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Banned antibiotics still available in Thailand

The Thai authorities have officially announced that control over the control of imports of antibiotics will be strengthened. This happened earlier this month when banned antimicrobials were discovered on the open market and the threat of a partial food embargo hung over Thailand.

Last month, Thailand banned the import of nitrofurans and chloramphenicol, trying to convince trading partners that Thai food is not dangerous. This was done after the discovery of traces of nitrofurans in shrimp and chicken meat shipped to Europe.

Nitrofurans are used in veterinary practice, but their use in the livestock industry in European Union (EU) countries has been banned due to the possible risk of developing cancer in people who eat foods containing these drugs. The use of chloramphenicol, associated with the development in humans of hematological disorders and aplastic anemia, has been prohibited in Europe since 1994.

EU officials said import of shrimp and chicken from Thailand would be banned if nitrofurans were detected again in a few weeks.

Rapeeong Vongdee, head of the livestock department at the Thai Ministry of Agriculture, admits that nitrofurans and chloramphenicol are still on sale, judging by recent purchase tests carried out in local stores in the two provinces.

The fact that these drugs can be purchased for free was a complete surprise to officials, as the Thai government has already banned the import of nitrofurans into the country, along with 20 other drugs.

Thailand ranks first among exports of frozen shrimp to the EU and second among exports of chicken. Besides European countries, Thailand's main buyers of poultry are the United States and Japan.