HEALTH and Consumer Affairs minister, Aina Castillo, has reiterated the message issued at the weekend that there is no reason for people to change their eating habits following the detection of the use of a toxic antiobotic on three farms in the region.
On 26 November, the Balearic government had confirmed the detection of the use of the prohibited cloranfenicol in samples taken at the three establishments but authorities gave assurances that the moment that its presence was suspected, activities of the farms in question, one dealing in chickens, a second in hens and a third in pigs, were shut down and their livestock prevented from going to market.
The case was reported to the Spanish Food Safety Agency and further specimens of animal feed, water and animal products were taken.
Ministries for Health and Agriculture explained that cloranfenicol is used in treatments on human beings, where it can only do any damage if it gets into the alimentary canal where it can reduce resistance to bacteria like any other antibiotic. It can also cause anaemia if it is consumed in high doses.
Cloranfenicol was prohibited within the European Union in 1994, when until that time, it had been used to improve animal health, but in no case whatsoever as a fattening agent confirmed the Balearic government, whose sources then emphasised that people in the Balearics have no cause for alarm and that they can continue to freely eat fowl, eggs and pork meat.
After visiting the new technical scientific services building at the Balearic University, Castillo reported that the chicken farm where activity had been brought to a halt as a precautionary measure, will be able to restart business, once the results of the analysis carried out in Catalonia confirming the negative outcome, have been sent to the regional ministry of Agriculture.
Regarding the hen and pig farms, the results as yet remain unknown. Nevertheless, Castillo signalled that any necessary measures will be taken once advice is received from technicians from the ministry's Food Safety department.
Once the results are known, we will either keep the farming concerns closed or allow them to open, she said.
The minister explained that the procedure being carried out is based on decisions by official investigators and pointed out that the Food Safety and National Plan for the monitoring of dead animal remains, more than 300 investigations have been carried out over the course of the year.
A Majorcan newspaper had reported in an edition of last weekend on the purported contamination of meat due to the use of the antibiotic on the three farms. The livestock concerns in question belong to one of the most distinguished farming groups in Majorca. However, a legal file note has been made of all three farms involved.