News 1319 views last update:14 Jan 2016

Bangladesh: Axing poultry feed import test criticised

The decision by Bangladesh’s government to withdraw the provision for all imports of poultry feed to be tested for any melamine and antibiotics has been called “unwise and risky” by experts.

Experts claim that the decision will not only put the country’s poultry sector at risk but there are also high risks for human health and they called for an immediate review.

However, the Animal Health Companies Association of Bangladesh (AHCAB) welcomed the decision saying it would stabilise the price of feed. Dr M Nazrul Islam, Secretary General of AHCAB said that the association had made the proposal back in February citing that the rule hampers import of poultry feed, because it takes time and cause unnecessary delays and the expenses are also higher.

Experts whom oppose the decision say that the government needs to put human health above the interests of business. Professor M Golam Shahi Alam, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), was quoted as saying that the government should give top priority to human health, instead of promoting business. "Antibiotics resistance is now a major health problem in the country as human beings are directly affected by high antibiotics used in poultry birds", he pointed out. "There is now no compulsion to test the imports for chloramphenicol and nitrofuran, which could create bio-pollution", he feared.

He suggested that the government follow the rules and regulations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on imports like vitamin, antibiotics, pro-biotics, hormone, growth promoters etc.

Dr Md. Bahanur Rahman, Professor, BAU Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, every country has strict rules and regulations about import of foreign materials, particularly when they are of sensitive nature.

"Maybe, the lack of proper testing labs compelled the poultry industry to make such a demand, but the withdrawal of the lab test requirement is not the only solution", he said. Modern lab facilities should be increased, instead of withdrawing such restrictions for the sake of human health as well as poultry birds' health, he added.

The policy change now requires the country of origin to give a list of ingredients on every package of poultry feed. There must be a label on every package with a declaration to this effect: "It must not contain any melamine and antibiotics, including chloramphenicol and nitrofuran.'

A clearance certificate from the exporting country to the effect that it does not contain any 'genetically modified organism' (GMO) is also mandatory, the source said. Experts said the policy change has left the issue of bio-safety to the exporter-country as there is now no criterion for tests.

Source: Financial Express


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