It is now an established fact that antibiotics promote growth and performance improvement. Ever since this discovery, 50 years ago, antibiotics of microbial origin as well as those chemically synthesized are being routinely used in animal feed at the rate of 2 to 50 grams per ton of feed. The antibiotics are increased to levels as high as 50 to 200 grams per ton of feed when there is a perceived threat of disease or stress. This daily use of antibiotics in feed kills off weak bacteria and promotes the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reported the presence of large amount of antibiotics in raw chicken samples collected from Delhi last year. Indians are developing resistance to antibiotics and even curable diseases are not getting cured. CSE’s lab detected antibiotic residues in 40 per cent of the chicken collected as samples.
Most exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria for human beings comes from slaughterhouses and farms. Bacteria may remain on the hands when cleaning animal dung or intestines. If the hands are not properly cleaned, then the bacteria can get ingested. Other ways humans get infected by resistant bacteria is by eating meat of animals that have grown resistant to bacteria. The infected human can spread the bacteria to others in the community or through hospital admission where the resistant bacteria then spreads to other patients who may already have drug resistant bacteria which will make the bacteria multi-drug resistant.
It is for this reason that the Apex Food Regulator has issued orders that will be effective from July 1, 2015
- FSSAI advises restricted use of antibiotics in feed and feed supplements. Besides restrictive use in feed, FSSAI also advises that any antibiotic use on animals must be carried out under veterinary supervision.
- It advices that meat and meat producing animals/ birds should not be given feed that contains the meat, blood meal, bone tissues or internal organs of bovine and porcine animals except of course milk and milk products.
- Orders say that poultry is not to be slaughtered in the same slaughter house as that used to slaughter bovine or porcine animals. No other animal will be slaughtered except those that are allowed under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) regulations, 2011.
- It has also given directions to stop use of hormones as growth promoters in poultry and meat as theses have known adverse effects on human and animal life.
- In order to track antibiotic use they have put forward the view that the supply of a licensed antibiotic must be given to registered users and have also stressed the need for an alternative antibiotic in feed.
For the import of meat and meat products, the FSSAI along with the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries is likely to develop a procedure that will enable them to inspect, monitor slaughter/ processing plants as a prerequisite before grant of market access to Indian markets. This will ensure compliance with this order as stated above and as per FSS regulations as notified in FSSA. They would also like a competent authority, of the meat exporting country, to issue a health certificate that is in compliance with Indian requirements.
Food Safety Commissioners and Secretaries of the states and Union Territories Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries will ensure compliance along with compliance of other advisories issued by them on this matter. It is the responsibility of food regulators to strictly implement the regulations and the Food Business Operators dealing with meat and poultry products should religiously follow the guidelines.
FSSAI had recently introduced standards for Antibiotic Testing in Honey: Read More