Today’s Topic: FDA pulls back on proposed rule that would affect use of brewers’ spent grains

By on April 29, 2014

Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

On April 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would revise its proposed animal-feed rule after getting an earful from brewers and livestock farmers about the potential cost of compliance.

The proposed rule was intended to establish processes and standards to lessen risks associated with the production of animal food. Unfortunately, FDA’s broad definition of “animal food” meant the regulation would cover finished products, raw materials and ingredients such as spent grains from brewing.

Spent grain is the malted barley that’s left after the brewing process is completed. It is widely used for animal food across the country. A growing number of livestock farmers in North Carolina are using it, too.

Use of spent grains by livestock farmers is good for the farmers and good for the brewers, Troxler says. The farmers get a nutritious food source for their animals, and the brewers are spared the cost of disposing of the grains. The environment also benefits, because there is less waste going into landfills.

As originally written, the rule would require a brewery to implement a number of expensive and time-consuming measures in order to continue providing spent grains to farmers. But current systems are already effective at addressing any risks, as evidenced by a lack of human or animal illnesses associated with the use of spent grains. There is also a lack of scientific data to justify this additional regulation, Troxler says.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss spent grains, the FDA and food safety rules.

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