The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported in 2017 that as much as 80% of antibiotic use is on farm animals. More antibiotics are used on animals than on humans.

Antibiotics is used on animal farms as a growth promoter, to prevent disease outbreak and lastly to treat sick animals/

Misuse of antibiotics in farm animals is said to be a greater cause of bacterial resistance than misuse of the drugs in humans.

Modern intensive farming of livestock — according to the UN, account for 72% of poultry, 42% of egg, and 55% of pork production globally.

According to in April 2018 in the Journal of Food Protection, “Residues of … antibiotics (used) in poultry meat have been determined in many … studies globally and are considered one of the possible causes of antibacterial resistance in human pathogens. The presence of residues of antibiotics in poultry meat and meat products beyond maximum permissible limits is a matter of serious concern.”

Another study published in the journal, Food Control (October 2017) indicated a high level of antibiotic residues in meat, milk and aquatic products.

The study screened 20 common antibiotic residues in 125 samples from common types of livestock and poultry meat, milk and aquatic products in Shanghai.

The result: 15 of 20 antibiotics were found with a frequency of 39.2%.

Antibiotics were found in 28.6% of livestock and poultry meat (35.3% for pork and 22.2% for chicken), 10.6% of milk, and 52.1% of aquatic products.

Do meats and aquatic products in Malaysia have antibiotic residues?  In May 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned shrimp and prawns from Malaysia because they contained 2 banned antibiotics, chloramphenicol and nitrofurans.

Ironically, these 2 antibiotics have been banned for use in Malaysia since 1985. Yet they continue to pop up in our farmed fisheries — as well as farmed meat products.

In the late-1980s CAP’s investigations found commercial pig and poultry farms using chloramphenicol. In 2002, the Health Ministry Parliamentary Secretary revealed that nitrofuran and chloramphenicol had been found in chickens tested.

In November 2012, the Sarawak State Veterinary Authority banned the import of certain Ayamas processed food products into the state due to the detection of chloramphenicol in a sample of a chicken frankfurter.

CAP in its surveys have found the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in commercial poultry and pig farms and the sale of antibiotics in shops selling animal feeds. As recent as January 2016, CAP found the antibiotics erythromycin was widely available in shops selling animal feed in Kedah and Perlis.

We were informed that the antibiotic is recommended to be routinely fed to animals as a growth promoter.