HC bans antibiotics for cows without prescription

M Moneruzzaman | Published: 18:20, Jul 16,2019 | Updated: 23:39, Jul 16,2019


The High Court Division on Tuesday banned administering antibiotics to cows without prescription from veterinarians.

The court issued the ban after antibiotics and lead were found in cow milk.   

Veterinarians told New Age that farmers administer dexamethasone, betamethasone periactine and other steroids to fatten cows in 15 days for selling before Eid.

They said that steroid residue gets into consumers blood, liver, kidney, heart and lung and affect functioning of lung, liver, kidney and heart.

The court also directed Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority to submit reports at the next hearing on July 28 explaining what legal action they took against producers and marketers of 11 brands of bacteria contaminated pasteurised milk.

The BFSA informed the court that during lab tests  bacteria and lead were found 11 brands of pasteurised milk supplied by government run Milk Vita as well as  Aarong, Farm Fresh, Aftab Milk, IGLOO, Ultra Milk, PRAN Milk, Ayran, Pura and Safe.

The respondents were also asked to explain in  what legal action they took against the  producers and marketers of 50 brands of liquid cow milk in which cadmium bacteria was  found.

The lab test reports were submitted by the BFSA to comply with a suo moto directive that was issued by a bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam  on May 21.

The bench also asked the livestock ministry and the dairy milk companies to explain by July 28 why they would not be directed to partially use their corporate social responsibility funds to improve the quality of the dairy products.

The court had directed the BFSA to get pasteurised milk and raw cow milk tested at labs to ascertain whether or not they were bacteria infected and lead contaminated since the BSTI described the test report of the Institute of Public Health as ‘incorrect’.

The IPH found bacteria and lead in 96 raw cow milk  samples, 31 brands of pasteurised milk sold in poly bags, 30 curd brans sold in  containers and 30 fodder samples collected from the capital, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Savar, Ashulia, and Keraniganj.

The IPH had found salmonella, escherichia coli, aflatoxin and residues of deadly pesticides like endosulfan as well as chromium and lead in 190 samples of cow milk, curd and fodder that were tested between August and December 2018.

Food safety lab chief prof Shahnila Ferdousi who carried out IPH’ study report, had also submitted to the court the list of the companies that market contaminated cow milk and milk products.

On February 11, the bench in a suo moto ruling directed the BSTI and BFSA to submit the list of companies that market bacteria contaminated cow milk, curd and fodder.

The Anti-Corruption Commission was asked to take action against the companies that market adulterated milk and cattle feed.

On Sunday another bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir directed the BSTI to hold fresh tests of 14 brands of pasteurised milk at four government laboratories in seven days since the BSTI had no labs to detect bacteria, formalin, antibiotics, detergent and acidity in milk.

The bench had also asked the BSTI to submit four separate test reports at the next hearing on July 23.

It had passed the order after the BSTI submitted   that it had no facilities to detect bacteria, antibiotics and detergent in pasteurised milk.

The court asked the BSTI to collect samples of pasteurised milk with assistance from technicians of icddr,b, the IPH, the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute.

The BSTI also expressed doubts about the accuracy of the tests done by Biomedical Research Centre of Dhaka University Faculty of Pharmacy.

DU BRC found bacteria, antibiotics and detergent in pasteurised milk samples.

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