The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has raised its concern about the overuse of antibiotics in the poultry industry as this is leading to antibiotic resistance in human beings in India. These concerns were raised on a report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which has linked antibiotic resistance to antibiotic misuse in the poultry industry.
These same concerns were also raised by audience members in a recent conference on Indian Nutra & Health Food Industry organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce in New Delhi. Mr. Vijay Sardana Co-Chairman, Agribusiness Committee (PHD Chamber) replied by saying that poultry farmers are under the misconception that antibiotics help to grow chicken faster. He also said that the onus falls on Pharma companies that need to advertise their products with a clearer message about overuse of antibiotics and its impact on human beings.
The CSE, supported strongly by the IMA, has recommended that only sick birds should be treated with antibiotics and has asked for a complete ban on antibiotic use in industries catering to humans. They feel regulatory gaps need to be filled up as easy availability of antibiotics and feed supplements leads to misuse or overuse.
Bureau of Indian Standards on the poultry feed specifications do not allow the use of antibiotics in poultry feed but since these standards are not mandatory, the farmers are regularly using the antibiotics.
The Central Advisory Committee of FSSAI in its meeting comprising food safety commissioners has agreed on the gravity of the matter and has asked state food commissioners to begin surveillance in the matter immediately. CSE is hopeful that this action on the part of the FSSAI and other government bodies, it has written to, will control this major public health concern. As per the definition of food, the role of the food authority starts from where the live animals are placed in the market for the human consumption.