Food

FSSAI implements ban on colistin use

The food regulatory body came up with the draft of the amendment and directed that it be operationalised immediately

 
By Bhavya Khullar
Last Updated: Friday 16 August 2019
Colistin and its tolerance limits will be removed from the list of antibiotics and veterinary drugs for foods. Photo: Getty Images
Colistin and its tolerance limits will be removed from the list of antibiotics and veterinary drugs for foods. Photo: Getty Images Colistin and its tolerance limits will be removed from the list of antibiotics and veterinary drugs for foods. Photo: Getty Images

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on August 8, 2019 issued a draft regulation to prevent the use of antibiotic colistin in food, banned by the Union government in July.

Colistin, which is a last resort antibiotic for humans, is used to treat drug-resistant gram-negative infections in critically ill patients.

According to the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Amendment Regulations 2019, colistin will be added to the list of antibiotics and veterinary drugs that are prohibited for use in processing of meat and meat products, poultry and eggs, sea foods including shrimps, prawns or fish and fishery products.

Also, colistin and its tolerance limits will be removed from the list of antibiotics and veterinary drugs for foods. While the draft will be notified in some time, FSSAI operationalised it from August 8.

The Union government's July notification prohibited the manufacturing, sale and distribution and colistin's formulations for food-producing animals, poultry, aqua-farming and animal feed supplements with immediate effect.

“The regulation to ban colistin is timely reflected in the food law. This will enable necessary monitoring of food by food inspectors,” said Amit Khurana, programme director, food safety and toxins, Centre for Science and Environment, a New Delhi-based non-profit.

The World Health Organization (WHO) not only categorises colistin as a highest priority critically important antimicrobial, but also places it under "reserve" category under the AWaRe categorisation. 

In 2018, mcr 1 and 3 genes that confer resistance to colistin were reported for the first time in food samples procured locally in India. 

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