Dr. A.K. Das, scientist for the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), stressed that antibiotic use in chickens does not have any harmful effects on consumers eating chicken. Das was one of several panelists participating in a discussion that addressed whether chicken consumption was harmful to humans. The discussion was held recently at West Bengal University of Animal Science (WBUAFS) in Kolkata, India.

Das stressed that based on available data and research findings, the presence of antibiotic residues in edible tissues, especially muscle in chicken, are far below the maximum residue level. He also stated that Indian cooking procedures with sufficient time and temperature accelerate losses of antibiotic residues and provide an additional margin of safety for consumers.

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Also participating in the forum was U.K. Bandyopadhyay, IVRI principal scientist. Bandyopadhyay stated that antibiotic resistance is a significant problem and excessive use of antibiotics in human as well as livestock and poultry must be discouraged. However, poultry, alone, should not be blamed for the purpose, he stated. He suggested to stop use of antibiotics as growth promoter in poultry and also advocated to give more emphasis on preventive measures to control diseases rather than antibiotics, which should only be used to cure the diseases.

Dignitaries from WBUAFS, government agencies, the Poultry Federation of West Bengal and representatives from the poultry industry also participated. A position paper on the discussion will be sent to the chief minister of West Bengal.