Information on Veterinary Feed Directives (VFDs)
The FDA has made fundamental changes in how medically important antibiotics can be legally used in feed or water for animals. The agency has moved to eliminate the use of such drugs for growth promotion and feed efficiency to bring therapeutic uses in feed and water under the supervision of licensed veterinarians.
The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) Final Rule continues to require veterinarians to issue all VFDs within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) and specifies the key elements that define a VCPR. Please see your STATE REGULATIONS.
Commonly asked questions:
What is a VFD?
A Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is, under the law of the United States, a written authorization allowing animal keepers to use animal feed containing specified antibiotics in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved directions for use.
Who is authorized to issue a VFD?
A licensed veterinarian is authorized to issue a VFD.
How do I find a veterinarian if I don’t have one and need a VFD?
What are the key elements of a VCPR (veterinarian-client-patient-relationship)?
The VFD requires veterinarians to issue all VFDs within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) and specifies the key elements that define a VCPR. These key elements include that the veterinarian engage with the client (i.e., the animal producer) to assume responsibility for making clinical judgments about patient (i.e., animal) health, have sufficient knowledge of the patient by virtue of patient examination and/or visits to the facility where the patient is managed, and provide any necessary follow-up evaluation or care.
How long is the VFD valid for use?
The FDA authorizes a period of up to six months before an issued VFD expires. However, the veterinarian issuing the VFD will make the final determination of the expiration date of each issued VFD.
Can feed medications be used in an extra label manner and if so, is a VFD still required?
Yes, the FDA does have provisions for extra label use of medicated feed under specific conditions and specific circumstances. A VFD from a veterinarian, as well as additional documentation, is required for extra label use of medicated feeds. View the sample VFD written for extra label drug use here, and see full details in CPG Sec. 615.115.
Where do I go for additional information regarding VFDs?
Contact your local veterinarian or the manufacturer of the specific product you have questions regarding. The FDA website has numerous resources available as well.
CAUTION: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.