No surprise that the Brewers Association and Beer Institute have come out so firmly against a proposal that would make it harder and more expensive for breweries to sell or give away their spent grains. (The BA’s statement is here.) If the Food and Drug Adminstration does not afford some sort of relief then it will end up costing brewers and/or beer drinkers (likely both).
That doesn’t mean the new rules are necessarily a bad idea. Nobody is saying that spent grain is bad for cattle. However, the FDA rules are are part of a broad modernization of the food safety system. “This proposed regulation would help prevent foodborne illness in both animals and people,” the agency said in the statement. So it seems like Colorado senator Mark Udall has the best idea: “That’s why I am urging the FDA to swiftly complete a risk assessment of brewers’ uses of spent grains as a cost-effective and safe livestock feed. When brewers succeed, so do countless other businesses and sectors of our economy.”
Reading about this reminded me of a bit of history that, because of space logistics, got cut out of “For the Love of Hops.” This comes from “Hops: Their Cultivation, Commerce, and Uses in Various Countries,” written by P.L. Simmonds in 1877:
“A farmer in the north of France, having been driven by the scarcity of fodder to try to make use of whatever fell in his way for feeding his cattle, prove that hop leaves were a valuable element of food for cows when mixed with other substances. He found that whenever he gave them hop leaves he always obtained more milk and his cows throve better than usual. The leaves must be used as soon as they are plucked, for the cows object to them when dried by the sun.”