Chicken Raisers Involved in Antibiotics Scandals

CHINA - China's agriculture authority said it has shut down poultry farms in East China where animals were given excessive amounts of antibiotics, pledging to intensify checks on poultry farmers.
calendar icon 27 December 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week, Chinese media reported that some poultry farmers in Shandong province had given their chickens excessive amounts of antibiotics, including amantadine and ribavirin, to help them survive in overcrowded chicken houses, triggering nationwide concern about food safety.

Bi Meijia, the chief economic engineer as well as the spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), told a press conference Tuesday that relevant poultry raisers and processors have been shut down and are under close investigation.

The MOA attaches great importance to the case. It has dispatched a group of experts to Shandong and ordered local authorities to properly handle the case, he said, adding that results will be released to the media in time.

"In the following steps, we will enhance supervision over the entire poultry raising industry, raise the quality of the industry and notably scale up the crackdown on those who feed animals excessive amounts of antibiotics and veterinary drugs," he noted.

Those found violating laws and standards will be punished, he added.

The Chinese public is sensitive to food and drug safety scandals, as tainted milk powder, fake cooking oil and toxic capsules have harmed food producers' credibility and grated consumers' nerves.

Foreign fast food chains such as Yum! Brands' KFC have also been embroiled in such scandals. The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said in a statement Friday that the level of antibiotics found in KFC chicken samples was fine, but it found a suspicious level of an antiviral drug in the samples.

The watchdog has asked KFC to recall the tainted products and launch inspections throughout its outlets in the city.

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