Brewers Fight Back Against FDA's Proposed Animal Feed Regulation - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Brewers Fight Back Against FDA's Proposed Animal Feed Regulation

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MISSOULA -

A battle brews between beer makers and the Food and Drug Administration.

Breweries across the nation, including some here in Montana, have donated their grains to ranchers for cattle and pig feed for centuries. Now, beer makers fear a proposed FDA regulation would put an end to this.

The FDA regulation aims at protecting animals, and keeping people healthy. Still, the folks at Bayern Brewing said the regulation is unnecessary, and both beer makers and ranchers would take a financial hit if it passed.

For almost 20 years Bayern Brewing has donated the malted barley left over from the brewing process to a Frenchtown ranch. This practice not only helps it get rid of left over grain, but it also helps the rancher.

"It's free food for their cattle and their herd," said Jared Spiker, the sales and marketing manager at Bayern Brewing.

Under a proposed FDA regulation, the practice would be outlawed unless breweries went through expensive and time-consuming measures to ensure the grain is up to regulation.

"We'd have to purchase expensive equipment, more man hours, and the logistics of it..." Spiker said.

FDA representatives said the proposed rule is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2013 to modernize the food safety system. It would tighten regulations on pet food and animal feed by requiring animal food facilities to take preventive steps to ensure that food for animals is safe.

"Doesn't matter if the operation is large or small, it will affect every single brewery in the country," Spiker said.

The breweries aren't the only ones Jared Spiker with Bayern said will take a hit.

Once a week, two trucks at Bayern fill up with grains and head to a local ranch. Spiker said the brewery may not be able to afford this if the new regulation passes.

"Farmers who don't generally purchase animal feed for cattle would be forced to spend money they didn't have to in the past," Spiker said.

The brewery said the new regulation isn't necessary, because their products have an FDA stamp of approval.

"If our product is approved before brewing beer and after brewing beer, why wouldn't it be okay then for the farmers to use it," Spiker said.

An FDA rep said the proposed rule is flexible, and breweries may be able to use operations they already have in place, as long as they are adequate in minimizing or preventing animal food safety hazards.

The FDA has been flooded with comments from breweries and farmers since the proposal first came up last year. It says it is working to address all of the concerns.

 

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