Four steps producers should take now to prepare for new VFD regulations
Livestock producers should take steps now to prepare for the new veterinary feed directive (VFD) regulations that will affect all medically important in-feed antibiotics as of January 2017, advises Jon Schaeffer, DVM, PhD, Zoetis.
- Identify feed medications that will require a VFD. Schaeffer urges producers to talk with their veterinarians now as well as their nutritionists or medicated-feed additive (MFA) suppliers about how the regulations will affect their day-to-day feed management and other operations. “Don’t wait until the last minute,” he adds. “Review your current list of MFAs with them to see which ones will be affected.”
- Consider a backup plan. “It’s not just a matter of knowing which medications require a VFD and which ones don’t,” the veterinarian says. “You also need to consider that some feed medications used for improving growth rate and feed conversion will no longer have these claims if they are classified as VFD drugs.” Details on which medications used in swine will and won’t be affected by the new VFD rule can be accessed here.
- Assign VFD leaders. Schaeffer recommends assigning at least one or preferably several people to be the the farm’s VFD leaders. “These should be people who become knowledgeable about the regulations and keep up with new information on VFDs as it becomes available,” he says. “The leaders should be the go-to persons within the company when questions about VFDs arise.”
- Review recordkeeping procedures. Good recordkeeping will be essential to ensure compliance with FDA rules, Schaeffer adds. For example, producers and distributors will have to keep electronic or hard copies of VFDs on file for 2 years. Veterinarians are required to hold on to the originals for the same time period. “Consider if and how your company’s recordkeeping and document flow will need to be modified and, if changes will be needed, start putting a plan into place now,” Schaeffer advises.
 FDA. Swine. Marketing Status. http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/Products/AnimalFoodFeeds/MedicatedFeed/BlueBirdLabels/ucm081802.htm