New Rules

Veterinary Feed Directive Starts

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
October's launch of the new Veterinary Feed Directive program will give producers, veterinarians and feed distributors a taste of what's to come at the beginning of 2017. (DTN/Progressive Farmer image by Boyd Kidwell)

Livestock producers and their veterinarians will see the launch of the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) program in October. The roll-out initially affects medicated feed containing tilmicosin, florfenicol and avilamycin. The VFD was established as a way of limiting the development of resistance to antimicrobials in both people and animals.

Products currently available over-the-counter and expected to become VFD drugs within the next year include: apramycin, chlortetracycline, erythromycin, hygromycin B, lincomycin, neomycin, oleandomycin, oxytetracycline, penicillin, sulfa ormetoprim, sulfamerazine, sufamethazine, tylosin and virginiamycin. Companies producing these products have until the end of 2016 to change labels to prominently show a VFD caution statement. All VFD labels should be in place prior to January 1, 2017.

If a drug is part of the "VFD" protocol, a veterinarian licensed in the producer's state, must issue a VFD order allowing use of the product by the producer. Uses allowed include those for treatment, prevention and control of a health problem. Products with a VFD label are not to be used for feed efficiency or growth.

The veterinarian produces three copies of the VFD, and is responsible for keeping the original. VFDs must be kept for two years. They can be electronic or paper.

For the VFD to be valid, the producer and the veterinarian must have a "veterinarian-client-patient relationship" or -- overnment acronmyn-speak -- VCPR. Some states will have a federally accepted definition of this; if not, the federal VCPR standard must be followed. A list of which states meet the FDA's criteria is not yet available.

A VFD expires at six months. Expiration of a VFD and duration of use for a particular product can differ, however. Duration of use is how long the feed containing the VFD drug is allowed to be used. There are no refills on VFDs. A new one must be issued when the old one expires.

Producers send or take VFD orders to feed manufacturers or suppliers. Producers who manufacture feed are considered distributors, and must apply as such.

The new VFD requirements apply to all major and minor animal species including horses, cattle, swine, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, fish, and honey bees. For more information on the VFD, go to the FDA website:


Victoria Myers