The recent media reports on the use of veterinary drugs, including antibiotics, in poultry supplied to a fast food chain have raised concerns in some people.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), prudent use of veterinary drugs (including antibiotics) has tremendous benefits for animal health and judicious use of antibiotics in agriculture should reduce the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria in animals and on produce, and minimise public health risks. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) takes similar view on the issue.

In accordance to the power conferred by the Harmful Substances in Food Regulation (Cap.132AF) and Imported Games, Meats and Poultry Regulation (Cap.132AK), the CFS has legal power to control the level of over 40 veterinary medicines in food as well as to stipulate the need to import games, meats and poultry with official health certificate, therefore protecting the health of the public.

The CFS has collected over 400 samples of poultry products in 2014 for tests of antibiotics, and all results passed the test. In 2012 and 2013, the CFS collected around 350 samples per annum and only one fresh chicken sample was tested positive for chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline which exceeded the legal limit in March 2013.

The CFS has initiated the dialogue with the concerned restaurant on the matter and will continue liaise with the restaurant for more information related to the use of veterinary drugs (including antibiotics) in the imported poultry products.

Since the detection of report, the CFS has already been embarking on a new round of surveillance which collects concerned poultry products from the markets for test of veterinary drugs. Investigation is still ongoing.