The Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) has urged the health and agriculture and agro-based industry ministries to ban the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which have reached alarming levels.
CAP president S. M. Mohamed Idris said the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animal feed had caused the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in farm animals, thus posing serious health threat to consumers.
"In studies conducted by the Veterinary Services Department in 2012, half of the local chickens were found to be resistant to ampicillin, sulphonamide and tetracycline.
Mohamed Idrs said, according to the World Health Organisation, the use of antibiotics in livestock was generally, not based on scientific principles.
"In Malaysia, there are currently 97 registered antibiotics for such purposes. Most of these medicines are used on chickens, ducks and pigs while some are used on cows and goats," he said.
The situation was worse with imported chicken: 87% ampicillin-resistant, 75% nalidixis acid-resistant, and 50% streptomycin- and sulphonamide-resistant.
The study also found 13.5% Tetracycline-resistant Salmonella; 5.4% Polymixin B and Erythromycin-resistant Salmonella and 2.7% Chloramphenicol, Penicillin G and Trimethoprim-resistant Salmonella in local chicken.
In 2005, the USFDA withdrew approval of fluoroquinolones used in poultry (currently used in Malaysia) as this class of antibiotics causes resistant Campylobacter in poultry which are transferred to humans and may cause fluoraquinolone resistant Campylobacter infections to develop in humans.
"It is clear the high incidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in our meats that there are problems with the Livestock Farm Practices Scheme (SALT) which is to ensure that farms practising Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) produce safe and wholesome food of good quality, in sustainable and environmentally friendly conditions," said the Consumers Association of Penang.