Thursday, November 30, 2023

Spent Grain Revisions to Please Alcohol Industry


Original rule would have required brewers and distillers to comply with full human food rules if spent grains were used for animal feed.

by Cheryl Anderson, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday it will be proposing revisions to a proposed rule for the use of spent grains, but it will be one that the alcoholic beverage brewing industry is likely to be happy about.

The rule is among three others all designed to prevent food-borne illness and to implement portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in January 2011.

When the original rule was proposed, it would have required brewers and distillers to comply with full human food and animal food rules if their spent grains were used for animal feed.

Concerns immediately arose from the brewers and dairy industries that the rule would impose costly and burdensome measures on breweries to ensure the spent grains met with regulations, as well as making the sale of such grains to livestock producers more difficult.

In fact, The Beer Institute calculated that in order to comply with the proposed rule, a single large brewery could see annual costs as high as $13.6 million per year.

The Beer Institute was joined by the National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association and the American Malting Barley Association to oppose the rule and to present strong economic and scientific arguments why it is unnecessary for the FDA to add additional regulations to spent grains and other by-products of brewing.

The groups claimed that for hundreds of years, brewers have disposed of their spent grains by giving or selling the grain to farmers and ranchers, yet there has not once been a recorded incidence of human health risk related to spent grains. The groups also maintained that because alcohol is consumed by humans, the production is already held to high standards required for human health and the proposed rules would essentially be a duplication of effort.

The announcement made by FDA Friday (…) supported the groups' stance that human food processors such as producers of spent grains that create by-products used as animal food are already complying with FDA human food safety requirements. So, FDA clarified that such processors would not need to comply with the full animal food rule if they are already complying with the human-food rule.

In the FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food (…), FDA lists the Summary of Key Provisions for FSMA Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food:

“The FDA is now proposing CGMPs that are more applicable to the animal food industry, provide flexibility for a wide diversity in the types of animal food facilities, and establish standards for producing safe animal food.

“Human food processors already complying with FDA human food safety requirements, such as brewers, would not need to implement additional preventive controls or Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations when supplying a by-product (e.g., wet spent grains, fruit or vegetable peels, liquid whey) for animal food, except for proposed CGMPs to prevent physical and chemical contamination when holding and distributing the by-product (e.g., ensuring the by-product isn't co-mingled with garbage). However, further processing a by-product for use as animal food (e.g., drying, pelleting, heat treatment) would require compliance with the preventive controls for animal food rule.”

In a press release on Friday, The Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy stated the organization was pleased with FDA's decision to amend the rule, especially in light of its efforts to prove a strong economic and scientific argument for the decision.

“We are gratified that the Food and Drug Administration listened to our concerns about their proposed rule. They have made the changes necessary for U.S. brewers to continue to market our spent grains as we always have — safely, with industry-best standards for testing, monitoring and management of the grains from the start of the brewing process,” McGreevy said. “Brewers have enjoyed a centuries-long partnership with farmers who use our spent grains as animal feed, because of the standards that brewers start with, including the high quality of the grains we use to brew our beer.”


The FDA will accept comments on the proposed revisions of the four proposed rules for 75 days while continuing to review comments already received on the sections of the proposed rules that are staying the same. The agency will consider both sets of comments before issuing final rules in 2015.

Comments on the proposed revisions of the proposed revisions can be made beginning Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 at


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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp




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