The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a plan on Wednesday to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal feed.  FDA said it was issuing three documents to help veterinarians, farmers, and animal producers use medically important antibiotics “judiciously” by limiting their use only to combat diseases and other health problems.

Under this initiative, certain antibiotics would not be used for production purposes, including enhancing growth or improving the effectiveness of animal feed.  These antibiotics would still be available to prevent, control, or treat illnesses in food-producing animals under the supervision of a veterinarian, the agency said.

FDA published three documents in the Federal Register detailing its efforts to limit antibiotic use in animal feed:

  1. A final guidance for industry, The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals, that recommends phasing out the agricultural production use of medically important drugs and phasing in veterinary oversight of therapeutic uses of these drugs. The final guidance document can be found here.
  2. A draft guidance, open for public comment, which will assist drug companies in voluntarily removing production uses of antibiotics from their FDA-approved product labels adding, where appropriate, scientifically supported disease prevention, control, and treatment uses and changing the marketing status to include veterinary oversight.  The draft guidance can be found here.
  3. A draft proposed Veterinary Feed Directive regulation, open for public comment, that outlines ways that veterinarians can authorize the use of certain animal drugs in feed, which is important to make the needed veterinary oversight feasible and efficient.  A copy of the draft proposal can be found here.

“USDA worked with the FDA to ensure that the voices of livestock producers across the country were taken into account, and we will continue to collaborate with the FDA, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and livestock groups to ensure that the appropriate services are available to help make this transition,” said Dr. John Clifford, USDA chief veterinary medical officer, in the news release.

NCC will be providing comments on the proposed Veterinary Feed Directive and draft guidance document.