Banned antibiotic blocks Dutch farms

23-07-2014 | |
Banned furazolidone blocks Dutch farms
Banned furazolidone blocks Dutch farms

The banned antibiotic furazolidone has been found in a protein ingredient and has turned into a small feed scandal in the Netherlands. Hundreds of farms are blocked and investigations are still continuing.

The antibiotic has been banned in Europe since 1995, but has turned up at a veal calf in April this year, during regular controls. The Dutch Food Safety Authority (NVWA) sourced the contaminated feed ingredient back to Dutch feed company Van Kats Food & Feed.

Van Kats delivered a contaminated protein ingredient with traces of the banned antibiotic to a number of feed companies, that in turn delivered this to veal calf and dairy farms in the Netherlands. Part of the veal has been already exported to Germany, Belgium, France and Italy. Some meat has also been consumed already, but experts say the dosage of the antibiotic in the meat is not causing safety concerns.

Later this week, Trustfeed (the organisation that controls the safety of the raw materials that are supplied to Dutch feed companies) also added that the feed was delivered to some pig farms and horse owners and maybe poultry farms as well (this is being investigated). According to the NVWA at least 97 pig farms and 5 veal farms have been delivered with the contaminated feed. Also 11 companies in Germany received this feed.

Initially, it was thought that biscuit meal was the source of the furazolidone. But Dutch experts say that this is not verified. According to Trustfeed it might also be a soy containing raw material that is to blame. Also the reason why the banned antibiotic is added to a raw material is a mystery. It has no added value for animals and is not considered a growth promoting drug.

According to Trustfeed, all the feed that has possible traces of furazolidone has probably been consumed by animals, because this ingredient was sold to feed companies already in March and April of this year. It is now a matter of evaluation and trying to get to the source of the problem. The NVWA are carrying out control and tests at the farms. It is not clear how many animals have to be culled, if any.

Van Kats Food & Feed has been suspended. This also means that its GMP+ certificate has been suspended.

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Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor