What is a VFD and why do I need one to medicate my honey bees?
On January 1st 2017 the FDA launched a new process for authorizing the use of medically important antibiotics in food producing animals. Honey bee’s fall under the new legislation as they are considered the only food producing invertebrate in the US. The objective of the new program is to eliminate the use of antibiotics for growth promotion and increased feed efficiency (traditionally used at low doses which are more likely to cause resistance) and to make sure antibiotics are used judiciously for control and prevention of disease. Just as a person needs to see a Medical Doctor before being prescribed antibiotics, food producing animals and insects need to be seen by a veterinarian to evaluate disease before being fed antibiotics. With these regulations in place the FDA’s goal is to reduce the possibility of harmful multiple drug resistant bacteria and track antibiotic use in agriculture.
The Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine has outlined regulations for establishing a Veterinary Client Patient Relationship (VCPR) between beekeepers and veterinarians as a collaborative management effort to use antibiotics in hive treatment. Northland Honeybee Veterinary Service is readily available to help beekeepers know what is needed to establish a VCPR and we are happy to explain the details of the Veterinary Feed Directive and its uses.