Drugs controller asks states to ensure judicious use of antibiotics in animals

State veterinarians, feed manufacturers told to stop the use of antibiotics in feed

By Mouna Nagaraju
Published: Monday 15 September 2014

On the pretext of preventing diseases, poultry farmers use antibiotics in feed to fatten the birds. There is no way to differentiate between disease prevention and growth promotion (Photo: Vikas Choudhary)

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has admitted to concerns over rampant use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in poultry and other animals meant for human consumption. The DCGI office has requested drugs controllers in all states and Union Territories (UT) to alert their inspectors and to take stringent action to ensure that animal feed does not contain antibiotics. The circular also mentions that any action taken on this issue may be forwarded to the office of DCGI.

DCGI had issued similar instructions to drugs controllers to curtail the misuse of antibiotics in food producing animals in June. This was against the backdrop of a circular issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF), addressed to directors/commissioners for animal health of all states and UTs on the maintenance of withdrawal periods. It also advised state veterinarians, feed manufacturers and others to stop the use of antibiotics in feed and maintain withdrawal periods.

The latest circular issued by the DCGI follows a letter written by the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, to the Union health minister on the rampant use of non-therapeutic antibiotics as mentioned in a news article. The news article was based on a study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), indicating the indiscriminate use of antibiotics on poultry farms for growth promotion and disease prevention (see ‘How safe is the chicken you eat?’).

CSE recommends that antibiotics should be banned from being used for non-therapeutic purposes, for growth promotion and disease prevention in poultry and other food-producing animals. In addition, antibiotics critical to human health (as termed by the World Health Organization) should not be allowed for use in animals. 

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