THAT a mobile court has caught four factories red handed in the act of producing poultry feed using waste material from tanneries is an exercise that must lauded. We have covered this issue in our paper previously and the health hazards caused in the human anatomy as a direct result of consuming poultry and fish that have fed on such fake and poisonous feed. Although the pre-Eid drive has confirmed existence of illicit activity by a section of producers, much more needs to be done on a wider scale to tackle this latest threat to public health. The Department of Livestock estimates there are around 100 factories in Hazaribagh making protein concentrates from solid waste generated from tanneries located there.
Given the gravity of the situation, it has become imperative to frame rules and regulations under the recently formulated food safety act. There is need for better coordination among various government agencies including law enforcement to tackle this health menace. To put things in perspective, the fish industry alone requires an estimated 3 million tonnes of feed per annum and hence there will always be an incentive for corrupt practices. Containing this illicit business will require a lot more measures, both in terms of legislation and actions on the ground to be effective. Equally important is the need to recognise and protect the existing formal feed sector in the country that has propelled the growth explosion in poultry and fisheries industries. There are good factories that are compliant which must be given due recognition and encouraged by the government. Conversely, the criminal few cannot be allowed to play havoc with peoples' health and tarnish the image of an important sector of the economy.