The Agriculture Department in collaboration Seychelles Trading Company (STC), has, as from September, 2023 started the importation and distribution of animal feed to local livestock producers. Consequently, the Animal Feed subsidy, that was in application since 2020 has been discontinued as from the cut-off date 30th June 2023. Feed is available for poultry and pigs, and stocks shall be maintained for the initial period of 6 to 12 months, or until there is an improvement in the market for animal feed.
Following the queries raised by the main stakeholders involved in the livestock value chain regarding the presence of antibiotics (Zinc bacitracin 15%) in the recent imported animal feed being distributed by the Agriculture Department the department would like to clarify the following:
- The supplier has confirmed that the antibiotic Zinc Bacitracin 15% has been added in certain feed imported into Seychelles by the department and STC. The Ministry of Health laboratory is however, testing all feed types and we will have a clearer picture of occurrence of the product in the feed consignment in the coming days.
- The control of antibiotics or other additives in feed are controlled in the following manners: The importer submits details of the product upon order, the application is reviewed by the competent Authority and conditions are applied. Usually all consignments are checked for the presence of additives and antibiotics, growth promoters are excluded. Application on the proposed import of feed by STC was reviewed through the same process and feedback was given to a first manufacturer. However, the manufacturer was changed because of size of order and importation was made on the basis of the first approval, with the assumption that the quality would be maintained.
- Seychelles legislation does not have domesticated standard for food quality, but we adopt international best practice. The National Law for food and feed safety refers to international standards developed by CODEX alimentarium which states that this antibiotic is not featured as a banned antibiotic under CODEX. The product is approved for use in animal feed to improve gut health and overall performance in many countries in the livestock production system in line with their national legislations. Seychelles imports meat products from many of these jurisdictions (including South Africa, Brazil, USA etc). In addition, based on scientific research it is stated that the product is not accumulative and a minimal residue in tissue and wash out period is zero (FDA among others);
- On Genetically modified organism (GMO), there are no national laws that regulate the importation of GM products. Decisions are taken on a case-by-case basis and is subject to a clearing house mechanism subject to parameters defined under the Cartagena Protocol, of which Seychelles is a signatory to. It must be noted however that GMO crops (corn and soya in particular) are routinely used in animal feed in most parts of the world, including in the EU, and common food items sold in Seychelles, (for example certain cereals) may contain various amounts of GMO or GMO derived ingredients. It is thus not possible to categorically state that consumers in Seychelles are not consuming products with GMO.
The government reassures the Public that all produce using the batch of animal feed is safe for feeding to farm animals, as it is the same product used in livestock products that is marketed to Seychelles. The Agriculture Department has already taken corrective action to ensure that future consignment being shipped to the Seychelles does not contain such product, based on the concerns raised by our main stakeholders.