Starting January 1, 2017, feeds containing certain antibiotics will require a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to be purchased by customers from any feed retailer in the United States.
Feed supplier Southern States Cooperative is preparing for this change ahead of time by letting their customers know what to expect. “We want to educate our customers on what a VFD entails, how to get one, and what is needed when they come in to the store,” said Angela Mills, manager of quality control and regulatory compliance for Southern States. “We offer a variety of complete feeds, supplements and minerals that contain certain medications that will require a VFD, and it’s important for our customers to know what to expect as a result of this new federal rule,” she added.
VFD is not new to the industry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the first VFD rule back in 2000 after the development of the directive spearheaded by the feed industry, animal health companies and veterinarians. The goal was to offer a more practical alternative to Rx drugs for feed.
With the new rule in 2017, many medications that have been “over-the-counter” for decades will convert to VFD. Currently, there are 3 medications requiring a VFD for swine, cattle and fish. With the onset of the new year, medications converting to VFD-status will impact producers who raise poultry, sheep and more.
Orders of VFD-related products will be valid for up to 6 months—as determined by the veterinarian—and will be against the law to feed a VFD-medicated feed past the expiration date on the VFD order. Customers must have the written order before they come into a store to purchase their products.
“The final rule places heavy emphasis on the Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) which mandates the veterinarian has oversight of herd treatment whereby customers can obtain a written VFD order form from the veterinarian in order for a retailer like us to distribute the product to end users,” Mills noted.