Imported poultry feeds ‘without tests’ risks biosafety

Experts have raised serious concerns about a recent government decision for allowing the imported poultry feeds to pass the customs check points without undergoing compulsory tests for antibiotics and melamine.They also observed that the existing Import Policy Order 2012-15 is also allowing the imported poultry and fish feeds to pass the check points without having any test to confirm its biological characteristics or for radioactive contamination.
Prof M Golam Shahi Alam dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science of Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) said, “Antibiotics resistance is now a major health problem in the country as human beings are directly affected by high antibiotics used in poultry feeds.”
The withdrawal of the provision for having tests for antibiotics will pose a serious threat to human health, and the government should prioritise the safety of human health over the promotion of business, he added.
Prof Golam Shahi also pointed out that there is now no obligation to test the imports for chloramphenicol and nitrofuran, which pose a threat of bio-pollution.
“Chloramphenicol may cause bone marrow toxicity — like bone marrow suppression and aplastic anemia — which can be fatal,” he said.
Nitrofuran can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea while less common reactions include fever, chill and other forms of hypersensitivity. It can also cause pulmonary fibrosis and drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis.
He suggested that the government should follow the rules and regulations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on imports such as vitamin, antibiotics, pro-biotics, hormone and growth promoters.
“If we really go by those rules and regulations, I think, the government should review its decision about withdrawal of the provision on compulsory tests,” he said.
The Import Policy Order 2012-15 also has very loose attention to the aspects of bio-safety and radioactivity. Poultry and fish feeds having clearance certificate from the exporting country to the effect that it does not contain any ‘genetically modified organism’ (GMO) are not required to undergo a test in the country.
Prof Bahanur said the government leaves the issue of bio-safety to the exporter-country as there is now no criterion for tests under the current import policy.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs at a meeting last month took the decision to make the changes in the Import Policy Order 2012-15, as per the recommendation of the Commerce Ministry, said officials. (Source: UNB)

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