Veterinary Feed Directive: Producers FAQ

Q: What is the VFD and why do we need it?

A: The VFD is a new category of medicated feeds created by the Animal Drug Availability Act of 1996. It provides an alternative to prescription status for certain therapeutic animal drugs for use in feed, while assuring the participation of a veterinarian who would issue a directive to enable producers to acquire VFD medicated feeds. The FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) expressed a need for greater control over the use of certain new therapeutic antimicrobial medicated feeds. The purpose of the added professional control is to assure the VFD medicated feeds are fed correctly and are effective for as long as possible. The participation of the veterinarian in the producer's decision to use such medicated feeds was essential to satisfy the FDA's concerns.

Q: Is a VFD a prescription for feed?

A: In some ways, a VFD is similar to a prescription you must get it from a veterinarian after a careful diagnosis is made. However, a VFD allows producers to obtain VFD medicated feeds through normal feed supply channels without involving a pharmacist.

Q: Where do I get a VFD product?

A: VFD products will be available through the distribution system now in place for feed antimicrobial products. This means they could be available from feed supply sources, feed processors, veterinarians and other sources from which you buy feed antimicrobials.

Q: How do I get a VFD product?

A: The process is relatively simple.

  1. Call a veterinarian with whom you have a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship to obtain a diagnosis of a health problem.
  2. The veterinarian will write a VFD identifying the medicated feed and the dosage at which it is to be administered. The veterinarian will keep one copy and provide you with two copies.
  3. Take a copy of the VFD form to your feed retailer or supplier and place your order.
  4. Keep your copy of the VFD form on file for two years.

Q: Does a veterinarian have to examine my animals for me to get a VFD product?

A: No, as long as a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) exists.

Q: What constitutes a valid VCPR?

A: A valid VCPR, as defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), exists when:

  1. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment and the client (owner or caretaker) has agreed to follow the instructions of the veterinarian; and when
  2. There is sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) by the veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of examination of the animal(s), and/or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept; and when
  3. The practicing veterinarian is readily available, or has arranged for emergency coverage, for follow up in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.

Q: Can a veterinarian issue a VFD over the phone?

A: No. A VFD must be issued on a printed form. The veterinarian may FAX or E-mail the form to the producer and/or the feed supplier

Q: Do I need a VFD if I buy a ready-to-feed product (Type C) from a commercial mill?

A: No producer may obtain a VFD medicated feed or a VFD premix from any source, including a commercial feed mill, without a valid VFD, unless the producer is a distributor of VFD medicated feeds or has an FDA-licensed feed mill.

Q: Can I process my own feed containing a VFD product on my farm, or must I buy ready-to-use feed.

A: Producers may purchase VFD products in Type B (premix) or Type C (ready-to-feed) form. Producers may purchase Type A premixes only if they hold a valid feed mill license. The VFD form issued by your veterinarian will contain mixing or dilution instructions. Regardless of the starting ingredient (Type A, B, or C), the FDA has established current, good manufacturing practice regulations that apply to all manufacture of medicated feed, including on-farm mixing. Producers must comply with these regulations by properly handling and mixing VFD feeds.

Q: How long will a VFD be valid?

A: The duration of a VFD will be determined by your veterinarian within printed limitations on the VFD form established at the time a VFD product is approved by the FDA.

Q: May I buy VFD products and store them on farm until there is need to use them? May I obtain VFD feeds for routine use at specific times during a production or growing cycle?

A: A producer may not buy VFD products and store them on the farm, unless the producer holds a valid feed mill license or is a distributor of VFD feeds (and has complied with all requirements for distributors). In all cases, VFD feeds are not intended for routine use. They may be fed to animals only in accordance with a valid VFD issued by a veterinarian.

Q: Why must I keep a copy of the VFD form?

A: The Animal Drug Availability Act of 1996 requires veterinarians, producers and feed suppliers to retain copies of the VFD form for two years. The FDA may determine a need from time to time to examine or copy VFD records of veterinarians, feed suppliers or producers to verify that VFD products are being dispensed and administered properly.

Q: Will feed products now available come under the VFD?

A: It is anticipated the VFD will apply to new antimicrobial drugs for use in feed. Feed products now available over-the-counter are not expected to be reclassified as VFD medicated feeds.