The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has issued a ban against the use of antibiotics (growth promoter and mould inhibitor) in animal feed.
It has instead, encouraged the use of probiotics, enzymes and other healthy approved methods to enhance the growth and health of animals.
The agency also frowned on the use of acetylene (carbide) to ripen plantain, banana, mango and other foods as well as the use of chemicals to increase quantity of vegetable and palm oil and preservation of grains with dangerous and life threatening pesticides.
The Assistant Director and Head, Animal Feed and Premix Division, Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products, NAFDAC, Doctor Tunde Sigbeku stated this while presenting a paper titled ‘Indiscriminate use of antibiotics in feeds,’ at a one-day food safety stakeholders’ workshop in Lagos on Wednesday.
The event was hosted by the Food Safety Applied Nutrition department of the agency.
Sigbeku said the ban was ordered by the Director- General, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, following concerns about food -related terminal diseases and death that had become a common phenomenon in the country.
He said although use of additives in animal feed was beneficial and a global phenomenon, inappropriate and indiscriminate use had resulted in diseases such as cancer, kidney and other organ failures in Nigeria, “because the veterinary drug residue eventually ends up in the food that is consumed by human beings.”
He said, in Nigeria, most people failed to read the labels on antibiotics, showing dosage and method. They also failed to consult professionals before using some additives in animal feed.
The trend of using additives indiscriminately in animal feed, according to him, has resulted in Antimicrobial Resistance,(the ability of pathogenic microorganism to resist the effect of anti-microbial agents when used to treat internal or external infection), a subject that has become a global concern to both human and animal health.
“The incidence of AMR leads to treatment failure or infections that cannot be easily treated, death and economic loss. This is a real problem in Nigeria because we tend to not finish antibiotic medication or buy only what can be afforded,” he said.
He warned that administering self-medication on animals was a criminal offence and unprofessional, advising people to always patronise recognised and certified veterinary practitioners.