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It's Time to Prepare for New Antibiotic Regulations

On January 1, 2017, the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new antibiotic regulations for food-animal production will take effect. This new regulation affects not only swine, but all U.S livestock and poultry producers. As FDA aims to eliminate the use of medically important (to human illness) antibiotics for growth promotion purposes in food-animal production and bring therapeutic use in feed and water – to treat, control or prevent specific disease – under additional veterinary oversight.

The biggest change for pork producers, veterinarians, and feed mills will be the expanded Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) process. This means changing marketing status of medically important antibiotics from OTC (over-the-counter) to Rx (prescription for water meds) or VFD for feed medications. This change does not apply to injectable antibiotics. What this means is producers will need to talk with their veterinarian about using any antibiotics that fall under the new VFD requirement.

The Pork Checkoff offers USCARE as an easy way to remember the six key steps producers needs to complete before January 1, 2017 to ensure successful compliance with FDA’s new regulations for on-farm use of medically important antibiotics.

USCARE: Your Checklist for Antibiotic Success

  • Understand the new feed (VFD) and water (Rx) rules: As of January 1, 2017 only therapeutic use (treatment, control, prevention) for a specific animal health condition will be allowed under the direction of a veterinarian. Growth promotion of medically important (to human health) antibiotics will not be allowed.
  • Strengthen your veterinary/client/patient relationship (VCPR): Schedule periodic herd visits with your veterinarian and review health monitoring and herd health strategies.
  • Communicate with your feed mill: Ensure the mill personnel understand and are prepared to implement new VFD recordkeeping procedures for antibiotics and that stringent feed delivery protocols are in place.
  • Assess your herd health and welfare strategies: Sit down with your veterinarian to outline production and management changes to maximize animal health and minimize antibiotic use
  • Renew your commitment to responsible antibiotic use: Stay up to date with Pork Quality Assurance Plus certifications and make it part of your worker education program.
  • Ensure your record-keeping compliance: For producers, this means keeping copies (print or electronic) of VFD for two years and prescription records for one year.
For additional information about the antibiotic changes, visit
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