Unhygienic poultry feed and poor bird health poses human health risk

06-05-2008 | | |

The Daily Times reports that approx. 100,000 birds are consumed daily in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Ensuring a high standard of poultry feed and bird health is imperative.

Pakistan environmentalists and veterinary experts say the preparation of unhygienic poultry feed, improper disposal of poultry waste and absence of legislation concerning feed ingredients and medication pose a serious threat to human health.
Poultry feed
Senior environmentalist Azharuddin said poultry feed was mostly prepared in unhygienic conditions and no scientific measures were followed to gauge its nutritional value. “Feed is prepared in big pans in the open and ingredients are added lump sum without any measurement,” he said, adding that feed ingredients like fishmeals and blood meals were often contaminated with heavy metal ingredients. He believes that unbalanced feed composition was responsible for the presence of fungus, salmonella and e-coli in birds consumed in the country.
Drugs and medicines
Veterinary doctor Dr Shaukat said growth-promoting drugs and medicines were administrated for prolonged period during the bird’s time of peak production or as it neared slaughter, giving rise to residue formation in edible tissues. He said the drug residue in the medicated animals, including poultry birds, ultimately became part of the human body.
“If a medicine is having a residual effect of one week, it means it must not be slaughtered for one week otherwise the effect of medicine could remain in meat of the animal. If the animal is consumed by humans before one week, its residual effect would be transferred to them,” said veterinary doctor Dr Marwat Ali.
Dr Ali went on to say that normally six different types of vaccines were injected to birds but some farm owners skipped vaccinations to save money. Skipping vaccines sometimes led to health problems, he said, adding that eating infected, unhealthy birds could causes illness among humans.
He believes that the government needs to regulate the poultry industry in the larger interest of consumers.