Antibiotics must not be sold and administered to cattle without prescriptions from veterinarians, the High Court has ordered.
The bench of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam handed down the order after hearing a suo moto rule on Tuesday.
A lawyer for Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), barrister Sarker MR Hassan, who argued for the government agency during the hearing, had told the court that cow milk contains antibiotics if those are fed or pushed into the cows.
According to a report that was submitted by Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) before the court, traces of lead were found in 11 of 14 BSTI-approved pasteurised milk brands.
The BFSA also found presence of cadmium in raw milk available in the market, the report stated.
After going through the report, the court asked the BFSA to tell it on July 28 about its course of action to tackle the adulteration of milk and livestock fodder.
At the same time, it issued a rule asking the BSTI-approved milk brands to explain why the companies should not fund laboratory testing and research on their products in the public interest.
According to media reports, the court issued the suo moto rule over five months ago, on February 11, following reports on milk adulteration.
The reports were related to a government study that found excessive levels of lead in raw milk, raising concerns that the regular consumption of such adulterated milk harms human health.
That study was conducted by the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.