Elanco has developed informational resources about the Veterinary Feed Directive regulations and suggests four steps farmers and ranchers can take to meet the Jan. 1, 2017, deadline.
“With just 11 months until the final VFD rule is in place, it’s important that every cattle operation start preparations so there are no surprises,” says Kerry Keffaber, D.V.M., advisor for scientific affairs and policy at Elanco. “Collaboration plays a critical role in implementing these updated regulations successfully. That is why working closely with your veterinarian and feed supplier is the first of four steps we recommend for good antibiotic stewardship."
Four steps to prepare for on-farm VFD implementation
Producers can get a start making sure their health and feeding programs reflect the new VFD rules with four key steps:
- Strengthen relationships with your veterinarian and feed supplier, enlisting their help as you review your operation’s current health protocols.
- Evaluate the various rations and feeds in your operation, and identify the ones that include shared-class antibiotics affected by VFD rules.
- Work with your veterinarian and feed supplier to update standard operating procedures for antibiotic use, and begin training employees on the revised procedures.
- Mark your calendar to review procedures at regular intervals, perhaps annually, to ensure your health protocols remain up-to-date and effective.
“Taking time to update management practices, confirming they reflect VFD regulations, is an excellent way to ensure compliance while protecting animal health and food safety,” Keffaber said. “In turn, this has the potential to encourage consumer confidence that antibiotics are being used judiciously when administered to animals.”
More about VFD regulations
In June 2015, the Food and Drug Administration published new VFD regulations to promote judicious use of antibiotics, protect public health and help limit the development of antimicrobial resistance. The rules provide direction for antibiotics deemed “important for human medicine” and used in both animals and humans: penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, macrolides, sulfas, glycopeptides and others.
By next January, these shared-use antibiotics no longer will be used for growth promotion. And, antibiotics approved to prevent, control or treat a disease can be used only under the oversight of a veterinarian. Details about VFD requirements are available at VFD Central.