Over thousands of birds died and thousands of birds were affected across the country on December 2021 due to the suspected tainted feeds.
Department of Livestock (DoL) carried out postmortem examinations of the affected birds and screening of major poultry viral diseases. According to the department, the post mortem examinations revealed gross pathology of visceral organs indicative of signs of acute toxicity. The rapid test on tissues, swabs and excreta of the dead birds did not reveal the causes of major viral pathogens which rules out viruses.
Given the lack of testing capacity in the country for certain tests, the DoL sent the Karma Feeds sample for poultry feed to laboratories in India and Thailand.
According to the press release issued by the Department of Livestock, the feed samples from suspected batches of Karma Feeds were tested for mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides, fungicides, microbial and nutrient contents.
A total of seventy-five (75) feed samples from suspected batches of Karma Feeds were referred to different laboratories, both inside and outside the country.
As per the findings of the laboratory tests, Mycotoxins were detected in 21 of the 42 samples tested. Only seven samples, however, exceeded the permitted level. Only Aflatoxins, Fumonisin, and Ochratoxins could be tested out of the mycotoxins requested for testing. Laboratories in India and Thailand carried out the test.
Except for chromium in one sample, all 43 samples tested had one or more heavy metals but were below maximum tolerable limits. Heavy metals were detected in samples at laboratories in Bhutan, India, and Thailand.
Pesticides and fungicides were not discovered in any of the eight samples examined in Bhutan and India.
21 samples tested in laboratories in India and Thailand did not detect major bacterial pathogens.
10 samples were tested for nutrient content in the country and all samples met the prescribed minimum nutrient requirement standards.
However, release stated that the post mortem examination of dead birds revealed signs of acute toxicity indicative of contamination in feed.
“However, based on the laboratory findings of feed samples, it cannot be ascertained conclusively as to what in the feed caused the morbidity and mortality in birds considering only a small number of feed samples tested positive for mycotoxins and metals above permissible levels,” it stated.
Some livestock farmers are not happy with the earlier compensation package worked out by the Department of Livestock with Karma Feed, saying they were not consulted and the amount was not adequate.