Brewers and Distillers Spent Grain, the Agricultural Twist by the FDA

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Blog 26

Many brewers and distillers maximize their profit potential and reduce their biological waste output by selling their spent grains to farmers for livestock animal feed.  This has recently been subject to potential regulation by the federal government.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published its Preventive Control Rule for Feed  October 29, 2013.  While the FDA’s Fact Sheet about the proposed rule can be found here.  The comment period lasts for 120 days and comments accordingly should be due on or around February 26, 2014.  More information is available on the FDA’s webpage.

This FDA rule could regulate hundreds if not thousands of breweries, distilleries and ethanol plants as “animal feed producers.”  While the rule does propose possibly exempting smaller companies, those with between $500,000 – $2.5 million dollars in feed sales are the suggested threshold for this regulation.

“Animal feed producers” facility would be required to have:

-A written food safety plan

-A hazard analysis

-Preventive controls for hazard(s) that are within reason to occur

-Recall plan for animal food with a hazard that is within reason to occur


-Corrective actions


-Associated record keeping

This proposed rule also would establish specific good manufacturing practices (GMP) for animal feed, to be implemented by all facilities that are deemed “animal feed producers.”

Any brewer or distiller currently supplying spent grain for feed should pay attention to these proposed rules.  Any participation in the comment period may assist in reducing the overall impact of these regulations or even assist in obtaining some exemption for the industry.  However, if nothing changes from what is proposed already then companies above the regulation’s final determination of the feed sales size threshold must either prepare their business model to comply with these rules or develop new methods of disposal for their spent grains.  If a new method of disposal is chosen, then that will trigger filing an amendment with TTB in regards to the process of production and disposal of wastes.

If you currently are selling or purchasing spent grains, and have any questions in regards to this, or would like guidance on how to comment to the FDA, please contact our office to see how we can assist you.