India to limit antibiotics used in meat production
The ministry has set out maximum acceptable limits for various antibiotics and veterinary drugs used to treat chickens, pigs and other livestock.
Recommendations have included permissible limits of 37 antibiotics and 67 other veterinary drugs for use in chicken.
It has notified the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) of the proposed amendment to the statute.
The industry has been invited to give feedback on the proposed regulatory change, with comments accepted until 6 December 2017.
International pressure is growing on all countries to implement measures to combat antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, which health officials warn could lead to widespread deaths if action is not taken to address the problem.
The meat and livestock sector has come in for intense scrutiny from advocates calling for a reduction, with many in the meat industry using veterinary drugs such as antibiotics to treat livestock.
When it comes to India, addressing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance is a “multifaceted” challenge, according to a study by the US-based Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP).
Finding a way to address the problem is very pronounced in India. A CDDEP report from 2011, said the infection disease burden in India was among the highest in the world, because large quantities of antibiotics were used in human medicine to fight infections and save lives.
At the time of the study, it said more than five million Indian children below the age of five years old die every day from infections that can be treated with antibiotics. But if these antibiotics stopped working, India’s poverty-stricken communities could face more hardship and death.
As a result, the government has taken action to limit the level of antibiotics used in livestock production.