Lalitpur, December 13:

A study conducted by a senior veterinary officer at the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) has detected antibiotics in 12.33 per cent of the milk samples collected from the Valley. However, the country still does not have any standards to know how much residual content of antibiotic in milk products is harmful for human health.

“A total of 300 milk samples comprising 150 each from commercial dairy processing plants and the local milk producers were collected to study the presence of antibiotic residues,” said Dr Poornima Manandhar, senior veterinary officer at CVL. The Microbiological Disc Assay (MDA) was used for the purpose. Among the total samples collected, antibiotic residues were observed in 37 samples (12.33 pc).

There were 10 per cent antibiotic residues in milk samples of the commercial dairy plants, whereas those collected from the local milk producers contained 14.6 per cent.

Senior Veterinary Officer at the Department of Livestock Service Dr Banshi Sharma said not all the antibiotics are harmful. “However, the antibiotics which are not used by human beings can affect human health. And this can also be the cause of allergy to some people.”

Dr Sharma said regular consumption of chloromphenicol residue of antibiotic can lead to cancer”. He said the absence of a veterinary drug act has made it difficult to monitor and take action against the wrongdoers. He said the draft of the Veterinary Drug Act has been sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives for approval.

Experts said there is no mechanism to monitor the quality of milk being sold in the market. Farmers sell milk when their cattle are undergoing treatment. The residue of antibiotics used for the cattle when they fall sick remains in their milk for a few days.

CVL chief Dr Rewati Man Shrestha said this was a preliminary study and that the CVL is preparing to study all milk samples collected from all over the country and create awareness among the people about the antibiotic residue and its impact on human health. “This is only a qualitative test and a number of quantitative tests should be conducted,” Shrestha said.