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Working with Feed Mills

On June 14, 2018, ABVMA Council and staff visited Masterfeeds complete feed and premix facilities in Red Deer. The intent was to strengthen the relationship between veterinarians and feed mills to better serve their common clients and to better understand the production of complete feeds and premix feed for all types of livestock.


Veterinarians Working with Feed Mills

Effective Dec. 1, 2018, Health Canada policy initiatives to strengthen the oversight of antimicrobials will require a veterinarian’s prescription for medically important antimicrobials. This includes antimicrobials that are to be administered in feed, many of which may currently be added without a veterinarian’s prescription. It is expected that veterinarians will be asked to provide prescriptions for antimicrobials to be administered in feed and that veterinarians, veterinary practices, and feed mills are expected to be interacting much more frequently to provide service to their common clients.

The increase in the number of requests and the requirement for veterinarians' prescriptions for in-feed medications will mean that veterinarians will need to work with feed mills to ensure proper prescriptions are provided to feed mills in a manner that meets the needs of the feed mill and the animal owner.

Veterinarians are encouraged to communicate the requirements for prescribing pharmaceuticals including antimicrobials with clients and animal owners. Education of livestock owners about Health Canada’s initiatives to strengthen veterinary oversight will be critical to avoid confusion and delay in feed delivery.

Establishing a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), determining the need for drugs, and issuing prescriptions well in advance of the need for the medicated feed will ensure that the appropriate prescriptions are provided, feed is appropriately sequenced and mixed according to instructions, and feed is delivered in a timely manner. Talk to your veterinarian to learn how theses new policies will affect you and your animals.


Feed Mill Processes

Veterinarians and feed mills are vital partners to livestock producers in their mission to provide their livestock with optimal nutrition and health. Regulation of the distribution of prescription drugs including antimicrobials is an important part of the oversight of use and stewardship. Commercial feed mills employ rigorous quality assurance processes to ensure the quality and safety of the product they provide. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspects feed mills across Canada to ensure compliance with federal legislation regarding the manufacture of animal feeds (Feeds Act and Regulations) and the distribution of drugs (Food and Drugs Act) to uphold national standards of health and safety.


Importance of VCPR

As of Dec.1, 2018, a veterinarian’s prescription will be required for all medically important antimicrobials, and this extends to livestock feed containing antimicrobials. A valid VCPR will be necessary before a veterinarian can issue a prescription for any antimicrobial. This relationship with your veterinarian is a measure to ensure that antimicrobials are used responsibly and properly as a measure to control the spread of antimicrobial resistance.


A Global Initiative

As more bacteria develop resistances to the antimicrobials we rely on, the need for a unified solution grows greater. Health organizations around the world are beginning to introduce new practices and legislation to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance, and Health Canada is among them. Going forward, we’ll need the collaboration of all sectors of healthcare and all members of the public. The ABVMA is grateful for the opportunity to strengthen these connections in Canada’s food production industry and to see how these important considerations are being made in Alberta’s feed mills.


Special Thanks

The ABVMA would like to give a special thanks to Paul Groenewegen, Director of Innovation and Nutrition at Masterfeeds, for his role in organizing and hosting the ABVMA’s feed mill tour.

“It was a great honour to host the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association at our feed and premix production facilities in Red Deer this week. With new regulations regarding veterinary medications in livestock production on the horizon, the word “team” becomes even more important. The team must include: the farmer, the veterinarian, and the feed company, all communicating to streamline each other’s businesses. I feel confident that meetings like we had this week educate us all in the never ending mission of making Canadian agriculture more competitive in a global market. We look forward to continue working with the ABVMA to achieve our combined customers’ (the farmers’) goals. Our doors are always open to continued collaboration.”

- Paul Groenewegen, Masterfeeds Director of Nutrition and Innovation