As consumers raise more concerns about the use of antibiotics in livestock production, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing new record keeping regulations for producers. On October 1, the FDA proposed new regulations on all livestock producers who want to use antibiotics in their feed. Hendricks County pork producer John Hardin told HAT that all producers will get a written certificate from a veterinarian before than can purchase these products, “The vet must keep records, the producer must keep records, and the feed company must keep records — and all must be available to the FDA.” The revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) will go into effect beginning in 2017.
Hardin, a spokesman for the Farm Foundation, says the industry should be able to accommodate the new rules, “Many larger operations already have a system in place, and we have enough lead time to make the adjustment.” The Farm Foundation has been holding a series of forums around the country trying to bring attention to the new rules.
Hardin says this new record keeping system will insure that the products are being used correctly and will help producers show consumers that their meat is safe, “People need to understand there are no antibiotics in meat. It is tested at the point of slaughter and, if any are found, that meat does not enter the food chain. This is a way to prove it.” The record keeping system will also provide independent verification on just how much antibiotics are actually used in livestock production.
Hardin says there may be some challenges for smaller producers, “Smaller operations and producers in areas where there is not a lot of livestock production may find it hard to connect with a veterinarian.”
The revised VFD outlines the process for authorizing use of VFD drugs (animal drugs intended for use in or on animal feed that require the supervision of a licensed veterinarian) and provides veterinarians in all states with a framework for authorizing the use of medically important antimicrobials in feed when needed for specific animal health purposes. The rule facilitates veterinary oversight in a way that allows for the flexibility needed to accommodate the diversity of circumstances that veterinarians encounter, while at the same time ensuring that veterinarians in all states are conducting such oversight in accordance with nationally consistent principles.