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posted by janrinok on Monday April 21 2014, @12:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the but-who-will-make-a-profit? dept.

One gallon of beer yields on average about a pound of spent grain, the malted barley husks leftover after mashing and the sweet liquid is drained. It's a food grade product and for years, smaller craft brewers have donated or sold on the cheap their spent grain to farmers to feed cows and other livestock. Now The Oregonian reports that the FDA, charged with tightening the country's food safety network, has proposed a rule that strikes financial fear into the hearts of brewers and distillers nationwide which could cost the industry millions and increase the price of beer and spirits. The proposal would classify companies that distribute spent grain to farms as animal feed manufacturers, possibly forcing them to dry and package the material before distribution. The equipment and set up to do that would cost about $13 million per facility, says Scott Mennen, vice president of brewery operations at Widmer. "That would be cost prohibitive," Mennen said. "Most brewers would have to put this material in a landfill."

The FDA rule would also require brewers and distillers to keep extensive records to allow for traceability in the event of a problem, and to adopt new safety procedures, for example by storing and shipping spent grain in closed sanitized containers. "Beer prices would go up for everybody to cover the cost of the equipment and installation," says James Emmerson, executive brewmaster of Full Sail Brewing Co. The proposal has sparked an outpouring from opponents, with hundreds of comments pouring into the FDA. "This is the kind of stuff that makes government look bad," says Rep. Peter DeFazio. "It would mark a huge setback adding tons of waste to our landfills."

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  • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Monday April 21 2014, @08:51PM

    by davester666 (155) on Monday April 21 2014, @08:51PM (#34149)

    If they get so little for the stuff, then it won't significantly cost them to just dump it in the landfill.

    Or, if it's still worthwhile, they could sell the stuff to somebody else, who is willing to invest in the processing equipment and tracking the product and then selling the product to farmers, who will have to pay more.

    And that's the cost of a safer food supply. Because there is ALWAYS an insane outcry after something goes wrong, where somebody sells something that's just a little contaminated hoping that it won't cause any real problems down the line, and it's "why didn't the FDA put a stop to this exemption earlier".

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  • (Score: 1) by urza9814 on Monday April 21 2014, @09:31PM

    by urza9814 (3954) on Monday April 21 2014, @09:31PM (#34160) Journal

    If they get so little for the stuff, then it won't significantly cost them to just dump it in the landfill.

    It actually could cost quite a bit. This stuff is produced some places by the TON. That's generally why they give it away to farms for free -- because the farms actually have incentive to haul the crap away, therefore the breweries don't have to pay for disposal.

    It's not quite as simple as just tossing it out on the curb...