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Phila. Beermaker Thinks FDA Proposal on Grain Reuse is Misguided

(Tim Roberts, chief brewer at Yards Brewing Company, in Philadelphia.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(Tim Roberts, chief brewer at Yards Brewing Company, in Philadelphia. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The federal government is proposing a rule change that critics say could have an adverse impact on breweries, farmers, and the environment.

The Food and Drug Administration wants brewers to meet the same safety standards applied to livestock and pet food manufacturers.   But that would force them to dry the wet grains that are left over from the brewing process before offering them to livestock farmers for feed.

“I think it’s crazy,” says Tim Roberts (in photo), head brewer at Yards Brewing Company, in Philadelphia.  “We go through about 50,000 pounds of wet grain per week.  So it’s not insignificant — about 2½ million pounds a year.”

Breweries either give away or sell their spent grain at a nominal charge to farmers.  Roberts says the FDA’s proposal would have a crippling economic impact.

“If we do end up having to dry it, I read a number somebody had calculated: it would increase the price of beer by 12 dollars per barrel.  And that’s a huge increase.”

The other alternative would be to dump the spent grain in landfills.  But some ranchers say that without that cheap feed they’d go out of business.