Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will be working closely with FDA as that agency finalizes its plan to address what it considers to be the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and poultry feed.
“USDA is working with FDA to ensure the drugs producers need to protect the health of their animals are available in all locations—that FDA holds a series of public meetings throughout the country to hear from producers—and that updated outreach materials are provided to our livestock extension community to educate producers about these changes and the judicious use of antibiotics,” Vilsack says.
Vilsack says USDA recognizes that producers will need to adjust their management practices in the light of the changes—and that some producers operating on a smaller scale or in remote locations may have difficulty accessing a veterinarian.
“That is why USDA will continue to work with FDA to ensure flexibility for farmers and ranchers caring for their animals while these changes are phased in,” he says.
Under the 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.