Food Dialogues Blog

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New Year Brings Changes: Farmers And Veterinarians Must Work Even Closer Together To Use Antibiotics Responsibly

Free range outdoor raised chickens

We’re all in this together. That’s what I say when I talk with farmers and fellow veterinarians, as well as medical doctors and public health experts, about responsible antibiotic use. We have to be on the same team for the sake of human health and animal health.

So, what does that mean starting Jan. 1, 2017? It means we’re changing the way we do business.

Animal health companies, farmers and veterinarians have cooperated with and prepared for the implementation of new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration that will end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine to promote growth in animals or to improve feed efficiency.

The other change is new FDA guidance requiring a veterinary feed directive (VFD), which is essentially a prescription livestock and poultry producers must obtain from a veterinarian before medically important drugs can be used in feed to treat, control and prevent disease in their flocks and herds. These same medications require a prescription from a veterinarian to be used in water. The FDA sees these changes as an important part of the overall strategy to ensure the responsible use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.

For the rest of the blog, including my observations about how the animal health community, farmers, advocacy groups and consumers view the new rule, and the role of veterinarians, click here.

Dr. Leah Dorman, D.V.M., is a food system veterinarian and director of food integrity and consumer engagement for Phibro Animal Health Corporation whose blogs are on a variety of topics related to responsible antibiotic use and related topics.

Dr. Leah Dorman is part of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s Digital Voices Council. All opinions expressed are the writer’s own. Funded by one or more checkoff programs.