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Veterinary Feed Directive

What is a veterinary feed directive (VFD)?

A veterinary feed directive is a written statement issued by a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian's professional practice that orders the use of a VFD drug in or on an animal feed.

What is a VFD drug?

In September of 2015, FDA revised Guidance for Industry #120, Veterinary Feed Directive Regulation to reflect the VFD final rule. A VFD drug is intended for use in animal feeds, and such use of the VFD drug is permitted only under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

What is meant by VCPR?

The veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal(s).

Veterinary Feed Directives

The Federal Animal Drug Availability Act of 1996 (ADAA) amended the Act to establish a new category of drugs, veterinary feed directive (VFD) drugs. A drug approved for use in or on animal feed as a VFD drug is limited to use only under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

The VFD process is straightforward in practice. A veterinarian, operating within the confines of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), examines and diagnoses animal conditions and determines whether a condition warrants use of a VFD drug. If it does, the veterinarian will issue signed VFD order containing information specified by regulation.

Extra-label use of a VFD drug (or any drug) in or on an animal feed is strictly prohibited, i.e., not permitted by anyone, including the veterinarian. The veterinarian keeps a copy of the VFD order and provides the completed and signed original and a copy to the client. The client keeps the copy and gives the original VFD to the feed manufacturer or distributor issuing the VFD feed. The VFD order allows the VFD feed to be issued to the client for feeding to the animals.

Anyone intending to distribute VFD feeds must notify CVM prior to beginning distribution. Distributor includes the VFD feed manufacturer or anyone in the distribution chain who ultimately supplies VFD feed to an animal producer upon receiving a valid VFD order. The veterinarian could be a distributor of VFD feed. A VFD feed may not be distributed to a client without a signed, valid VFD. However, VFD feed may be sent down the distribution chain if the consignee, i.e., another distributor, provides the distributor with a signed acknowledgment letter affirming that it will only issue the VFD feed to a client upon receiving a valid VFD order holder or to another distributor upon receiving the acknowledgment letter.

It is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for drugs to be added for uses or at levels not specified in the regulations. Any individual authorizing the violation, as well as the individual illegally mixing the feed may be subject to regulatory action. Additionally, the feed itself may be subject to seizure. Off-label use of drugs is tolerated in the feed of minor species provided certain conditions are met, including the involvement of a licensed veterinarian. Compliance Policy Guide 615.115 covers the Extra-label Use of Medicated Feeds for Minor Species. Minor species are defined by exclusion as animals other than cattle, horses, swine, chickens, turkeys, dogs and cats.

THE PROVIDED LINKS ARE TO THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION’S CENTER FOR VETERINARY MEDICINE (FDA/CVM) MAIN WEB PAGE THAT PROVIDES VFD INFORMATION.
  1. FDA/CVM VFD Main Page: This link provides all information FDA has to offer on the VFD rule.
  2. Veterinary Feed Directive Brochures: The following four brochures target specific entity obligations and requirements that apply during the VFD process:
  3. FDA Guidance #120 for Industry: This guidance serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide with questions and answers to aid industry in complying with the requirements of the VFD final rule.
  4. Listing of Veterinary Feed Directive Distributor Notifications: The following link will take you to a list containing distributors of all states who have notified FDA of their intentions to distribute VFD feeds. You will be able to scroll through this list and find Montana distributors. As new distributors notify FDA the list will be updated.
  5. VFD Drugs: This link provides a list of antimicrobial drugs that transitioned from Over-the-Counter (OTC) to Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) status that are approved for use in or on animal feed.