Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Veterinary Feed Directive




Veterinary Feed Directive - A Quick Primer


•    The Food and Drug Administration Guidance #213 takes full implementation on January 1, 2017.
•    Once implemented, producers are to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use antibiotics for production purposes.
•    Any (medically important) antibiotic that is put in a feed (or water) substance for cattle is going to need a VFD from a veterinarian.
•    The Veterinary Feed Directive's goal is to encourage judicious use of antibiotics in the animal agriculture industry.
•    There will be no production uses for those feed grade antibiotics that fall under the VFD rule.
•    Sponsors are in the process of removing all production uses for these VFD feed grade antibiotics.
•    All VFD feed antibiotics will only have indications for treatment and control of disease. There is no extra label use allowed for feed grade antimicrobials.
Medically important antimicrobials are those antibiotics that are used in both human and animal medicine, and those that are used in feed are deemed by the FDA as medically important and fall under the direction of VFD:
•    Penicillins
•    Cephalosporins
•    Quinolones
•    Fluoroquinolones
•    Tetracyclines
•    Macrolides
•    Sulfas
•    Glycopeptides
Nonmedically important antirnicrobials are antibiotics used exclusively in animals:
•    Ionophores
•    Polypeptides
•    Carbadox
•    Bambermycin
•    Pleuromutilin
Veterinary – Client – Patient – Relationship (VCPR)
In order for a veterinarian to write a VFD, he or she must have a working veterinary- client-patient-relationship (VCPR) with the producer and must be licensed in the state the animals reside.
Step l. The veterinarian must establish a working VCPR with clients.
•    The veterinarian will need to be on-site at clients’ facilities / production areas.
•    The frequency will need to be determined (there must be evidence of visits).
Step 2. The veterinarian must have a business relationship with the nearby feed stores. (Get up-to-date on the feed products available)
•    There are many feed stores and chances are the veterinarians do NOT have that relationship established.
•    This step may require the steepest learning curve.
Step 3. The veterinarian should know and work in collaboration with the area's nutritionists.
•    Nutritionists know antibiotics and have traditionally used them.
•    If the antibiotics they are used to using fall under the directive, they will need to establish a relationship with the veterinarian.
Step 4. The veterinarian will write the VFD.
•    The client will call their veterinarian and request a VFD antibiotic.
•    The veterinarian, assuming there's a valid VCPR, then writes the VFD identifying the specific antibiotic, the dosage for the prevention, control or treatment of the disease identified as the problem, and the expiration date.
•    The federal government won't provide the actual paperwork, but they will provide the template that all can use.
•    The veterinarian retains the original VFD form and sends one copy to the client's feed distributer and another copy to the client.
•    The FDA states that feed store and client copies may be hand delivered, emailed, faxed or mailed.
•    Feed purchased under a VFD can only be fed while the VFD is active.
•    If one VFD antibiotic proves ineffective, the veterinarian may cancel it and write a new VFD for a different antibiotic.
Information provided by BeefVet, Business Strategies for Modern Practices, Spring & Summer 2016

 Contact State Veterinarian, Dr. Barry Pittman for more information: (801) 538-7164 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Guidance for Industry

Small Entity Compliance Guide
Veterinary Feed Directive Regulation
Questions and Answers 

Access document here


 Guidance for Industry

Ensuring Safety of Animal Feed
Maintained and Fed On-Farm

 Access Document here



A recent Utah State University article
describing the upcoming Veterinary Feed Directive


New regulations for drugs used in animal feed go into effect January 1, 2017, and will bring changes for veterinarians, animal producers, feed mills and feed distributors. According to information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, the objective is to protect public health, both human and animal, and keep unnecessary drugs out of meat and animal products.

Exactly what the FDA’s new Veterinary Feed Directive will mean in practice is still being clarified, but Utah State University Extension veterinarians are tracking the process and preparing to provide training for animal producers and veterinarians throughout the state in late summer and early fall.

In short, a number of animal drugs and medicated feeds that are currently sold over the counter will not be available without a veterinary feed order/prescription. The new rules will apply to drugs used in or on feed, not those administered by injection or other methods.

“My worry is that come January a producer will go to a feed store and not be able to obtain medicated feed that they have always used,” said Kerry Rood, associate professor of animal science and Extension veterinarian. “We are waiting for the FDA to clarify several points and for feed drug manufactures to get their revised labels through that approval process so we can provide accurate information.”

In addition to meetings for producers and veterinarians, Rood and colleagues David Wilson, associate professor and Extension veterinary dairy specialist, Allen Young, associate professor and Extension dairy specialist, and David Frame, associate professor and Extension avian veterinary/poultry specialist, will train USU Extension faculty throughout the state so they will be prepared to assist people in their counties.
Companies that produce animal drugs must work through a process of altering their drug labels and submitting them for FDA approval. At press time, just two medicines for food animals had been approved.

“A lot of this change hinges on a veterinarian-client-patient relationship,” Rood said. “Producers must get a veterinary feed order from a licensed veterinarian and there must be a ‘valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship.’ It’s a relationship such that a vet can confidently diagnose, prescribe and treat animals. Does it mean I have to have been on your farm in the past month? The past six months? That I’ve seen every one of your animals in a certain period? What it means is still being clarified.

Rood said large production operations have veterinarians on staff who will know the new regulations, but smaller operators including many farmers, ranchers, small acreage farmers, people who keep a few chickens, backyard beekeepers and those in the business of raising and selling game birds do not and may have limited access to veterinarians because of shortages of veterinarians in rural areas or find the veterinarians do not have expertise with certain species of animals.

To assist producers and veterinarians as more details of the feed directive are clarified, USU Extension is creating a website where dates of upcoming seminars, fact sheets, links to FDA publications and other information will be posted as it becomes available. Please visit vetfeed.usu.edu in the coming months for more information.


By: Lynnette Harris

Utah State University
College of Agriculture and Applied Science





posted: September 8, 2016