Use of toxic tannery wastes in poultry, fish feeds continues

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan

Dozens of unregistered factories at Hazaribagh in the city continue to produce fish and poultry feeds using toxic tannery wastes as the ingredients posing serious risks to human health, said several eyewitnesses as well as the livestock department officials.
Chemical experts and livestock physicians said that tannery wastes’ chromium and other heavy metals in broiler chicken, eggs and fish could cause serious diseases to human beings.
At least 119 unregistered feed mills at Hazaribagh use toxic tannery wastes as protein source for poultry and fish, a senior livestock official told New Age, preferring anonymity.
Manpower shortage makes it difficult to carry on coordinated drives by different ministries, he said.
According to livestock department, there are only 51 registered feed mills in Bangladesh and none of them is situated at Hazaribagh area.
Officials, however, said all the district and upazila livestock officials had been asked to prepare an updated list of the authorized feed mills soon.
A mobile court of Rapid Action Battalion seized 3,000 sacks of poultry feed made of toxic tanner wastes from Amir Poultry Feed at Hazaribagh and sealed its factory in March, said officials.
The practice of using tannery wastes in producing fish and poultry feeds began years back, said a Hazaribagh feed mill worker Arjo Miah.
The small factories having no names or signboards dry and supply the waste leather dusts to the feed mills, he said.
Dhaka University chemistry professor  Mohammad Abul Hossain  who accompanied the RAB mobile court during the drive, told New Age that effective measures should be taken immediately to stop the use of tannery wastes in poultry and fish feeds.
More than acceptable level of toxic chromium found in poultry meat, brain, liver and skin during laboratory tests was bound to harm human consumers, he said.
Abul Hossain said chromium causes lunch cancer, throat, skin and kidney ulcer besides  liver complications and genetic problems.
When asked, Md Shahidul Islam, director general of livestock department told New Age that mobile court drives would be intensified to stop the production and marketing of adulterated medicines and feeds for animals.
‘The objective of the drives is not to harass anyone but to save life,’ he said.
He also said that the drives would be launched on the basis of specific allegations.

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