California SB 27 Livestock: Use of Antibiotics Bill

Last year Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 27: Livestock: Use of Antimicrobial Drugs.

The law requires the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) to:

  1. Develop antimicrobial stewardship guidelines and best management practices on the proper use of medically important antimicrobial drugs.
  2. Gather information on medically important antimicrobial drug sales and usage, antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and livestock management practice data.
  3. California law will prohibit the administration of medically important antimicrobial drugs to livestock, unless ordered by a licensed veterinarian through a prescription or veterinary feed directive..

Change is on the Horizon

  • Injectable and all other medically important antibiotics must be administered with a prescription or veterinary feed directive (VFD) ordered by a licensed veterinarian thru a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).
  • Over the counter antibiotics will still be available at licensed retail stores with a prescription.
  • Use of all medically important antibiotics for growth promotion will be specifically prohibited.

SB 27 requires CDFA to work with retailers and rural producers to maintain timely access to antibiotics. The bill also protects the ability for current retail facilities (i.e. local feed store) to continue to sell medically important antibiotics as long as they operate according to law and receive a veterinarian prescription.




Drugs Medically Important Antimicrobials Same
Formulations In feed and water

All (injectable, intra-mammary, feed, water, etc.)

New Systems Feed: VFD w/VCPR

Water: Rx w/VCPR

Rx or VFD w/VCPR


Treatment, control and prevention Same


No use for growth promotion or feed efficiency

Same, plus preventative use in a regular pattern

Effective Date January 1, 2017

January 1, 2018

For questions, visit the CDFA webpage for more information and updates.

CPPA encourages all producers to establish a relationship with a veterinarian and is a resource for those that need help locating a local veterinarian. SB 27 does not change the nature of the veterinarian-client patient relationship. As long as that relationship exists, veterinarians can prescribe antibiotics to a producer under one prescription for up to a six-month period. Procurers must consult their veterinarian at least once annually, however producers will still be able to administers those products as currently done now.

FDA Guidance 213

Guidance 213: This action requests animal-health companies to outline intentions to voluntarily remove any production/growth-promotion uses from product labels of medically important antibiotics. The guidance also eliminates over-the-counter status of these medications and increases veterinary oversight for on-farm therapeutic use by requiring a veterinarian feed directive (VFD) for feed applications and a prescription for water treatments.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new policy for on-farm use of medically important antibiotics is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

For further information – NPB Antibiotics Resource Center 

The Antibiotics Resource Center is your one-stop place to find information and resources about responsible antibiotic use on the farm.

All feed use antibiotics that the FDA, World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers “medically important to humans” (such as Nuflor, avilamycin or Kavault, and tilmicosin or Pulmotil).

CPPA urges producers to become Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus) certified as the PQA Plus program includes best practices on swine health and welfare, public and worker health and environmental sustainability. The National Pork Board will revise and give added emphasis to antibiotic stewardship in the industry’s PQA Plus® program in 2016. This action will ensure that America’s pork producers understand the importance of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship and are prepared to implement the new changes to antibiotic use.

CPPA supports the use of antibiotics in pork production to treat sick pigs or prevent illness when needed. It is unethical to withhold treatment. Pork producers continue to innovate and find ways to improve pig health with and without antibiotics.