Antibiotic Residue Found in Poultry Meat

Antibiotic Residue Found in Poultry Meat:

Is This A Pre-Attempt to Make Safe Entry of American Chicken Legs into India

The President, Poultry Breeders Association (PBA), G. Ranjit Reddy expressed concern over reports by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that traces of some antibiotic were found in chicken meat samples in Delhi.

The PBA President also confirmed that Indian Poultry industry believed in vaccination rather than antibiotic treatment of chicken. “We use antibiotic as a last resort. The samples contained traces of antibiotic much below the permissible limits,” he added and said, “On behalf of the poultry industry, we wish to clarify and place the issue in perspective in the best interests of consumers as well as in overall national interest.”

Last month, there were certain reports in a section of the print and electronic media about the Antibiotic Residue found in poultry meat sold in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) leading to needless apprehensions among some people, about safety of chicken consumption.

In the first place, the levels of antibiotic residues found in the study conducted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) are far below the European Union Standards – which are the most stringent in the world. This will be evident from the following comparative figures:

Name of the Antibiotic          Residue found                       E.U. Standard                       USA Standard
                                                In Delhi/NCR

                                                (ppm)                          (ppm)                          (ppm)

Ciprofloxacin                         0.00355 to 0.06459     0.1 to 0.3                    

Enrofloxacin                          0.0037 to 0.131           0.1 to 0.3

Oxytetracycline                      0.00825 to 0.01516     0.1 to 0.3                     2.0 to 12.0

Chlortetracycline                   0.0102                         0.1 to 0.6                     2.0 to 12.0

Doxycline                               0.01194 to 0.02066     0.1 to 0.6

Neomycin                               Not detected               0.5 to 5.0

From the above mentioned figures, it is obvious that the antibiotic residue levels in chicken produced and marketed in our country are way below the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) prescribed by the European Union and USA – and, it is absolutely safe to eat and enjoy chicken.

Compared to the huge volume of poultry meat production in India – 3.8 million tons per annum i.e. more than 10,000 tons per day – the sample size of the study i.e. 70 chickens, is a miniscule, and cannot be taken as a reflection of the status in the entire industry. Be that as it may - even within this small sample size, 60% of the samples were found to be negative for antibiotic residue – and in the remaining 40% also, the actual level of residues was far below the MRL prescribed by the EU and other advanced countries.

World over, antibiotics are used for treatment of diseases – not only in poultry, but also in various other animals, including cattle. Compared to the level of antibiotic use in dairy – and consequently the residue levels in dairy products – it is far less in poultry industry, for the simple reason that dairy animals like buffalo are much larger in size, and their life span is much longer than broiler birds.

The life span of Broilers is just 35 to 40 days, and in this short span, antibiotics are used judiciously, only when there is an infection and that too only under advice and guidance of qualified veterinarians.

On the contrary, in India, Venkateshwara Hatcheries Group’s Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center (PDRC); a world-class, state-of-the-art research facility, together with its Regional/Satellite Laboratories and a nation-wide network of over 100 Technical Service Centers, manned by over 300 qualified veterinarians, is providing round-the-clock disease-diagnostic services, technical support, free of cost to poultry farmers.

Thanks to the vision, planning and leadership of Late Padmashri Dr. B.V. Rao, our poultry industry, a highly developed industry, with technology and management practices matching the best in the world.

This strong network, a unique feature of our poultry industry, which is not seen anywhere else in the world, has effectively minimized the threat of diseases, and consequently, the need for and dependence on antibiotics.

Our poultry farmers are well trained and well informed: they do not resort to indiscriminate use of antibiotics. They are also conscious that it is highly expensive to use antibiotics. They prefer prevention of disease using non-antibiotic feed additives like pro-biotic and pre-biotic rather than treatment with expensive antibiotics. Antibiotics are used only when absolutely unavoidable.

In light of the above mentioned, the Editor, POULTRY EXPRESS requests all concerned including the Government, Scientific Community, the Consumers and specifically to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to come forward with an open discussion across the table with the concerned veterinarians and not to get unnecessarily perturbed.

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