Ethanol Blog
Cheryl Anderson DTN Staff Reporter

Monday 04/15/13

Groups File FDA Petition Against Antibiotics in Ethanol Production

Two food safety groups recently filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration asking that antibiotic use in ethanol production be prohibited.

The Center for Food Safety and Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy claim that antibiotic residues remain in the resulting distillers grains that are fed to livestock and enter the food chain, resulting in antibiotic-resistant "superbugs." Scientists and researchers, however, have claimed in recent years that there is little danger to humans, as any active antibiotic residues in distillers grains are rendered inactive by pH levels and heat used during the fermentation process.

Claiming that the use of antibiotics in ethanol production are "unnecessary" and "wholly illegal" under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, the groups asked FDA to adopt regulations classifying antibiotics sold to ethanol producers for distillers grains production and new animal drugs that require FDA approval.

Siobhan DeLancey, veterinary medicine team lead, communications and public engagement for the FDA Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, told DTN that FDA accepted the petition on March 25, beginning the 180-day clock for a response from FDA. That response could consist of approval of the petition, which could result in administrative action such as publication of a federal register document, denial of the petition, or a tentative response indicating why the agency is unable to reach a decision on the petition.

A policy for antibiotic residues in distillers grains, as the "Draft Guidance for Industry (GFI #222) - Antibiotic Residues in Distillers Grains Used as Animal Food" is on the FDA's list of projects for 2013 (…).

DeLancey said, "These are guidances that we hope to publish in the calendar year, but we are not obligated to do so by regulation."

Cheryl Anderson can be reached at

Posted at 12:15PM CDT 04/15/13 by Cheryl Anderson
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