More clarity on upcoming antibiotic rules

Posted on October 27, 2015 in Swine Performance
By Dr. Leah Gesing

2017 seems like a long way off, but we know “time flies” and it won’t be long before the full effect of the upcoming rules regarding antibiotics and the veterinary feed directive (VFD) are felt by producers.

Beginning on January 1, 2017, all antibiotics deemed medically important by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will no longer be allowed to carry label claims for growth promotion or feed efficiency.  It will be unlawful to use them for these purposes and all other uses of these antibiotics will require a VFD.

When the initial ruling came out earlier this year, it was accompanied by a good deal of ambiguity regarding these directives.  However, more information has been shared, providing us with a better understanding of how these rules should be implemented at a farm level.  Below are some highlights regarding execution of these new rules, as well as descriptions of a few of the “gray areas” that are still being discussed.

Important details on farm implementation

  • The veterinarian that fills out the VFD will need to keep the original version and distribute copies to the producer and the feed manufacturer/distributor.  The VFD has an expiration date of up to six months after issuance and all three parties are required to keep the VFD for a minimum of two years.
  • Pulmotil® has always required a VFD for use.  However, the information required on the VFD has changed, effective November 1, 2015.  The new form is currently available here.
  • Producers that are making feed on the farm do not have to register as a feed distributor as long as they are not also manufacturing feed for sale to an outside entity.  Those who are making feed for sale will have to register with the FDA as feed distributors and keep copies of all VFDs.
  • Multiple premises will be able to be included on one VFD, provided that the feed is being made by the same feed mill.
  • Multiple groups of pigs filling a premise for up to a six-month period can be included on one VFD.
  • When the expiration date for a VFD has been reached, it is unlawful for any feed included on the VFD to be in a bin or fed to pigs.
  • No refills will be allowed for any VFDs; instead, a new VFD will need to be issued by a veterinarian.

Implementation uncertainties

  • Pulse dosing: It is still very uncertain what stance the FDA will take on rules regarding pulse dosing of antibiotics.
  • “Standing orders”: It is also unclear if “standing order” VFDs will be allowed.
  • Alliance groups such as NPPC and AFIA are working diligently with the FDA to resolve VFD gray areas impacting producers.

It is critical to start dialogue with your veterinarian and feed manufacturer to ensure they are informed of the upcoming changes regarding antibiotics in feed and water.  Begin thinking about how these changes will affect your operation and your standard operating procedures.  Know that we may still see changes or provisions to the current proposed rules.

Vita Plus is closely monitoring all changes and updates coming from the FDA.  Our consultants will work with you to help navigate these rule changes.  The Vita Plus swine nutrition team is ready to work with you to make these upcoming changes as seamless of a transition as possible.

About the author:  Dr. Leah Gesing is a Vita Plus swine technical sales and support specialist.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Iowa State University.  She continued there to earn her master’s degree in animal physiology, studying on-farm factors affecting market hog transport losses.  She then went on to the University of Illinois to earn her Ph.D. in animal sciences.  While in school, Gesing was involved with numerous research projects, teaching experiences, internships, and international travel.  Specifically, she conducted applied research in swine genetics, health, management and reproduction with Dr. Mike Ellis.  Her Ph.D. project evaluated the effect of timing of OvuGel® administration on reproductive performance in gilts synchronized for estrus.

Category: Feed ingredients
Swine Performance
Veterinary Feed Directive