New bacteria

Wednesday 30 June 1999

  Shrimps in trouble according to a study conducted by the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology ( cift ) in Kerala, antibiotic residues are getting into farmed shrimps resulting in the emergence of new strains of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria. The results of the study done by P K Surendran and Nirmala Thampuran are likely to cause concern in the seafood industry, besides the medical community, as farmed shrimps constitute a major share of India's seafood exports.

The study may have far-reaching consequences. The findings show that antibiotic residue in food is a major factor in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, especially Salmonellae, which causes typhoid. Also, the European Union (eu) export regulations stipulate that fish and meat products exported to eu countries be free from antibiotics. Last year, the eu had banned Indian seafood following the detection of pathogens in some consignments. Scientists believe that administering antibiotics to fish as prophylactants, which combat the advent of disease, is causing this new problem.

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