Vol. 4 Num 213 Wed. December 31, 2003  

Toxic poultry feed
A pressing public health concern
Poultry feed is being produced through using tannery wastes without necessary treatment and sterilisation. The news has further lengthened the long list of public health hazards.

Experts have pointed out that poultry feed produced from tannery wastes without sterilisation is harmful both to the poultry birds and consumers of eggs and chicken. So the magnitude of the health hazard can easily be gauged.

The problem stems primarily from the fact that poultry feed producers are not always using the scientific methods and not going by the health and hygiene standards. Poultry is a fast growing sector which contributes significantly to the economy. However, the latest finding shows that things are not being handled the way they ought to be in this area.

The number of consumers of eggs and chicken is big and there will be an adverse impact on public health if toxic or contaminated substances are allowed to pass on to the consumers through poultry feed.

What is, however, most surprising is that the government department and ministry concerned have said that they are unaware of any such production of poultry feed. That only goes to show that there is no monitoring on poultry feed production.

Now that the government agencies have come to know that poultry feed is being produced by some people in violation of health standards, they must act swiftly to stop such production. Without question, public health and the interests of the poultry industry should be uppermost in the minds of the decision-makers.

The finding should also help them realise that better monitoring is needed for a sector like poultry which supplies protein to numerous people. Corrupt practices and the tendency to make extra profit at the cost of public health have to be curbed. It must also be ensured that the poultry feed producers, and all others working in this sector, become sensitised about the health hazards and do not violate the rules.