LAHORE: Chicken meat, once considered a luxury, has now become the cheapest source of animal protein in the country, said Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Founder Chairman Khalil Sattar.
He said that at present, chicken’s diet mostly constitutes corn, broken rice, wheat bran, corn by-products, oil seed meals and vegetable oil, etc.
“On the basis of rapid weight gain, the consumers would jump to the conclusion that they are fed hormones,” he asserted.
“If it were so, firstly, the FDA would lodge criminal cases against the producers and besides, the consumer would file suits of billions of dollars against such producers.”
He added that the weight gain in the US in broilers is far greater than what is in Pakistan without the use of any hormones. “Had the poultry industry in Pakistan been using hormones, there would be a colossal import of hormones in the country duly reflected in the customs import figures,” he argued.
“Pakistan produces over 1.2 billion broilers (meat-type chicken) annually, placed at 11th largest producer in the world.”
He said that the US, Brazil and Argentina, because of the low price of edible oils and feed grains, produce feed with much higher energy content than that produced in Pakistan.
“For example, a broiler chick there gains more than two kilograms weight in five weeks while in Pakistan it takes about six weeks to gain the same weight,” he said. “Since there are only three major companies providing poultry genetic material, the chicken available in Pakistan is the same genetic package as is available in the US, Europe, India, Brazil, Argentina, China, and elsewhere in the world.”
He said that most large producers in the country have modern state-of-the-art laboratories equipped with Elisa, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and necessary equipment for virus and bacterial isolation in order to evaluate the health status of the chicken.
“Regular tests are carried out according to a schedule to ensure that the chicken is free of viruses, bacterial contaminants particularly Salmonella, which is a transmittable bacteria injurious to human health and of course, is extremely harmful for the chicken itself,” added Khalil.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2018.