New rules for antibiotics in livestock feed take effect January 1, 2017, and Nebraska Extension wants producers to be prepared.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring a written order known as a Veterinary Feed Directive, similar to a prescription, before medicated feed can be sold.
Rob Eirich, Nebraska Extension beef quality assurance director, says now is the time for producers to contact a veterinarian and put together a health plan for their herd.
“Review their vaccination program and look at what the risks are of different health concerns throughout the year, and determine how they have treated them and how they are planning to treat them in the future,” Eirich tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Just like in humans, Eirich says there is growing concern about antibiotic resistance in livestock.
“This is going to help us with documenting the total usage of antibiotics and the proper usage, the judicious use of these products within our industry,” he says, “which is going to be one of those things that will help us to relate that message to our consumers.”
The new rule cover the beef, dairy, pork, and poultry industries – anything that ends up being eaten by humans.
Proper documentation is a main component of the rule.
“The veterinarian has to keep the original copy for two years, then has to get a copy to the producer, but also to whoever is distributing that feed,” Eirich says. “Everybody has to maintain those records for at least two years.”
While the new FDA rule covers feed antibiotics, other medicated feed to treat for parasites or reproductive control is not included.