The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will revise proposed rules for livestock feed after hearing objections about costs that could be incurred by brewers who sell or donate their spent grain – a natural byproduct of the brewing process – from beer making to local farmers. The rules were proposed as part of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

  Brewers raised the issue of potential costs for grain testing, equipment, audits and other safety measure. The costs – which could affect the price of beer, beef and dairy products – were estimated at potentially $13.6 million per brewery. To avoid those costs, some brewers said they would be forced to simply dump the spent grain. The practice of farmers and ranchers using spent brewers’ grain has been in place for centuries.

The FDA said April 24 that it plans to release revised rules this summer and will seek comments before issuing a final rule next year.


Dan McChesney, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said the FDA is not aware of any problems with brewers’ grain. He said the agency did not intend to come up with costly food safety plans, but it is concerned about the potential for contamination between factory and farm.

Brewers note that their grain is already covered by food safety rules for humans. It is estimated that almost 90 percent of brewers dispose of spent grain in the form of animal feed.