Understanding the Veterinary Feed Directive, Changes Will Impact Beef ProducersTue, 06 Oct 2015 11:49:05 CDT
Consumer interest in how food animals are raised—and antibiotic use along the way—spurred regulatory change at the federal level. Zoetis Technical Services Veterinarian Marilyn Corbin said producers need to start thinking about what the Veterinary Feed Directive might mean for them.
"If you are feeding a product that is deemed to be medically important to human health, then you will need a Veterinary Feed Directive from your veterinarian to be able to use that in your feed grade antibiotic ration," Corbin said. "What that means for producers is that they’ll have to have a valid veterinarian-client patient relationship."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had similar rules in place for nearly two decades, but they’ve recently been overhauled. Corbin says it’s like having a prescription for certain rations.
"If I am a producer wanting to feed a feed grade antibiotic that is covered under the VFD, the most important thing to remember is I need to have a veterinarian that understands my operation and how I handle my cattle in that operation," Corbin said. "The other really important thing if I’m a producer looking at this coming down the turnpike is to help my veterinarian work with my nutritionist, whether that is a consulting nutritionist, whether that's the co-op down the road or who ever serves in your nutritional capacity, to make sure that they work together to get to the formulation correct and make sure it is a legal combination."
There are still many clarifications that need to be made before this directive rules are implemented in January of 2017.
"The three things you can do today, tomorrow, this week to get ready for all of this is talk to your vet to determine which products you use that will fall under the Veterinary Feed Directive," Corbin said. "The second thing is talk to your nutritionist, whether that’s a consultant, co-op, whoever your nutritionist is that you get your nutritional advice from and start working with him or her to determine how this is going to affect your operation. And the third thing is to actually get those two people in a room with you and have a discussion now and get aligned to this is what we are going to do, this is what we are not going to do and how we are going to handle it."
There will be time for details, from paperwork to drug labeling and classification. The most important thing for producers to do right now is begin communicating.
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