U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is joining other industry organizations in asking the Food and Drug Administration to revise a proposed rule regarding distillers grains and other coproducts, according to a press release Johanns released Tuesday. (http://1.usa.gov/…)
Johanns wrote a letter to FDA asking that distillers grains be exempt from a proposed rule that would add costly new requirements for brewers and ethanol plants producing distillers grains. According to the Beer Institute, complying with such regulations could cost large breweries as much as $13.6 million per year, forcing those unable to finance such measures to either dump the brewers grain in a landfill or burn them.
The proposed rule, which deals with guarding the safety of the food chain and requires distillers grains meet human health standards, is also sometimes a duplication of efforts. Brewers grain already meets human food grade standards, since their product is consumed by humans. Groups representing the livestock industry, such as the National Dairy Producers Federation, have been active in fighting the regulations, arguing that cattle have different digestive systems which do not require the same safety standards required to those for human food.
All those opposed also argue that feeding distillers or brewers grains to cattle has been going on for centuries and that there has never been a health concern associated with the practice. The new rule would also make it more difficult for livestock producers to obtain distillers grains.
In his letter to FDA, Johanns wrote, "As currently drafted, these new requirements would be illogical and could bring a safe, mutually-beneficial system to a screeching halt. The proposal would increase costs, and create massive amounts of landfill waste -- without any improvements to food safety."
Johanns praised FDA for agreeing to revise the proposed rule and issue a new public comments period.
He ended his letter: "Food safety is a concern for all of us, but measured regulatory discretion is needed here. When FDA proposes a new animal food rule with a new comment period, I urge you to exempt raw agricultural commodities and these byproducts, which reach the animal food supply through a unique set of circumstances that does not warrant their inclusion in this rule."
Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.email@example.com.
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