FDA starts investigation on use of oxytocin on cattle

Following MiD DAY’s expose on the illegal use of oxytocin injections on cattle to extract more milk from them, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has initiated an investigation in the case, to bring to book the suppliers who are delivering the drug on request, to tabelas across the city.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Mohan Kekatpure, who is FDA’s assistant commissioner for Zone-VI, said, “We have taken a serious note of the report published in MiD DAY, which reveals that tabela owners in the western suburbs are still injecting oxytocin into their buffalos. We have already started our investigation and will take strict action against the manufacturer and supplier of the drug.”

The FDA official also told MiD DAY that in 2006, a consignment of oxytocin shipped to Bhiwandi from Kolkata was seized by FDA. “In 2006, we had got a tip-off that a batch of oxytocin had come to Bhiwandi from Kolkata. We immediately seized it.”

MiD DAY’s lead story yesterday had been the culmination of a two-month-long investigation, which exposed how cattle in tabelas are being injected with a hormone called oxytocin twice every day, in violation of a government ban. While the drug forces the cattle to expel a few extra litres of milk, drinking the same may severely harm young children, causing them to experience hormonal problems like premature puberty and gynaecomastia (‘Banned drug injected into cattle is poisoning your milk’). Our reporters visited tabelas in the western suburbs and managed to get their hands on bottles of oxytocin at each of their pit stops.

The drug has been declared a schedule drug by the FDA, which has banned its sale without a prescription from a registered medical practitioner. Dairies are using the drug with impunity, and without prescriptions, having obtained it from private suppliers. Our reporters even ran into a man called Sohail, who admitted to supplying the drug in plastic containers to tabelas across the western suburbs.

An official from FDA expressed shock at the expose, and admitted that the FDA has been lax in its duty to keep a strict eye on the use of veterinary medicines.
Dairy Development and Animal Husbandry Minister Madhukar Chavan said, “If at all any tabela owners are using the banned medicine to inject into buffaloes, strict action will be taken against them. I will immediately ask the Dairy commissioner to look into the matter.” 

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