The Veterinary Feed Directive, including upcoming regulatory changes, should have a positive impact on public perception of antibiotic use in the food chain.

A recent panel discussion, "The role of the Veterinary Feed Directive - The future of antibiotics in poultry production," presented by  WATT Global Media and sponsored by  Zoetis , examined the role of the Veterinary Feed Directive in meeting the expectations of the public, and it addressed the directive's proposed changes and their effects on the poultry industry. You can view the entire 90-minute panel discussion in five segments. .    

Veterinary Feed Directive regulations outline the requirements for the sale and distribution of a product designated as a VFD drug, as well as the obligations of a veterinarian issuing the order of a drug in terms of what information must be included on the order. The regulations also specify the requirements for record keeping by all parties, including feed mills that fill drug orders and others in the feed industry. 

According to Dr. William Flynn, deputy director for science policy at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine, the FDA CVM is looking to streamline the process so it's as efficient as possible because more products will be joining the VFD designation. "Our vision is that a number of products now that are available over the counter will be gradually phased in from their over-the-counter status to this VFD status," said Flynn. 

This expansion of VFD status drugs will increase public confidence in the use of antibiotics by bringing veterinarians more firmly into the process. "Zoetis research has shown that the veterinarian is very trusted by the public," said Dr. Stephen Sutherland, DVM, senior director of regulatory affairs at Zoetis. "They have a tremendous amount of confidence in the veterinary profession. And if they know that the veterinarian's involved in the use of these antibiotics and the decision-making process, it's going to increase their confidence in how these products are used in the marketplace and in the food supply."