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FDA posts answers on new livestock antibiotics policies

I was reading this article this morning and thought that you should be aware of it.  Happy reading!

By Lisa M. Keefe on 3/15/2016

The Food and Drug Administration has posted a document answering key questions that had been posed to the agency regarding the new policies and requirements concerning the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in food animals.

The questions were asked during a series of workshops conducted last year by Farm Foundation at 12 locations nationwide. At the workshops, producers, veterinarians and feed suppliers had the chance to discuss the new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and two related guidance documents with FDA and USDA officials.

FDA officials were not able to answer all the questions posed, but those inquiries have now garnered responses in the document available here.

The VFD changes how many compounds and additives are being handled with regards to livestock, including moving several drugs from over-the-counter status to prescription-only, for example. The directive — being phased in over a three-year period — is voluntary, but FDA is tracking adherence closely.

"The conversations at the workshops provided the FDA staff with detailed insights into industry questions on how to implement the VFD final rule," said William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "We can create regulations, but the on-the-ground insights we heard in the workshops provided us with a terrific opportunity to help producers, distributors and others get the information they need to comply with this important regulation. This helps us shape policies to achieve the most successful outcomes."

Farm Foundation's own report of the workshops — Stewardship of Antimicrobial Drug Use in Food-Producing Animals — cites a lack of knowledge about the new policies and requirements, as well as concerns about the availability of veterinary services, as critical barriers to the successful implementation of changes resulting from FDA's Guidance for Industry #213, which are expected to take full effect Jan. 1, 2017.

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