of your broth.
For a more detailed analysis of the study and the laboratory analyses of broth made from pastured chickens and cows, read my articles here.