By January 1, 2017, farmers, veterinarians and feed suppliers must comply with the Federal Drug Administration’s revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) for certain antibiotics. Historically, many feed-grade antibiotics used in or on animal feeds have been available to farmers over-the-counter. However, all human medically important feed-grade antibiotics must move to a prescription (water soluble products) or VFD drug process (products in or on feed) by Jan. 1, 2017. After that date, those drugs can no longer be used for production uses, such as growth promotion or feed efficiency in livestock. This client alert will focus on the VFD process.
A VFD is a written statement issued by a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian’s professional practice that orders the use of a VFD drug in or on an animal feed. This written statement authorizes farmers to obtain and use the VFD drug in or on animal feed to treat the farmer’s animals only in accordance with the directions for use approved or indexed by the FDA. A veterinarian, under a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, must examine and diagnose animal conditions and determine that the use of a VFD-medicated feed is necessary.
Quick Facts:
  • The revised VFD regulations apply to all livestock and poultry farms, regardless of size.
  • Farmers can fill a VFD at any feed supplier (i.e. mill, retailer or other establishment) listed as a distributor with the FDA.
  • In order for feed suppliers to fill requests for VFD-medicated feed, a current VFD must be on file.
  • VFDs cannot be written for longer than six months.
  • The VFD-medicated feed must be fed to the animals prior to the expiration date on the VFD.
  • A copy of the VFD must be kept by the farmer for two years. If inspected by the FDA, farmers must be able to provide VFD upon request.
  • All labeling and advertising for VFD drugs, must prominently and conspicuously display the following cautionary statement: “Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”
Should you have questions about the revised VFD regulations, please contact any attorney in the Bose McKinney & Evans Agribusiness Group.