Your favourite chicken dish may make you sick
New Delhi: Sep 21 :For non-vegetarians, here is a note of caution. Your favourite dishes like Butter Chicken or Chicken Chettinad prolong your illness as medicines don’t work because of antibiotic resistance, thanks to a copious contribution from the poultry sector.
India faces an overuse of antibiotics in human medicines along with an extremely high and increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. The highly growing poultry sector, where these drugs are used in abundance, helps in developing the resistance. Chickens and pigs consume most of the antibiotics used in food animals around the world.
High consumption growth
The growth in chicken consumption is primarily the result of the expansion of the poultry sector in India alone, where areas of high consumption are expected to grow by 312 per cent by 2030, said Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of Washington-based Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy. It was this body that had brought out the first global report on antibiotic resistance.
Delhi, Mumbai and southern coastlines are the areas where the growth is the maximum. “Antibiotic consumption in the form of feed (for growth promotion and preventing infections) by poultry leads to harbouring resistant bacteria in the intestines of chicken. When the chicken is dressed, the meat is contaminated with its intestinal bacteria and resistant bacteria are transferred to humans while handling the meat and with consumption,” he told Deccan Herald. India has the world’s highest burden of bacterial infections.
In Asia, antibiotic consumption in chicken, mostly unregulated, is expected to grow by 129 per cent by 2030.
Currently, India has no regulatory provisions for the use of antimicrobial in cattle, chicken, and pigs raised for domestic consumption.
Recent studies in various regions of India have discovered antimicrobial residues in food animal product, including chicken meat and milk.
This indicates that antibiotic use in food animal production is widespread and current regulation is non-existent.
Cooking helps a little
While cooking does help to some extent, it can not remove all traces of antibiotic from the meat. “Cooking will lower the level of antibiotic residues. However, complete elimination depends on the duration of cooking and type of antibiotic,” said Laxminarayanan, who is also the vice president for Research and Policy at the Public Health Foundation of India.
Food animals certainly play a role in transferring resistant bacteria or resistant genes to humans. It is not only the antibiotic residues in chickens that can cause resistance in human bacteria once exposed but also the bacteria present in the intestines of the fowl, he said.EOM