Spent grain is essentially okay for humans to eat but not farm animals according to a new rule proposed by the FDA. It will make beer and the cost of feeding farm animals more expensive. It’s the government and they are here to help.
For, literally centuries, the byproduct of beer – spent grain – has been handed off to local farmers to use as a food source for livestock. It is a win-win for brewers and farmers. The FDA now plans to come in and regulate it with a new rule that will require breweries to act as a food manufacturing facility in their handling of spent grain with a whole new government overseer and their accompanying regulations, all at taxpayer expense.
It will affect small and large breweries.
The new rule would require that the grains be dried and packaged to ward off contamination before they come into contact with other humans even though it has never – ever – been a problem. It would treat the grain as pet food. This grain is already declared fit for human consumption by the time it is sent to farms.
This is another case of the government butting in where it is not needed.
This will end the mutually beneficial relationship between farmer and brewer, keep grain from livestock, and require breweries to fill up landfills with spent grain.
Currently, the biggest cost in making beer is the taxes. The Beer Institute points out that “taxes are the single most expensive ingredient in beer, costing more than labor and raw materials combined.” They cite an economic analysis that found “if all the taxes levied on the production, distribution, and retailing of beer are added up, they amount to more than 40% of the retail price.”
According to the FDA:
The “proposed rule under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is aimed at improving the safety of food for animals. This proposed regulation would help prevent foodborne illness in both animals and people and is open for public comments for 120 days. The proposal is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act’s larger effort to modernize the food safety system for the 21st century and focus public and private efforts on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on responding to problems after the fact.”
“The proposed rule would require makers of animal feed and pet food to be sold in the U.S.to develop a formal plan and put into place procedures to prevent foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The proposed rule would also require animal food facilities to, for the first time, follow proposed current good manufacturing practices that address areas such as sanitation.”
“The FDA continues to take steps to meet the challenge of ensuring a safe food supply,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Today’s announcement addresses a critical part of the food system, and we will continue to work with our national and international industry, consumer and government partners as we work to prevent foodborne illness.”
Spent grain has been a great food source for livestock. The symbiotic relationship between breweries and farmers who haul the grain away benefits cows, pigs, chickens and consumers. It’s worked well for hundreds of years without incident.
While the FDA wasn’t targeting breweries specifically, the government’s endless rules have unforeseen and serious consequences.
The FDA is forcing them to throw away usable products in a world with an alleged food shortage.
The FDA wants to protect the public but the grain is already a food product declared fit for human consumption. The grain is already regulated before the brewing process. They are doubling up when it is completely unnecessary which is typical and which is why Big Government doesn’t work.
Beer makers are fighting the rule.
Read more at Seattle PI