News last update:6 Aug 2012

Pakistan bans nitrofuran import

The Pakistan government has imposed a ban on import of nitrofuran (an antibiotic used in veterinary feed meal) to comply with international food safety compliances.

The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Union (EU) has long been persuading the government to prevent the use of the hazardous antibiotic in feed meal of fish and shrimps.

Against the backdrop, the Pakistan government in an inter-ministerial meeting, chaired by Fisheries and Livestock Adviser CS Karim, took the decision, a meeting source said.

A Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) will be issued within a few days in this connection.

Farmers have been using the harmful antibiotic as an ingredient in poultry feed-meal to reduce the rate of mortality.

Forbidden feed additive
Despite repeated warning of the EU, some farmers have been using the antibiotic in fish feed meal. As a result, a large importer of frozen food sent back a number of consignments last year due to the presence of the chemical.

Recently, a two-member inspection team of the EU expressed its grave concern over the use of the antibiotic in fish products, which are being exported to the EU markets.

The government has taken the step following the recommendations of the EU inspection team.

The concerned ministry will have to send report by next month to the FVO in Brussels on actions taken in line with their recommendations.

The pharmaceutical sector, which earlier used the harmful nitrofuran as ingredient of some medicines, has already banned the application of the chemical. But farmers have been using the chemical for long as veterinary drug in hatcheries and meal for poultry farms.

Related story: Nitrofuran in fish

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