April 5, 2016
By Rick Sibbel, D.V.M.
The veterinary feed directive (VFD) law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Are your prepared?
Any (medically important) antibiotic that is put in a feed will require a VFD from a veterinarian and water-soluble products will require a veterinarian prescription. Producers will need to keep a copy of the VFD order for a minimum of two years and provide the order for inspection by FDA upon request.
Most commonly used feed-grade antibiotics will require a VFD order. Producers and veterinarians can start preparing now by having a conversation to determine whether products currently being used will be affected by the VFD.
Antibiotics that are deemed by the FDA as medically important and fall under the direction of VFD include:
Here are steps you can take now to help prepare for the VFD:
- Form a working veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR). In order for a veterinarian to write a VFD or prescription, he or she must be licensed in the state in which the animals reside. A VCPR is defined as a situation in which the veterinarian visits the producer’s operation regularly, giving the veterinarian the full medical picture as to how the operator produces animals, the type of animals that he or she produces and the health condition of those animals.
- Build a good working relationship with feed suppliers and review the feed products currently being used.
- Hold a meeting with nutritionists to collaborate on creating the VFD so it is available for their use.
Veterinarians will need to write a VFD for any feed-grade antibiotics or prescription for water-soluble products the farm or ranch plans to use. When writing the VFD, he or she will specify the antibiotic, dosage for the prevention, control or treatment of the disease identified as the problem and the expiration date. Veterinarians will retain the original VFD and give the producer a copy and send another to the feed supplier.
When the VFD goes into effect, extra-label use of antimicrobials will be banned. With the VFD rule, the veterinarian and feed supplier serve as gatekeepers to ensure this is followed.
The bottom line is to start preparing for the VFD now by initiating conversations with feed suppliers. For more information about how the VFD will impact you, click here.