Congress Peddles Legislative Fix for FDA Brewers' Grain Regs

Congress Peddles Legislative Fix for FDA Brewers' Grain Regs

Legislators say proposed animal feed regulations under Food Safety Modernization Act limit sustainable practices

The Food and Drug Administration's proposed rules governing brewers' grains used for animal feed are "onerous," a group of lawmakers said this week, pushing new legislation to override FDA's proposal and ensure brewers' exemption under a section of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

The FDA's proposed requirements, which add oversight to brewers' handling, packaging, processing or storage of spent grains for animal feed, would drive up costs and leave breweries with no choice but to dispose of spent grains in landfills, the group of lawmakers said.

Related: 6 Stories to Read Right Now: FDA's FSMA and Animal Feed

Legislators say proposed animal feed regulations under Food Safety Modernization Act limit sustainable practices

Sponsors of the bill Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Steve Womack, R-Ark., Peter Welch, D-Vt. and Chellie Pingree, D-Md., say it would amend the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to ensure an exemption provided in Section 116 of the FSMA does not become inapplicable to a facility just because it distributes spent grains used in alcoholic beverage production as animal feed.

A 'green' partnership
The sponsors released a joint statement regarding the bill Tuesday night, calling the brewers' grains rules a "solution in search of a problem."

"The last thing breweries and farmers across the country need is the federal government interjecting itself into the environmentally sound, centuries-old practice of breweries selling or donating their spent grains to farmers for use as food for animals, especially when there is no indication that this practice poses any sort of risk to our food supply," the statement continued.

"The federal government should be praising this type of collaboration, not burdening it with onerous new regulatory requirements that drive up costs and discourage sustainable disposal practices.  With this bill, common-sense prevails, and our breweries, farmers, and environment will be better off because of it."

The FDA comment period on the FSMA proposal regarding animal feed safety closed March 31; several feed and livestock groups communicated opposition regarding the brewers' grain provision.

For more on the brewers' grain-FDA Food Safety Modernization Act story, click the link for a full update and links to additional info.

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