Govt bans use of Colistin in animal feed and fishing

In Asia, chicken consumption is expected to grow by 129% by 2030 and the extreme growth is being driven by the expansion of the poultry sector in India, where areas of high consumption are expected to increase by 312% by 2030. (DH File Photo)

With the livestock and poultry contributing significantly towards India's growing burden of antibiotic resistance, the Centre has banned the sale of Colistin— a popular antibiotic— in meat, poultry and fisheries sectors.

The Union Health Ministry on Friday issued a notification prohibiting manufacture, sale and distribution of Colistin and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal-feed supplement.

The decision has been taken on the advice of Drugs Technical Advisory Board, the highest government advisory body on issues related to pharmaceutical sector.

“Colistin is an antibiotic for therapeutic purpose in veterinary sector. But this drug is highly misused in poultry industry as a growth promoter. One of the reasons for ant-microbial resistance in India is due to unwanted use of Colistin in poultry industry,” S Eswara Reddy, Drugs Controller General of India, told DH.

The notification that seeks to prevent use of Colistin for prophylactic purposes, will make it mandatory for the manufacturers to write clearly on the label that the drug is not to be used in food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal-feed supplement.

In Asia, chicken consumption is expected to grow by 129% by 2030 and the extreme growth is being driven by the expansion of the poultry sector in India, where areas of high consumption are expected to increase by 312% by 2030.

But the menace of widespread misuse of antibiotics in the poultry sector was red-flagged by an exhaustive scientific study two years ago.

The study, the largest of its kind ever to be conducted in India, collected more than 1,500 samples from 530 birds in 18 poultry farms in six districts in Punjab and tested them for resistance to a range of antibiotics critical to human medicine.

Two-thirds of the farms reported using antibiotics like Colistin to promote growth.

“Overuse of antibiotics in animal farms endangers us all as it multiplies drug resistance in the environment,” lead author of the study Ramanan Laxminarayan, who heads the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in the Washington DC had stated, explaining the significance of the study.

While consumption of chicken or eggs is not directly related to the development of antibiotic resistance in humans, misuse of the drugs make the disease-causing bugs more dreaded as they evolve into more virulent form types that can't be killed by common antibiotics in case of an infection.

Comments (+)