November 5, 2007


Pakistan bans imports of nitrofuran



The government of Pakistan government has banned imports of nitrofuran -- an antibiotic used in feed meal -- in compliance with the international feed safety regulations.


The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) of the European Union (EU) has long been persuading the Pakistani government to prevent the use of this antibiotic in feed meal of fish and shrimps.


A Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) will be issued within a few days by the Fisheries and Livestock department.


Farmers have been nitrofuran in poultry feeds to reduce the rate of mortality.


Despite EU's repeated warnings, a large number of Pakistani farmers have been using the antibiotic in fish feed meal which resulted to numerous returns of Pakistani seafood exports to the region last year.


The EU has earlier inspected seafood processing plants in Pakistan and has recommended reduction of antibiotics in its seafood products.


The Pakistani government has taken the step following the recommendations of the EU inspection team and will send the report by next month to the FVO.


The pharmaceutical sector, which earlier used the harmful nitrofuran as ingredient of some medicines, has already banned the application of the chemical. But farmers have been using the chemical for long as veterinary drug in hatcheries and meal for poultry farms.