New FDA rules that go into effect on January 1 may pose serious challenges for livestock producers. Federal guidelines 209 and 213 require that producers have paperwork from a veterinarian in order to purchase medicated feed or medication. National Pork Board President Jan Archer says the Pork Checkoff has been working hard to make sure all their producers are aware of the law, “We have worked with producers as well as show pig people and niche producers to get the word out. So I am very confident everyone knows about the new rules. I am not so confident what will happen on January 1.”
She said one serious issue is the lack of large animal veterinarians in some parts of the country, “There are parts of the country that are not well-served by swine veterinarians. We just don’t have the number of veterinarians that are required to do the kind of oversight that is required by the new law.” The financial cost of having a full time relationship with a vet may be hard on some smaller producers. Archer also says it may be hard to find the medicine you need when your animals get sick, “I have talked to some feed suppliers who says they are going to stop selling medicated feed because the new requirements are just too cumbersome.”
Starting January 1, the producer will have to have a valid client patient relationship (VCPR) with a veterinarian. There are a few steps required to establish a VCPR. These are:
The licensed veterinarian has assumed clinical responsibility for the animals, and the owner of the animals has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions.
The veterinarian has sufficient direct knowledge of the animal’s condition and their care and has examined the producer’s animals in the past 12 months , or annual visits to the premises where the animals are kept.
The veterinarian is available for follow-up evaluation or has arranged for emergency coverage in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment.
A VCPR cannot be established nor maintained solely by telephone or other electronic means.
Veterinarians will still be able to prescribe feed grade antibiotics, ONLY if deemed necessary to treat, or control a current disease outbreak. After the prescribed time period has elapsed, the antibiotic will have to be removed from the feed. Using a feed grade medication for any other purpose than is on the label is extra-label use and is illegal. One way to view this is the bag label trumps everything!
There are plenty of resources on the NPB web site at Pork.org.