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What pork producers need to know about FDA antibiotic regulations

Quick facts

Six key steps to meet FDA antibiotic regulations using the acronym USCARE:

  • Understand as of January 1, 2017 therapeutic use (treatment, control, prevention) for specific animal health conditions is allowed only under direction of a veterinarian.
  • Strengthen your veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR).
  • Communicate with your feed mill: make sure the mill staff understand and have in place VFD record-keeping procedures.
  • Assess your herd health and welfare plans.
  • Renew your commitment to responsible antibiotic use. Stay up-to-date with Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA+) certification.
  • Ensure your record-keeping agreement: Records for VFD must be kept for two years and prescription records for one year.

From PorkCheckoff

FDA antibiotic regulations 

two pigs drinking.
Drinking pigs.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations for on-farm antibiotic use in food-animal production took effect January 1, 2017. These efforts aim to

  • Stop the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in food-animal production.
    • Medically important refers to antibiotics used in human or animal medicine, or antibiotics in the same family of those medications.
  • Bring therapeutic use of antibiotics in feed and water – to treat, control, or prevent specific disease – under additional veterinary oversight.

What is a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR)?

Each state can define a VCPR differently. Minnesota’s VCPR requirements match the federal requirements. The federal minimum requirements state:

  • The producer must work with a veterinarian to accept responsibility for making clinical decisions about the animals’ health.
  • The veterinarian must examine the animals or visit the facility to gain knowledge of the animals.
  • The veterinarian must be available to provide needed follow-up exams or care.

Rx water-soluble medications 

All uses of the following medications require a prescription from a veterinarian.

Examples of trade names of medications are provided in the following format:

Established drug name- Examples of trade name(s)

  • Apramycin
  • Carbomycin/oxytetracycline*
  • Chlortetracycline/sulfamethazine*- Aureomix® S
  • Chlortetracycline- Aureomycin®, Chloronex, Chlortetracycline, Chlortetracycline Bisulfate, Chlortet-Soluble-O, Fermycin, Pennchlor™
  • Gentamicin- Garacin®, GenGard®, GentaMed™, Gentocin®, Gentoral®
  • Lincomycin- Linco, Lincomix®, Lincomycin, Lincomycin Hydrochloride, Lincosol, LincoMed
  • Neomycin- Biosol®, Neo, NeoMed®, Neomycin, Neomycin liquid, Neomycin Sulfate, Neomix®, Neo-Sol®, Neosol-Oral
  • Oxytetracycline- Agrimycin™, Oxy-Tet™, Oxytet®, Oxytetracycline HCL, Terramycin®, Tetroxy®, Tetroxy® HCA
  • Streptomycin
  • Sulfachloropyrazine
  • Sulfachloropyridazine
  • Sulfamerazine/ sulfamethazine/sulfaquinoxaline*
  • Sulfamethazine- SMZ-Med™, Sulmet®, Purina® Sulfa
  • Tetracycline- Duramycin, Polyotic®, Tetra-Bac, Tetracycline, Tetracycline hydrochloride, TetraMed®, Tet-Sol®, Tetrasol

Water-soluble medications that remained Rx 

  • Tylosin- Bilovet™, Tylan®

many pigs eating at feeding station and standing on raised platform.
Pigs feeding.

Veterinary feed directives 

A VFD is a written statement given by a licensed veterinarian, which allows VFD medication use in an animal feed. A veterinarian must fill out the VFD form correctly and send a copy to the producer and feed mill.


Impacts on on-farm feed manufacturers 

Producers with on-farm feed mills that only mix for themselves must give distributors a VFD when buying their medicated ingredients. Producers need to have a current VFD on file to feed the medicated feed to their pigs.

Producers mixing feed to give away or sell are distributors and must submit a one-time acknowledgement letter to the FDA. Keep the letter on file and have a current VFD for every batch of medicated feed.

Medications unaffected by FDA regulation changes 

Examples of trade names of medications are provided in the following format:

Established drug name- Examples of trade name(s)

Antimicrobials that aren’t medically important:

  • Bacitracin- Solu-tracin, BMD® Soluble
  • Tiamulin- Denagard®, TiaGard™, Tiagard™, Triamulox™
  • Bambermycin- Flavomycin®
  • Carbadox- Mecadox®
  • Ionophores- Skycis®

Other medications:

  • Anthelmintics (dewormers):
    • Ivomec®
    • Fenbendazole- Safe-Guard®AquaSol, Purina® Worm-A-Rest Litter Pack
  • Beta agonists:
    • Ractopamine- Paylean®, Engain™

Note: This information was adapted from an FDA fact sheet and was up-to-date as of November 1, 2017. As the industry transitions, Center for Veterinary Medicine anticipates additional changes to this information. Please check FDA for the most recent updates.

Sarah Schieck, Extension educator

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