Monday, May 30, 2016

Alarm over antibiotics in meat, shrimp

Alarm over meds in meat, shrimp (Getty Images)

Leading American health experts on Wednesday raised concerns about the increasing use of antibiotics in fish and animal farms to accelerate growth. They warned that the practice may put consumers at serious health risk.
At an interaction with local physicians and health administrators on US-India health cooperation at the American Center, USAID health wing representative Melissa Freeman said use of antibiotics in sub-therapeutic levels was on the rise in poultry and shrimp farms and posed threat of high drug resistance in humans.

"Producers of chicken, pig and other meat, as well as shrimp, feed them growth-promoting antibiotics in low doses.This practice does not kill bacteria but makes them resistant to the drug. When the meat or shrimp is consumed, the drugresistant bacteria is transferred to humans," said Freeman.

Four years ago, Japan had rejected more than 10 consignments of shrimp after detecting ethoxyquin, an antioxidant, in them. Most of the exporters were from Bengal and Odisha . Three years before that, EU had rejected 50 consignments of shrimps after detecting antibiotic residue.

Feeding small doses of antibiotics to animals daily can lead to 3% more weight gain. The problem, doctors said, was in giving animals antibiotics used to treat humans. "If a person ingests the resistant bacteria via improperly cooked meat and becomes ill, he or she may not respond to antibiotic treatment," said Freeman.

The World Health Organization has expressed concern about antibiotic resistance and declared its intention to reduce the use of antimicrobials in food animals for the protection of human health. It has recommended that prescriptions be required for all antibiotics used to treat animals and called for phase-out of antimicrobials for growth promotion if they are used for human treatment.

Microbiologists believe overuse of the Fluoroquinolone group of antibiotics in birds like chicken and turkey , as well as shrimp, has led to increase in treatment-resistant bacterial infections in humans. The drug is used as protection against E.coli infection.

While sub-therapeutic antibiotic use in food animals is a global practice, American health experts are concerned about India because it is the seventh largest exporter of food products to the US. Shrimps from Bengal constitute a significant portion of exports.

Matthew Thomas, who represents the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that oversees food and medical products imported into US, said his agency was reaching out to the industry and conducting training programmes to increase awareness among farmers. 
Source : TOI

No comments:

Post a Comment