SERDANG: The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) will prohibit the use of the antibiotic Colistin as a growth agent in food and drinks for animals bred for food, come January 1, says Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.
Those found guilty could risk losing their licences, said the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister.
Colistin is the last line of defence for severe infections, especially when patients are attacked by superbugs.
"This is the first step towards prohibiting the use of antibiotics that are considered critical for humans," said Salahuddin in a press conference here during the Antibiotics Use Awareness Programme at Animal Farms on Saturday (Dec 1).
Salahuddin warned that the DVS would be monitoring animal farms and processing plants, and their licences will be revoked if it was found that the animals or animal products contained antibiotic residue or other drugs.
He also said that the department will phase out the use of other antimicrobial agents that are commonly used in humans in animal food in stages through the ministry.
He also said that any medicine that contains Group B poison such as antibiotics are controlled under the Poisons Act 1952 and can only be prescribed by doctors, licensed veterinarians and pharmacists with verified prescriptions.
Online sale of antibiotics are not allowed under the law, said Salahuddin.
He said that the DVS had also set withdrawal periods for the various antibiotics of at least two weeks before being released into the market.
"This is to ensure that the animals do not suffer from side effects or resistance and that the food are safe," he said.
Salahuddin added that the Ministry is committed to ensuring that the use of antibiotics in animals, are controlled and that they adhere to guidelines set by the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE),especially those bred for food.
This is to ensure that the food is safe for consumption and free from diseases, he said.
Did you find this article insightful?