The U.S. Food & Drug Administration on April 11 released three guidance documents regarding antibiotic use in animal agriculture. AFIA supports the guidance and FDA’s collaborative approach to this issue which promotes the health of animal agriculture and consumers. These documents were issued with the intent to modify the distribution and use requirements of antimicrobial drugs and of animal feeds containing such animal health products.
FDA created these documents to address allegations of FDA-approved feed and water use of antimicrobials contributing to human antimicrobial resistance. AFIA, along with its farmer and rancher customers and the manufacturers of these important animal health products, are working with FDA to ensure antimicrobial products are used judiciously in food-producing animals and that they remain effective.
Under this new FDA policy, all antimicrobial medicines approved for use in animal agriculture will be used only for therapeutic purposes – disease treatment, control and prevention – and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian through use of a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). AFIA appreciates the direction FDA is going, but will continue to advocate for reduced VFD paperwork and administrative burdens on feed mills so the system can operate in an efficient manner. The issue of antimicrobial use in food-producing animals and greater reliance on the VFD process also highlights the need for more veterinarians properly trained in the use of the products and the handling of VFDs.
AFIA supports any effort promoting animal health and welfare and appreciates FDA soliciting and involving stakeholder comments in the rulemaking process. AFIA looks forward to continuing its collaboration with FDA during this transition to ensure the needs of the feed industry and livestock producers are met.