Indian Poultry Industry Under Pressure over Drug Residues, Slaughter Conditions

INDIA - Reports of unethical practices and poor food standards in the Indian poultry and meat industries have led the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to devise new regulations.
calendar icon 7 July 2015
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The authority has formulated draft regulations that will come into effect after comments and objections from stakeholders, reports the Times of India.

Draft regulations have come in the wake of fixed maximum residue limits/tolerance levels for various veterinary drugs, including antibiotics in meat and poultry products, in respect of animal-based organic food products, which are yet to be approved and notified.

A food safety officer posted in Indore, Manish Swami said: "Various consumer organisations/NGOs have recently raised issues that meat-producing animals/poultry birds are fed feed containing meat/bone meal including internal organs, blood meal and tissues of bovines and porcine-origin materials."

He said that concern was expressed about presence of veterinary drugs including antibiotics and growth promoters in food-producing animals' feed.

"State drug-licensing authorities are empowered to take action against violators and food safety officers have also been asked to ensure enforcement under FSSAI," said Mr Swami.

In its previous meetings, the FSSAI considered proposals for a policy for addressing concerns regarding standards of meat and poultry products in Indian market. The food authority approved the proposed policy with a view to sending it to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for notification.

Earlier, the central advisory committee meeting of the FSSAI had proposed enforcement of legal provisions and regulations regarding meat and meat products, operations and management of slaughterhouses and animal-handling practices.

After the members of the committee were told of the deplorable conditions in slaughter houses and the unethical practices followed in this sector, it was mentioned that there were reports of illegal slaughter activities in several states.

Members opined that licensing of slaughterhouses may be taken care by the FSSAI and state governments as per current regulations, but the enforcement of the rules and correct practices should be checked by local urban bodies. So far, slaughter house licenses are issued by local urban bodies, and FSSAI aims to take this under its control.

A committee, comprising of the food safety commissioners from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, set to work on a set of good business and regulatory practices on the subject.

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