Authorities test imported poultry for antibiotics


Following a recent food safety scandal in Poland dubbed the “Antibiotic Affair” and a similar revelation in neighbouring Slovakia, where traces of antibiotics were uncovered in animal farming, the Czech authorities last week launched tests on imported poultry. The inspection team tested an overall 61 samples – luckily all were found to be negative.

Photo: Barbora KmentováPhoto: Barbora Kmentová From industrial salt in various foods to horsemeat in meatballs to antibiotics in poultry: there seems no to be no end to recent scandals in animal farming and food safety, leaving more consumers than ever understandably worried. Following the most recent scandal in Poland as well as traces of antibiotics found in samples in Slovakia, the Czech authorities wasted little time in checking imported poultry from several countries inlcuding Poland and Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, and Brazil.

Forty-two samples were tested for metronizadole and the additional 19 for traces of other antibiotics. The former is not labelled for animal use and is prohibited in animals used for food, not least by the US Food and Drug Administration. Luckily, all 61 samples of imported poultry in the Czech Republic tested negative. The outgoing agriculture minister Petr Bendl told Czech Radio that veterinary officials had conducted dozens of checks on poultry sold in supermarkets, by monitoring distribution before packaged meat was sent on to smaller sellers or large chain stores. Minister Petr Bendl:

“Officials monitored stations from where poultry is distributed further. There were dozens of checks and all proved negative. They focussed on all countries that import poultry to the Czech Republic and the aim was to find evidence of any of the substances reportedly found in Poland and Slovakia.”

Petr Bendl, photo: Filip JandourekPetr Bendl, photo: Filip Jandourek The outgoing agriculture minister confirmed that following the news of the food safety scandal in Poland, the ministry sent a request for a written explanation or appraisal of the situation within a matter of days. According to Mr Bendl, however, the answer received was vague enough to make it clear that the domestic authorities would be better off conducting their own round of checks to ensure that poultry being imported was antibiotic-free and safe. The minister also told Czech Radio that even though he and the rest of the cabinet has only hours left in power, he expected his successor to continue to push for tougher restrictions in food safety, saying they were - and would remain - a clear priority.