Antibiotic use in poultry feed to be phased out from 2018 | Daily News

Antibiotic use in poultry feed to be phased out from 2018

Sri Lanka will, next year, look to further regulate and phase out antibiotic growth promoters used in poultry feed in an effort to combat antimicrobial resistance in the country.

An official at the Department of Animal Production and Health explained that they, together with specialists dealing with human health, animal health, fisheries and agriculture have worked as a team to develop the ‘National Strategic Plan for Combating Antimicrobial Resistance in Sri Lanka 2017 – 2022’ and thus, one of the measures taken in the animal husbandry industry would be to reduce and phase out antibiotic growth promoters used in animal feed and poultry production.

This is part of the WHO initiative to have its member countries develop national action plans to combat the global issue of humans developing antibiotic resistance as a result of its overuse in all sectors of our lives.

“The current antibiotic growth promoters used in chicken feed especially are not harmful to human health but these are part of a measure to reduce the overall use of antibiotics in our system. This would help in reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance among people,” said the official.

Antibiotic growth promoters are used to describe any medicine that destroys or inhibits bacteria in chicken and is administered at a low, subtherapeutic dose.

The Department is currently working on gazetting an overall ban but until then, the official said, they had decided to stop issuing licenses for the import of these antibiotic growth promoters from next year.

“We hope to have a ban in place within next year,” said the official.

The official explained that a complete ban could not be imposed immediately as they needed to give time, especially to small-scale farmers to adapt to better housing and biosecurity practices in their farm - thus removing the need for antibiotics.

At present, the government allows the use of three types of antibiotic growth promoters in the country under strict conditions.


 

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