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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). We need to work together to take steps to be ready to comply by Jan. 1, 2017.

Step 1: Understand the changes
Step 2: What to expect
Step 3: Make a smooth transition to the new requirements



Helping you understand the changes

  • With a goal to help ensure safe food and sustainable use of antibiotics for animals and humans, the FDA published the revised VFD to promote the responsible use of antibiotics for food-producing animals. This regulation will require a VFD for all medically important antibiotics (those important in human health) administered in feed, and a veterinary prescription for all medically important antibiotics used in water.
  • These products have been available over the counter, but starting Jan. 1, 2017, will require a VFD from a licensed veterinarian. A VFD is similar to a veterinary prescription for producers to obtain and use medically important antibiotics in feed in accordance with the FDA-approved directions for use.
  • Across animal agriculture, there are many in-feed antibiotics that will be affected by this guidance. The table below outlines which Zoetis products will require a VFD after Jan. 1, 2017.

Products that require VFD


Helping you know what to expect

A VFD can only be issued from a licensed veterinarian, based on a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), and include all information, shown at right, before a producer may use feeds containing antibiotics that are medically important (including complete feeds, medicated supplements and crumbles) to human health.

Three important facts to remember:

VFD 6 Months
VFD 2 year
Extra-label use not allowed

Two changes to product labeling will help in the transition:

During 2016, transition labeling will appear on all feeds containing medically important antibiotics that will require a VFD. As shown in the example below, transition labels will serve as a reminder of the impending VFD regulation implementation dates and that the use of the product for growth promotion will no longer be legal.

Transition label example:

Aureomycin label

Notice from label:

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017:

This product will require a veterinary feed directive issued by a licensed veterinarian and will be subject to the following restriction:

“Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”*

This product will no longer be approved for the indication of: increased rate of weight gain and improved feed efficiency, which means the use of this product for these purposes will no longer be legal after that date.

Final labeling will be implemented after Jan. 1, 2017. As shown below, it will state that this product will require a VFD and use in an extra-label manner is not permitted.

Final label example:

“Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.”

“Use of feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug in a manner other than as directed on the labeling (extra-label use) is not permitted”


Helping you make a smooth transition

Veterinarians, producers, and feed mills and stores that sell medicated products will need to understand and comply with the regulation. There are still a lot of questions about how the transition to the VFD process will unfold over coming months, but we’re working with the FDA, veterinary associations, livestock producer groups and the feed industry to create an organized transition process. Stay up to date with any new information from the FDA and Zoetis so you are ready to implement changes by Jan. 1, 2017.


  1. Assign a VFD administrator within your operation or feed mill to learn about the details of the new VFD regulation.
  2. Immediately establish a VCPR, as required by state regulation.
  3. Start reviewing your current list of medications to see what might be affected.
  4. Contact your veterinarian, feed supplier or nutritionist to discuss ways for your operation to comply.
  5. Add a step in your current record-keeping procedures for recording and filing VFD documentation.



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This site is intended for U.S. Animal Healthcare Professionals. The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed herein may not have marketing authorization or may have different product labeling in different countries. The animal health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with an animal healthcare professional. All decisions regarding the care of a veterinary patient must be made with an animal healthcare professional, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.

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