Health Ministry bans Colistin in Animal Food Industry

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued an order prohibiting the manufacture, sale and distribution of colistin and its formulations for food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements.

Why the Ban?

The ban has been imposed on the colistin under the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 due to the following reasons:

  • Colistin is the last-resort antibiotic that saves lives in critical care units. There has been a growing concern about a large number of patients exhibiting resistance to the drug.
  • This has been largely attributed to the arbitrary use of colistin in the food industry, particularly as growth supplements used in animals, poultry, aqua farms, would likely reduce the antimicrobial resistance within the country.

The order issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare now mandates manufacturers of colistin and its formulations (since it is also used to treat humans) to affix a label on the container reading: “Not to be used in food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements: on the package, insert and promotional literature”.

Welcoming the move to ban colistin in the animal food industry the activists have also urged on the need of conducting awareness programme for farmers since most are unaware of the presence of colistin as it comes mixed in the feed.

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