Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poultry chickens are stuffed with antibiotics, finds CSE study

Growing antibiotic-resistance in humans also because of large-scale indiscriminate use of antibiotics in poultry industry, claims CSE study
Indians are developing resistance to antibiotics — and hence falling prey to a host of otherwise curable ailments. Some of this resistance might be due to large-scale unregulated use of antibiotics in the poultry industry, says a new study released here today by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the New Delhi-based research and advocacy think-tank.

Releasing the findings of the study which has been conducted by CSE’s Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (PML), Sunita Narain, director general, CSE, said: “Antibiotics are no more restricted to humans nor limited to treating diseases. The poultry industry, for instance, uses antibiotics as a growth promoter. Chickens are fed antibiotics so that they gain weight and grow faster.” The CSE lab study found residues of antibiotics in 40 per cent of the samples of chicken that were tested.

Speaking on the occasion, Chandra Bhushan, CSE’s deputy director general and head of the lab, said: “Public health experts have long suspected that such rampant use of antibiotics in animals could be a reason for increasing antibiotic resistance in India. But the government has no data on the use of antibiotics in the country, let alone on the prevalence of antibiotic resistance. Our study proves the rampant use and also shows that this can be strongly linked to growing antibiotic resistance in humans in India.”

  • 70 chicken samples from Delhi-NCR region tested for six commonly used antibiotics
  • 40 per cent samples test positive; residues of more than one antibiotic found in 17 per cent samples
  • Points to large-scale unregulated use of antibiotics as growth promoters by the poultry industry
  • Antibiotics that are important to treat diseases in humans, like ciprofloxacin, being rampantly used by the industry. This is leading to increased cases of antibiotic resistance in India. For instance, ciprofloxacin resistance is growing rapidly in the country
  • India has no regulation on controlling antibiotic use in the poultry industry, or to control sales of antibiotics to the industry. It is free for all
  • India has not set any limits for antibiotic residues in chicken
  • India will have to implement a comprehensive set of regulations including banning of antibiotic use as growth promoters in the poultry industry. Not doing this will put lives of people at risk

CSE has recommended the following to the government:

1. Ban use of antibiotics as growth promoters and for mass disease prevention. Antibiotics critical for humans should not be allowed in the poultry industry.

2. Antibiotics should not be used as a feed additive; the government should regulate the poultry feed industry.

3. Unlicensed and unlabeled antibiotics should not be sold in the market.

4. The government should promote development of alternatives and good farm management practices.

5. Set standards for antibiotics in chicken products.

6. Set up systems for monitoring and surveillance of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in humans and animals.

7. Set pollution control standards for the poultry industry.