Tannery waste still being used in poultry feed

Ahamed Ullah

29 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Despite the High Court ban on the use of tannery waste to make poultry and fish feed, some dishonest businessmen are producing poultry feed using such toxic tannery waste in the capital.

Some profit mongering dishonest traders are engaged in producing the feed ignoring the ban and supplying those in different areas of the country.

The use of tannery waste in producing poultry and fish feed poses serious risks to human health as people are eating fish and meat fattened by such toxic feed.

Experts opine that poultry feed produced by animal waste without proper sterilization may contain bacteria, aflatoxins and other elements, it could be a serious health hazard to public health.  

Consumption of tannery waste through eating fish and poultry might lead to liver and kidney diseases and even cancer, they said.

The Bangladesh Pure Food Ordinance 2005 prohibits the use of any poisonous chemicals or ingredients in any food items, which may cause harm to humans. But the periodic tests by various organizations find the presence of harmful and banned items in food products almost routinely.

A study in 2007 by Dhaka University and Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research found chromium in eggs and poultry meat higher than the tolerable level.

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

As the tannery industry moved to Savar, everyone thought that Hazaribagh could no longer have any poultry and fish feed factory.

But Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) recently uncovered poultry feed industries responsible for producing poultry feed by using tannery waste in Hazaribagh area of old Dhaka city.

Sources said tannery owners at Savar sell the waste to feed makers instead of dumping it.

On June 19, a mobile court of RAB sentenced ten persons to a two-year imprisonment each for using tannery waste in the unhygienic production of poultry and fish feed in city’s Hazaribag area.

Executive Magistrate of RAB Sarwar Alam led the court.

The court fined different factories Tk 24 lakh and also sealed off six factories and law enforcers seized 2,800 tonnes of toxic poultry and fish feed from the spot.

“We had no idea that these factories are still now in Hazaribagh. But on the basis of the secret information we came to know that there are factories.”

“After getting the information, we conducted the drive. Although there are no tannery factories in Hazaribagh, the owners of these factories bring tannery waste from Savar,” he added.

On April 2, the High Court directed the authorities concerned of the government to immediately stop the operation of poultry and fish feed factories across the country that use hazardous tannery waste for production and to submit a report to it after complying with the directive within a month.

The practice of using tannery waste for fish and poultry feed began around 10 years ago as the price of imported protein for fish and poultry feed has gone up over the years.