Congress Vocalizes Support for Brewers in Letter to FDA

More than 50 members of Congress are calling on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to exempt alcohol producers from the administration’s controversial spent grains proposal.

Last week, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), on behalf of a bipartisan group of more than 50 Congress members, submitted a letter to FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg commending the administration’s “proper judgment in the rulemaking process by agreeing to resubmit the proposal.”

The letter reiterates much of the familiar rhetoric on the topic, describing the relationship between brewers and the farmers that use their spent grains for animal feed as “mutually beneficial.”

“Local breweries, distilleries, and farmers around our district and around the country have engaged in this mutually beneficial relationship for hundreds of years,” Shea-Porter said in a statement. “Even President George Washington saw the benefits of feeding nutritious spent grains to his own livestock, providing Mount Vernon with feed for 150 pigs and 30 cows. It’s imperative that the FDA’s rules remain focused in their scope, and do not attempt to solve food safety problems that do not exist.”

The FDA has vowed to heed the concerns of brewers and promised to release an amended proposal this summer.

In April, after brewers and farmers raised concerns over the proposed changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA issued the following statement:

We anticipated some of these issues when we requested comment on the proposed rule and are already reviewing the extensive input received from brewers and others. We recognize this is an area that should be addressed and will reach out to those concerned. When the agency proposes revised language for this rule later this summer, we will include more on this issue and welcome comments.

Shea-Porter’s letter can be read, in its entirety, below.

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