360° Coverage : FDA's Proposed Regulation Of Brewers' Spent Grains Is...

2 Updates
FDA's Proposed Regulation Of Brewers' Spent Grains Is All Wet
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

FDA's Proposed Regulation Of Brewers' Spent Grains Is All Wet

Apr 17 2014, 10:52am CDT | by

During his February 5, 2014 appearance at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor stated that “the whole goal of [the...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

19 weeks ago

FDA's Proposed Regulation Of Brewers' Spent Grains Is All Wet

Apr 17 2014, 10:52am CDT | by

During his February 5, 2014 appearance at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor stated that “the whole goal of [the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)] is to achieve the food safety goal without imposing regulations, just for the sake of regulation.”  Dr. Taylor must have been unaware of his agency’s proposal to require that brewers, distillers, and vintners develop extensive hazard analysis and control plans before selling or donating their spent grains or grape pomace to farmers for livestock feed.  This proposal seems to be the epitome of regulating for the sake of regulating.

Farmers have been procuring and feeding their livestock spent brewing grains and grapes for centuries.  These livestock “happy hour” arrangements advance environmental sustainability, engender bonds among local businesses, and make financially benefit both parties.  Farmers get low cost whole grain feed packed with fiber, protein, and, of particular importance to livestock in arid climates, moisture.  Alcohol makers save millions by not having to landfill the by-products.

FSMA Section 116 exempts activities at facilities which “relate to the manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding of alcoholic beverages.”  In a proposed animal food safety regulation, FDA essentially nullifies this statutory exemption.  The agency “tentatively concludes” that when brewers or distillers go through the “mashing” process—soaking grains in hot water—and then offer the by-product to farmers, they suddenly become food producers.  The same goes for winemakers and their grape pomaceFDA’s conclusion has sparked a deserved firestorm of opposition from the affected industries as well as members of Congress.

Mass production and craft brewers, distillers, vintners, and farmers have urged FDA to reconsider.  Members of Congress across the political and geographical spectrum have also spoken out, and FDA Commissioner Hamburg has been grilled about spent grains at appropriations hearings.

While Congress is justifiably upset about this proposal’s impact on constituents, Senators and Representatives should also be troubled by FDA’s blatant disregard of the explicit wording and purpose of FSMA.  Alcohol producers are not making animal feed as part of their commercial ventures.  Spent grains and grape pomace are, as FSMA § 116 states “relate[d] to the manufacturing . . . of alcoholic beverages.”  If those grains and grapes are not exempt from FSMA after being heated or crushed, there is no logical reason why such pre-processed raw materials would be exempt.  In that case, as one public comment posited, FDA has struck “the words ‘manufacturing’ and ‘processing’ from the FSMA’s beverage alcohol exemptions.”  FDA lacks authority to amend statutes, a constitutional reality which exposes the FSMA regulation, if finalized as it is currently drafted, to federal court challenge.

Congress passed FSMA to address actual, not speculative, risks to food safety.  FDA did not offer any data or anecdotal evidence to support its precautionary requirements, nor can it, because none exist.  The raw materials which alcohol makers utilize, as well as the entire brewing/distilling process, are already subject to extensive regulation.  Because it would eliminate little, if any, additional risk, FDA’s proposal would flunk any formal cost-benefit analysis, if one had actually been done.

To sum up, FDA is overstepping its constitutional authority to impose unnecessary controls on a centuries-old, local, safe, and environmentally sustainable practice which financially benefits all parties involved.  That sounds like the kind of practice the current (or any) administration would whole-heartedly support.

So why is FDA having a cow over spent alcohol grains and crushed grapes?  Perhaps, as the agency is wont to do, FDA is trying to extend its regulatory turf.  Other signals exist to support this notion, including FDA’s move against caffeinated alcoholic beverages and the ten pages it devoted to fermented products in its proposed update of nutrition labels.  We should all hope that is not the case.  FDA already labors to keep up with its clearly defined responsibilities—struggles which can be life-threatening.  It need not add protecting livestock from phantom risks to its overweight agenda.

Or is this simply another example of hammer-wielding regulators seeing a nail, and reflexively striking?  If so, now would be a good time for FDA to embrace the concept of regulatory humility.  The agency’s leaders must take a step back, think about the tens of millions in wasted costs and lost opportunities its requirements will impose, and admit that FDA’s “tentative conclusion” about spent grains is mistaken.  Commissioner Hamburg’s statement to Senate Committee on Appropriations members that “there are sensible, reasonable solutions and we’re committed to working toward those,” gives us some hope that humility and reason might yet prevail at FDA.

 
Update
2

3 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH370 and MH1 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
Japan to aid connectivity upgrade in northeast India
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) India and Japan Monday decided to strengthen cooperation for improving connectivity and socio-economic development in northeastern states of India.
 
 
Three Ebola cases recorded in Nigeria oil hub
Abuja, Sep 1 (IANS) At least three cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been recorded in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, where a fatality was confirmed last week, the country's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said here Monday.
 
 
India, Japan to elevate strategic partnership
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said relations with Japan were of the "highest priority" for his government and announced a slew of initiatives, including turning the strategic partnership into a "special" partnership and a fast-track channel for Japanese investors.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Modi stresses on women empowerment, education
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday stressed on the need for women's empowerment in the present-day world. Modi, who was addressing students of the Sacred Hearts University here, said he has...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Country with knowledge will lead world: Modi
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said that 21st century is the century of knowledge and the country with "knowledge and information will lead the world". "...the one who has knowledge and...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Eight killed in China landslides
Beijing, Sep 2 (IANS) At least eight people were killed and 24 missing Tuesday after heavy rains caused landslides in China's Chongqing province. Rescue teams, including fire-fighters and police, have evacuated over 7...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Spain returns Colombian treasure
Bogota, Sep 2 (IANS/EFE) Spain has returned to Colombia 691 indigenous artefacts seized in a police operation 11 years ago. The items - from different epochs, cultures and regions, include objects with organic and...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Travel across India for enhanced learning: Modi
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday asked IT experts to step out of their rooms and travel across India to enhance their learning. "You will learn as much outside your rooms as you will learn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
New anti-terror measures to be introduced in Britain: Cameron
London, Sep 2 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron Monday said his country will introduce a slew of measures to prevent terror suspects from travelling abroad, imposing tougher constraints on suspected...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
I don't enjoy my voice: Romeo Santos
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Singer Romeo Santos is often baffled by fans who pay to listen to him sing, because he hates his own voice. The 33-year-old says he hates both his speaking and singing voice, reports...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Eight killed in France building collapse
Paris, Sep 2 (IANS/EFE) As many as eight people have died due to a building collapse in Paris till Monday, French emergency management services said. Firefighters had recovered before dawn Monday the bodies of two...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi focuses on women's empowerment, education
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday stressed on the need for women's empowerment in the present-day world as he began the fourth day of his visit to Japan. Modi, who was addressing students of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
George Clooney's back pain continues
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Almost 10 years after filming the Oscar-nominated movie "Syriana", actor George Clooney is still feeling the effects of his on-set back injury. The actor traveled to Duke University earlier...
Read more on Celebrity Balla