VFD: What you need to know.

Over the course of history, the FDA has mandated what type of medications can be used for livestock and how that affects harvest. Now, the FDA has come up with the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to mandate what can be administered to cattle. Enhancements for growth production and feed efficiency will start to be eliminated and any medication administered to cattle will need to be under supervision of your veterinarian. The VFD strives to ensure unnecessary medication of animals for production purposes.  Starting January 1, 2017, all medications administered in feed or water will need to be verified by a veterinarian.

A VFD can only be issued from a licensed veterinarian based on a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Information that is required to be on a VFD includes veterinarian contact information, animal information (location, where feed will be used, species, number of animals, etc.), and medication information (medication proscribed, indication for use, withdrawal period, expiration date, etc.).  

Three important facts to remember include

  1. A VFD written by a veterinarian is effective for up to six months.

  2. Veterinarians, feed suppliers, and producers must keep a copy of each VFD for two years.

  3. Extra label use of medicated feed additives has not been and will not be allowed.

In order to make a successful transition before 2017, it is suggested that you assign a VFD administration within your operation or feed mill to learn about the details of the VFD regulation. Be sure to establish a VCPR with your veterinarian to start reviewing your current list of medications and feed rations. With all of the new regulations, be sure to plan for the new additions of recording and filing for the VFD documentation. By taking to your veterinarian and following these steps, you can make the transition as easy as possible. 

For more information on VFD's, visit the FDA's site and Zoetis website

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