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Antibiotic use in poultry sector rampant in India

New Delhi, March 1 2018: A green body has slammed an advertisement highlighting that no antibiotics are used in chicken as an "eyewash" and claimed that the use of antibiotics in poultry sector is "rampant".
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Tuesday slammed the All India Poultry Development and Services Private Limited for its advertisement and said it was "complete misrepresentation".
The advertisement refers to the results of a 2014 study conducted by the CSE on chicken, it said while strongly rejecting the way the study results have been twisted to suggest that there is no misuse of antibiotics in the poultry sector and that the chicken produced is safe.
"This is complete misrepresentation of the facts and the antibiotic misuse practices adopted by the Indian poultry industry.
"Antibiotic use in poultry sector is rampant. They are even using life-saving drugs like colistin to fatten the chicken. There seem to be no genuine attempt by the industry to reduce antibiotic misuse and this advertisement is an eyewash," said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE,
The advertisement which said that chicken should be eaten as it has a lot of benefits also went on to say that the Indian poultry industry has already adopted usage of prebiotics, probiotics, phytogenic additives, acidifiers and immunostimulants as an alternative to antibiotics.
The deputy director general of CSE further said that the industry has ignored the results of its latest 2017 study, which show how poultry farms are breeding grounds of superbugs.
"They are misguiding the nation and trying to dilute their contribution to the problem of antibiotic resistance. This will not help the industry in the long-term. They must act responsibly, " Bhushan said.
Referring to the issue of maximum residue limits (MRLs) in the advertisement, Amit Khurana, a senior programme manager, Food Safety and Toxins team, CSE said that it is a "myopic" view as residue level in food is only one part of the problem.
"Resistant bacteria can also get transferred to handlers and consumers. Unabsorbed antibiotics as well as resistant bacteria in chicken droppings which enter into the environment are a big concern. The problem starts with antibiotic misuse," he said.
Chandra Bhushan further added that India does not have any standards on residue levels in chicken meat.
"Comparing residue results with the MRL of the European Union is meaningless. Our study was aimed at establishing the fact that banned, critical and highly prescribed antibiotics are being misused by the poultry industry we did not make any comparisons with MRL as India does not have an MRL of its own," Bhushan said. - PTI