The Obama Administration is backing a new FDA proposal that seeks to create regulatory interference where, historically, there has been none whatsoever: in the relationship brewers with leftover grain and farmers who need some extra grain to feed to their cattle.
The proposed FDA rule would set the government between the brewers and the farmers, forcing the brewers – who often give away or sell the surplus grain for a modest sum – to demonstrate that they have verified the “safety” of the material in the same way that pet food manufacturers currently are regulated.
Never mind the fact that, in this instance, cattle are downstream from humans in this brewer-farmer supply chain. Under the FDA’s proposal, what was sourced and exploited first as fit for human consumption – the grain to be fermented into beer – would have to be vetted for safety after the breweries are done with the material and before the cows could come near it.
Chicago brewery owner Josh Deth told Fox News the new rule would either make it too costly for him to prepare the grain for the farmers, or cost him more than $100,000 a year to send to a landfill. “The whole brewing community was shocked about it,” he said.
Here’s more from Fox News:
Deth, whose title is “Chairman of the Party,” says it’s always been a great deal for both sides. The ranchers get the grain, and the brewers get those leftovers removed from their facilities for free.
“We’re trading, giving something of value to each other and working it out. I think that’s one of the really great things, and people really hate to see the government get involved in something where they can just as easily stay out of this.”
… The regulations are part of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, a sweeping new food safety reform law signed by President Obama in 2011. According to the FDA, the purpose of the law is to improve the safety of animal food.
There’s no record of spent grains causing any problems for cows or humans, though, according to Chris Thorne, a spokesman with the Beer Institute.
“We already meet or exceed the goals that the FDA would like us to see. So we see these regulatory procedures as completely unnecessary,” Thorne told Fox News.
The FDA has issued a boilerplate statement pledging to review the many complaints from brewers and farmers (and the Congressmen who’ve taken up their cause) before establishing a final rule next year.