April 25, 2014

Wyden Welcomes FDA’s Common-Sense Pledge to Revise Flawed Rule on Brewers’ Spent Grains

FDA Plan Would have Imposed Burdensome Costs to Craft Brewers and Ranchers

Portland, OR – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued a statement welcoming the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement it will rewrite its controversial plan to regulate spent grains from brewers.

Spent grains – the result of the brewing process – are often given or sold to nearby ranchers and farmers to use as animal feed. At roundtables across Oregon over the past two weeks, brewers and ranchers told Sen. Wyden the FDA rule issued earlier this year would have created burdensome new regulations for using spent grains as feed, and resulted in thousands of pounds of grains going to waste, instead of being reused for sustainable agriculture.

“It looks like the Food and Drug Administration has sobered up when it comes to spent grains,” Wyden said. “The agency deserves credit for acknowledging the flaws in its proposed rule, and pledging to issue a revised plan later this year. I will keep a close eye on the FDA to make sure the final proposal works for Oregon brewers and ranchers.”

FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Michael Taylor announced the decision in a blog post by Thursday afternoon. The agency indicated a revised rule will be issued later this year.

“We agree with those in industry and the sustainability community that the recycling of human food by-products to animal feed contributes substantially to the efficiency and sustainability of our food system and is thus a good thing. We have no intention to discourage or disrupt it,” Taylor wrote. 

In addition to being chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Wyden is also co-chair of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus. The Oregon Brewers Guild estimated that it would cost Oregon beer makers $8.4 million a year to compost the spent grain where applicable or $18.2 million in landfill charges.