The new Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule, which has been in effect in the U.S. for a month, has been an added burden to feed, livestock and poultry producers, GlobalVetLINK feed industry expert Phil Lawler admitted. But non-compliance is not an option, Lawler said while speaking at the 2017 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) on February 1.

“Everybody involved in the process is frustrated by it. Let’s just acknowledge that. Nobody likes new regulations, nobody likes implementing them, and even more, we dislike the idea of somebody coming in and inspecting us on it,” Lawler said.

But as public concerns about antibiotic use in animal production continue to grow, the VFD and strict adherence to it on the behalf of the animal agriculture industry offers meat and poultry consumers assurance that antibiotics are being administered judiciously and under the oversight of a veterinarian.

“There’s that old adage that the customer’s always right. Well, the customer’s not always right, but remember this: the customer’s always the customer,” said Lawler. “If you want them to keep buying our protein sources of pork, poultry, beef, fish, then, yeah, we need to make sure that we’re giving them a product that they can feel comfortable with and will want to buy. Otherwise, my father would benefit from tofu because he’s a soybean farmer in Iowa.”