Sellers to Speak on VFD in Arizona

Sellers to Speak on VFD in Ariz.

The sheep industry is headed for an “adventure” as implementation looms for the new Veterinary Feed Directive from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016.

That’s the way Richard Sellers of the American Feed Industry Association describes the coming changes. The AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulartory affairs might be the closest thing there is to an expert on VFD, and he’ll share what he knows in a presentation to the ASI Board of Directors during the annual convention later this month in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Other livestock industries are more familiar with these issues, but the sheep and poultry industries haven’t had to deal with this in the past. It’s going to be an adventure for everyone involved,” said Sellers. “I’ve spent 30 years trying to keep veterinarians out of the feed mills, and now they’re going to be our best friends.”

Sellers’ presentation on Friday, Jan. 29, will be open to all convention attendees and will include a question-and-answer session.

The VFD policy evolved from the FDA’s efforts to control the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in feeds dating back as far as the 1960s. Originally, the FDA envisioned creating prescription medicated feeds, which would have proven costly to everyone in the industry due to the involvement of state pharmacy boards. Such a process would have required feed mills to have either a pharmacist or veterinarian on hand to dispense all prescription medicated feed.

A compromise was struck in 1996 with the Animal Drug Availability Act, which specifically stated that VFDs would not be classified as prescriptions in either state or federal law.
In the first major changes since the 1990s, the FDA has instructed drug sponsors to change from growth promotion, feed efficiency and milk production claims to therapeutic prevention claims by Dec. 2016. Changes will not affect dewormers, carbadox, bambermycins, ionophores, bacitracin and a few others.

Concerns that most affect livestock producers vary, but include the following:

• VFD forms must be kept on file for up to two years.

• Having adequate supplies of old drugs on hand while awaiting the arrival of new ones in the marketplace.

• Finding a veterinarian who is capable and qualified to submit the VFD form correctly.

According to the Federal Register, on April 13, 2012, “FDA finalized a guidance document entitled “The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals” (GFI #209). This final guidance represents the Agency’s current thinking regarding antimicrobial drugs that are medically important in human medicine and used in food-producing animals.

“Specifically, GFI #209 discusses FDA’s concerns regarding the development of antimicrobial resistance in human and animal bacterial pathogens when medically important antimicrobial drugs are used in food-producing animals in an injudicious manner.

“In addition, GFI #209 provides two recommended principles regarding the appropriate or judicious use of medically important antimicrobial drugs: (1) limit medically important antimicrobial drugs to uses in animals that are considered necessary for assuring animal health and (2) limit medically important antimicrobial drugs to uses in animals that include veterinary oversight or consultation.”

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