FDA Spent Grain Update

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FDA released a supplemental animal feed document which revises proposed rules for animal feed as part of the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Brewers’ handling of spent grains will directly be impacted. The Brewers Association updated members on September 19, 2014.



FDA Spent Grain Update

Dear Brewers Association members,

We have an update on the animal feed/spent grain rule making. Background: FDA issued proposed rules in 2013 in areas such as human food, animal feed and produce. The Brewers Association filed comments in March 2014, and many state brewers guilds, brewers and farmers also sent in comments to make sure that FDA did not create onerous burdens for brewer-to-farmer spent grain transfer. Members of Congress also took the time to delve into the issue and support their brewer constituents. FDA realized that some clarification was necessary and announced they would revise the proposed rules and start a new comment period on those revisions.

The FDA released a Proposed Rule Supplement guidance document today which clarifies information that is part of the Preventive Controls for Animal Food proposed rules—rules that impact how a brewer would need to handle spent grains that are then transferred to a farmer as a saleable item or as a giveaway to the farmer. Once the supplemental is published in the Federal Register in seven to 10 days from now, the clock starts on a new 75-day comment period. This afternoon the Brewers Association staff participated in their third conference call with FDA staff and other farmer and beverage alcohol stake holders. The Brewers Association wanted to clarify certain elements of today’s announcement by FDA before communicating with our members. Our dialogue with FDA has played an important role in making sure we were sharing factual information with our members. FDA committed in a conference call today to providing further guidance for brewers in the area spent grain handling. FDA reiterated it is their intention to allow for spent grain to go from brewer to farmer (rather than landfilling).

Breweries that do not sell more than $2.5 million in animal feed—which would be all but only a few companies—will be exempt from formal HACCP plans as long as good manufacturing practices are followed. There will be recordkeeping requirements, and FDA or state inspections will confirm that spent grain storage units are structurally sound and clean.

The Brewers Association thanks all brewery members. Dozens of Brewers Association members discussed the issue with their members of Congress (one example), who engaged on this matter in the spring and gave significant input to FDA. One argument that resonated is that FDA is attempting to provide a solution to something that isn’t a problem and hasn’t been for the thousands of years brewers have been feeding spent grain to animals. As staff and counsel dive deep into the detail of these developments, we will keep members aware of what actions can be taken during this comment period. Our campaign to keep unnecessary onerous burdens off brewers is succeeding, and we have you to thank for it. Stay tuned.


Paul Gatza Director, Brewers Association