July 27, 2010


Toxic poultry feed in Bangladesh poses health risk


The use of tannery waste in producing feed for fish and poultry poses serious health risk for consumers as the hazardous waste has the possibility of directly entering the food chain.


Experts say consumption of tannery waste through fish and poultry might cause liver and kidney diseases, even cancer. Around 100 small traders in and around Hazaribagh use raw tannery waste as ingredients and supply those to some 20 feed factories across the country. The practice of using tannery waste for fish and poultry feed started around 10 years ago, as the price of imported protein for feed has gone up over the years.


Studies suggest that tannery waste contains a huge amount of chromium, which, if used in poultry or fish feed, enters the food chain. People eating such fish, chicken or eggs may be subjected to cancer or liver and kidney-related diseases.


A study in 2007 by Dhaka University and Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) found higher rate of chromium in eggs and poultry meat than the tolerable level. The samples were collected from Dhaka, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, Tangail, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Munshiganj. Under the study, scientists fed 21 one-day-old chicks the waste-based feed for 42 days and found presence of chromium above the permissible level in their meat, he said.


Prof Abu Zafar Mahmud of Department of Chemistry, Dhaka University, said if chromium and lead remain in the chicken and fish feed, it can be transferred to people consuming these.


Dr Habibullah Talukder, head of the cancer epidemiology department at the National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital (NICRH), said, "Use of tannery waste in poultry and fish feed might cause cancer."


Dr Formuzul Haque, former director of BCSIR, said heavy metals like chromium and lead may cause dangerous diseases like cancer and liver cirrhosis and damage the kidneys.


Such heavy chromium is very much likely to be present in poultry and fish feed manufactured by the Hazaribagh-based factories, as they make meat bone, a protein-rich feed, using tannery waste that comes from tanning of skin-cut.


BCSIR Principal Scientific Officer Shafiqul Islam said around 176 tonnes of solid waste is produced every day at 270 tanneries in the country, 90% of which are located in Hazaribagh.


Meat-bone contains 2.5% chromium, which is only 0.4% in imported protein, he said, adding that around 30 types of chemicals like acid, chromium salt and sodium chloride are used in tanning. Use of tannery waste is severely polluting the environment in Hazaribagh area as the small traders burn it while boiling skin-cut waste.


Moshiur Rahman, adviser of Poultry Feed Industries Association, said big and medium factories don't use tannery waste as they try to maintain quality to sustain in the competitive market.

Video >

Follow Us