On December 15, the Brewers Association (BA) submitted a second round of comments on the federal Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule concerning the regulation of spent grain used for animal feed as part of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).
Central to the comments was a reiteration of the point (first made in March, 2014 during the first comment period) that application of FSMA regulations to alcohol beverage manufacturers that provide spent grain for use as animal feed is unnecessary and unwarranted. This position is based on the law as passed by Congress, which includes an exemption for the alcohol beverage industry because many of the goals of the Food Safety Modernization Act were already being achieved through longstanding regulations by other federal and state agencies which adequately protect the public. Congress also recognized the inherently low public health risk presented by the manufacturing, processing and packing of alcoholic beverages.
Other specific areas addressed in the comments include the need for establishing a clear line of responsibility for compliance between brewers, farmers and other third-party processors so as to avoid ambiguity and wasted effort; expressly exempting brewpubs because they both qualify for the exemption in FSMA and they are retail premises already subject to state and local restaurant inspections, TTB inspection and OSHA inspection; and clarity concerning the inspection authority of FDA and state-contracted officials.
The BA also joined separate industry coalition comments covering many of the same issues from a broader, industry-wide perspective, which included a detailed discussion of the wet versus dried spent grain issue and the arbitrary nature of FDA’s proposal to regulate dried spent grain to a much more stringent standard than wet spent grain.