Wednesday, 5 October, 2022

Progress in poultry production, but …

It is heartening to know that Bangladesh has become the third largest chicken producer in South Asia and the country’s poultry industry has achieved self-sufficiency in meeting local demand for meat and eggs. It is an important milestone for the country because among all the sub-sectors of the livestock sector, poultry stands out as the most important one as chicken and egg are the primary source of our protein. Apart from being the primary source of protein, the sector also employs around six million people and contributes about 1.5 percent to the country’s GDP.

However, in spite of the massive growth of poultry industry, the prices of chicken and eggs have been rising gradually. Another area of concern is that these commonly consumed food items are now under assault of contamination. Researchers have found extreme presence of chromium, a chemical used in tanning hides, by examining blood, meat, bone, liver, brain and skin of chickens.

Reportedly, a certain type of cheap but toxic poultry-feed produced from tannery wastes are being fed to chickens in various farms. Thus the toxic feed is contaminating the chicken meats and eggs. The researchers are of the view that as contaminated chicken, meat and eggs are entering the food chain, those can damage liver and kidney, and cause cancer and other diseases. As these foodstuffs are commonly fed to the children, it may also lead to infanticide. This is alarming and highly likely to incur widespread danger to public health.

The Department of Livestock Services and the Department of Fisheries, responsible for maintaining quality of animal feed, has already banned production of fish feed and poultry feed from tannery wastes. But authorities should increase monitoring to enforce the law to keep crucial foodstuffs out of adulteration. We think if tannery owners were barred from selling any tannery wastes and proper disposal of the wastes were ensured, this illegal and fatal practice could be curbed to a large extent. Therefore, efforts must be made so that the impressive success in poultry production doesn’t go in vain.