Consumer Education and Research Center (CERC),a leading consumer rights organisation in India, has written to McDonald’s, Subway and KFC calling on them to stop serving meat and poultry from animals routinely given antibiotics used in human medicine.
CERC has also strongly urged the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to take urgent actions to prevent the presence of antibiotic residues in food products which is a serious health threat.
In a statement issued by the United Nations recognized Indian NGO based at Ahmedabad, on the eve of the world consumer rights day, this evening it said that it has written to McDonald’s, Subway and KFC.
‘Antibiotic residues in food products like milk, honey, eggs and chicken is a serious health threat today as it leads to the emergence of ‘superbugs’ – microorganisms which are resistant to antibiotics. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that, without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which important medicines stop working and common infections and minor injuries will once again kill people.’ the statement said adding that its writing to the restaurant chains was a part of Consumers International’s (CI) plan – World Consume Rights Day. CI’s theme this year is ‘Antibiotics off the menu’.
In India, the Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants. Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011 regulates antibiotic use only in sea food. It is essential that antibiotic use and residue limits are defined for other food items too, it said.
CERC has also urged FSSAI to take urgent action to prohibit the use of antibiotics which are critical for humans as growth promoters and for mass disease prevention in poultry, dairy and other animals.
To Set standards for residues and limits for antibiotics use in poultry, dairy and meat industries.CERC has also written to the Ministry of Health, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MoCA). It is urging them to ensure that a country wide system is set up for surveillance and monitoring use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance in food producing animals.
‘We have also written to Amul, Dabur and Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd on the issue. Also, we are campaigning through an online petition and urging other consumer groups to support our advocacy,’ the statement said adding that people should opt for organic milk and meat products and free-range eggs where hens are not caged and are treated more ethically.
‘When you are ill, always ask your doctor whether it is necessary to take an antibiotic. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) recently asked doctors not to prescribe antibiotics for adults suffering from common cold, bronchitis, sore throat or sinus infection,’ the statement said stressing on the need for spreading of awareness on the issue.