Schumer pushes feds to scrap brewery rule

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday urged the Food and Drug Administration to backtrack on a proposed rule requiring breweries to inspect spent grain used for cattle feed.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Schumer said the regulation would reduce breweries' profits and waste grain.

ADVERTISEMENT
"The brewing industry estimates that compliance with the proposed rule could cost over $50 million a year and could be a significant burden on small brewers who produce fewer than 1,000 barrels of beer annually," Schumer wrote.

Under the proposed rule, breweries would have to dry, package and inspect all food used for cattle. That would include spent grain, which is a by-product of grain steeped in hot water to extract natural sugars for alcohol production.

Brewers frequently donate the spent grain to farmers for cattle feed. But Schumer said that under the proposed rule, brewers might ultimately forgo processing the spent grain and throw it away altogether if its costs outweigh the benefits.

"Brewers across Upstate New York have been donating spent grains to nearby farms for years, saving everyone involved valuable money and time, and providing a much-needed product for local farmers. But this proposed FDA rule would drive up costs for both farmers and brewers with no clear health or safety benefit," Schumer said in a statement announcing the letter.

Thirteen House members also wrote to Hamburg last week calling for a reversal of the proposed rule.