Poultry farmers dissatisfied with the feeds sample result

New question of safety for humans to consume such animal products

As per the Department of Livestock (DoL), based on the laboratory findings of feed samples, said that 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.

This is though the department acknowledged that the post mortem examination of dead birds revealed signs of acute toxicity indicative of contamination in feed.

Meanwhile some poultry farmers in the country said that the results were completely unexpected. They said the company has not fairly compensated for the loss of the birds. The ultimate result was a ray of hope for hundreds of distressed poultry farmers.

Prania Pradhan, a poultry owner in Samtse said, “Because the data took so long to get, the toxin and contaminants may have evaporated. Maybe it was toxic if the test was done on time, but I’m at a loss for words right now. They are not releasing the valid result and instead are publishing a press release because there are farmers who are educated and can analyze the data, but we are unable to understand without seeing the data.”

Another poultry owner in Bumthang, Dorji, said that they had been waiting for the results, but there was nothing conclusive when the results were revealed.

“Despite the fact that just a tiny percentage of feed samples were tested positive, the farmers are affected largely by that small number. Furthermore, the cost of feed is increasing. They claim that they cannot determine that the birds died as a result of the feeds, but we farmers know that it was the feed that caused the birds to die,” he said.

Tandin, a farmer in Haa, questioned that why did Karma Feeds compensate for the deaths of so many birds in the first place if there is nothing in the feeds.

“Without a valid test result, I can’t trust that. Playing with medical jargon alone isn’t enough to compensate for the enormous loss that farmers continue to bear,” he said.

According to DoL, the feed samples were delivered on schedule, and they were also submitted to various labs for testing. DoL said that whatever the outcome is, it has been reflected in the press release, and they stand by it.

The results of the feed test have now raised a new worry given the presence of so many chemicals and heavy metals in feeds and how it could ultimately impact human consumers of eggs, meat and other products.

As per BAFRA, they did address the food safety concerns of poultry meat by observing the withdrawal period of the possible toxin, if any, in the recent poultry feed issue. 

On December 2021 a letter was sent to the field officers in different dzongkhags to direct them to ensure that such farms have lapsed at least 15 days after withdrawing the implicated feeds before the farmers dispose poultry birds as meat from the farm affected by the contaminated feeds.

According to BAFRA, it takes time for the poultry birds to metabolize and eliminate the toxin from the bodies. Although the time taken will vary on depending on the dose and type of toxins ingested, a 15-day time period is reasonably enough for the required metabolism and excretion said BAFRA.

In the meantime, BAFRA is working with Karma Feeds Management towards enhancing safety and quality of feeds produced by the feed mill.

BAFRA has already started the works on Good Hygienic and Manufacturing Practices (GHP/GMP) criteria based licensing of the feed mill. It is aimed at instituting a system that will enhance safety and quality of the feeds produced. 

According to BAFRA, testing each batch of feeds produced by the company for safety parameters is not practical because the samples will have to be referred to labs outside the country, and by the time, the test results are out, the shelf life of 60 days of the feeds is almost over.  

For nutritional quality monitoring, BAFRA collects samples periodically and get those tested in the labs within the country.  

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