IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


6th July, 2024 Health


Source: DownToEarth

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC), advisory to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has recommended ban on Import, production, distribution, and sale of chloramphenicol and nitrofurans for use in food animal production systems.


  • In 2019, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) banned colistin in food-producing animals.
  • The DCC's recommendation will be reviewed by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB).
  • Pending final approval, the ban would be enforced across the food production and animal husbandry sectors.

Reasons for the Ban

  • Antibiotic Misuse: Concerns about misuse in poultry and other animal feed supplements, contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): Addressing the global health issue of AMR.
  • Food Safety: Enhancing the safety of food products and preventing antibiotic residues in exports.

Specific Antibiotics Targeted

  • Chloramphenicol:
    • Usage: Broad-spectrum antibiotic used for infections like eye infections, enteric fever, typhoid fever, and acute bacterial meningitis.
    • WHO Classification: Highly Important Antimicrobial (HIA).
    • Detection: Still detected in exported shrimp despite bans.
    • Maximum Residue Limits: 0.0003 mg/kg.
  • Nitrofurans:
    • Usage: Includes derivatives like furaltadone, furazolidone, nitrofurantoin (used for urinary tract infections).
    • WHO Classification: Important Antimicrobials (IA).
    • Detection: Present in exported shrimp, causing rejections in markets like the EU, USA, and Japan.
    • Maximum Residue Limits: 0.001 mg/kg.

Regulatory and Industry Response

  • Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA): Proposed the ban to curb antibiotic misuse and enhance food safety.
  • Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD): Supported the proposal through the Empowered Committee on Animal Health (EACH).
  • Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI): Established stringent residue limits in 2018 for various antibiotics, including nitrofurans and chloramphenicol.


  • Food Export Industry: Aims to reduce rejections of Indian seafood in international markets.
  • Public Health: Preserves the efficacy of antibiotics for human medicine by reducing antibiotic resistance.
  • Global Standards: Aligns Indian regulations with international standards in the EU and USA, which have already banned these antibiotics in food-producing animals.

Ban on Colistin in Food-Producing Animals

  • Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic used to treat multi-drug resistant infections in humans.
  • WHO Classification: Listed as a Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobial (HPCIA).
  • Reports, including a 2021 report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), highlighted the use of HPCIAs and other critically important antimicrobials in the animal food production sectors in India.



WHO Classification


Regulatory Status in India

Key Reasons for Ban



Last-resort antibiotic for multi-drug resistant infections

Banned in 2019

To prevent antimicrobial resistance and preserve its efficacy for human medicine


Highly Important Antimicrobial (HIA)

Broad-spectrum antibiotic for various infections

Recommended for ban in 2024

To prevent misuse and reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals

Nitrofurans (e.g., nitrofurantoin)

Important Antimicrobial (IA)

Treatment of urinary tract infections

Recommended for ban in 2024

To address the presence of residues in food exports and enhance food safety

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Q: The proposed ban on chloramphenicol and nitrofurans by the DCC represents a significant step towards controlling antibiotic misuse and enhancing food safety in India. Explain. (250 Words)