Through a notification dated 8 August 2019 the FSSAI has issued directions regarding the operationalisation of the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Amendment Regulations, 2019 about not permitting the use of Colistin.
The FSSAI had framed the draft Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Amendment Regulations, 2019 wherein they had not permitted the use ofColistin.These draft regulations are in the process of being notified. The process of draft notification, consideration of comments if any received, as well as the finalisation of these regulation is likely to take some time. However, since the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a notification on 19 July 2019 prohibiting the manufacturing, sale, distribution of Colistin and its formulation for food producing animals, poultry, aquafarming and animal feed supplements with immediate effect.
According to the drafted Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Amendment Regulations, 2019, FSSAI had added Colistin to the Table of residues under regulation 2.3: “Residues”where under 2.3.2: ANTIBIOTIC AND OTHER PHARMA-COLOGICALLY ACTIVE SUBSTANCES Colistin had been proposed to be added to the antibiotics and veterinary drugs that are not permitted to be used at anystage of processing of meat and meat products, poultry and eggs, sea foods includingshrimps, prawns or any variety of fish and fishery products. Colistinhad also been omitted from the Table under clause 4) which prescribes tolerance limits for antibiotics.
Keeping in mind the prohibition imposed for Colistin by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the FSSAI has decided to operationalise the above regulations with immediate effect. Therefore, through this direction Colistin is no longer permitted for use in animals as of 8 August 2019.
In order to ensure safer antibiotic use and to reduce antimicrobial resistance Colistin has been marked as “reserved” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and it is to be used only when all other antibiotics have failed.
In the WHO’s list of important antimicrobials for human use, Colistin is listed as highest priority critically important antibiotic (HPCIA). Being HPCIA, colistin is considered the sole or one of limited available antibiotics used to treat serious bacterial infections in people. In case people become Colistinresistant because of veterinary use then there is probably only one other antibiotic that can save them, and which is very expensive so most people cannot afford it.
In India colistin is being used asa growth promoter in food-animal production, especially in the poultry sector. Globally, several countries have banned colistinfor animal use so that it can be preserved as an antibiotic for human use.