Health Ministry bans Colistin in Animal Food Industry

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has banned manufacture, sale and distribution of antibiotic, Colistin as well as its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements. The ban is announced in a bid to preserve drug’s efficacy in humans.

What is Colistin?

It is a valuable, last-resort antibiotic that saves lives in critical care units. It is effective against most Gram-negative bacilli. It is also known as polymyxin E.

It is an antibiotic for therapeutic purpose in veterinary but it is highly misused in poultry industry as a growth promoter for prophylactic purpose. Thus one of reason for antibiotic resistance in India is due to unwanted use of Colistin in poultry industry.

Issue: In recent years, medical professionals have been alarmed by number of patients who have exhibited resistance to this drug. In late 2018 researchers from Apollo Cancer Hospital, Chennai claimed that samples of raw food lifted from across Chennai had tested positive for colistin-resistant bacteria.

Key Highlights about Colistin Ban

The ban has been imposed under provisions of section 26A of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Reason: As per the notification issued by Centre in regard of ban, it was brought to notice of Central government that use of drug Colistin and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements is likely to involve risk to human beings thus following which Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), government’s top advisory body on technical matters related to drugs in India considered the matter and recommended prohibiting Colistin.

Health Ministry also directed that manufacturers of colistin and its formulations (as it is also used to treat humans) shall affix a label on container of drug reading: Not to be used in food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements: on package, insert and promotional literature.

Significance: The move is a massive victory for movement against anti-microbial resistance. As per experts, the ban would ensure that colistin does not enter food people eat, and thus people don’t develop resistance to the antibiotic.




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  • Prashant Dhawan

    Thank for sharing this information very helpful