States urged to curb sales of veterinary antibiotics as Indian shrimp exports face hurdles


The country’s top drug regulatory authority has asked states and union territories to restrict the availability and use of banned veterinary antibiotics used in aquaculture, such as for shrimp, has learned.

The decision was taken after the chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) – a department under the Ministry of Trade and Industry – wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Ministry of Health and family welfare, calling for “effective measures” to be taken to restrict the availability and use of banned antibiotics in all food-producing animals, including shrimp and fish.

This is not the first time that MPEDA has asked the government to look into the matter. Following receipt of the request, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) issued several letters to regulate sales beginning April 28, 2020.

MPEDA’s decision, in turn, is the result of constant nudging by global food importers.

What’s fishy?

According to a recent report in the Financial Times, India has quickly become one of the largest producers of shellfish in the world and is ranked as the number one supplier of shrimp to the United States.

The report says India’s fast-growing food sector has “become a test bed for drug use and abuse”.

In response, according to the report, importing countries have become more strict about India as a source of shrimp. “The EU has increased the rate of antibiotic residue testing in Indian shrimp shipments, according to a 2020 industry study for the trade journal Reviews in Aquaculture.”

He also said US regulators even resorted to rejecting some Indian shipments after detecting antibiotics.

Experts quoted in the article argue that it can be difficult to gauge the extent of antibiotic overuse in India’s shrimp industry. However, they warn that there is evidence of high utilization, as growers administer treatments “preventively or to promote growth.”

Which drug regulatory body has asked states, UTs

CDSCO has called on state and UT drug regulatory authorities to authorize the use of drugs only in accordance with the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules of 1945, and to educate chemists and associations pharmacists under their jurisdiction to sell antibiotics for veterinary use only by prescription. veterinary practitioners.

Apart from the sales, the office of the Comptroller General of Drugs of India, VG Somani, has instructed its officials to send the “report on action taken” for the past two years to the MPEDA.

The extensive use of antibiotics in feed to rid fish of disease poses a danger to the human body, and some states have taken action on their own.

For example, West Bengal has banned the use of 20 antibiotics in fish feed. The state government has formed a task force to carry out raids on the market.

Following nationwide complaints of getting sick from consuming fish, the state also launched a campaign against banned antibiotics like nitrofurantoin or chloramphenicol, which are usually mixed in fish food in the market.

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