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FDA Rule Could Spike Beer Prices

A new FDA proposal could raise beer prices.

A new proposal by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has thrown both farmers and beer distributors into a panic. Indeed, they are concerned that the FDA could soon create a new cost issue for them all due to a process that some sources seem to indicate is actually “a safety non-issue.”  It could even result in consumers paying higher milk and beer prices.

At present, the majority of US beer breweries sell a brewing process by-product called “spent grain” to nearby dairy farms. It provides the dairy cows with a high-fiber, high-protein feed. It also is economically conscious and environmentally-friendly.

beer prices

Beer could cost you more/Image: SheKnows

This working relationship between brewers and farmers is reportedly “centuries old”. Unfortunately, the FDA is now investigating just how this spent grain is being distributed to local farmers, fed to cows and how this is specifically passed on to consumers.

The Food and Drug Administration has just proposed a policy that would classify companies that distribute spent grain to farms as “animal feed manufacturers.” This would require breweries to actually dry and package the spent grain prior to shipping it to nearby dairy farms.

Vice-President of Brewery Operations at Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland, Oregon, Scott Mennen, told the press that being forced to dry and package spent grain “would be cost prohibitive” and cost millions of dollars. He added: “Most brewers would have to put this material in a landfill” or make changes and raise beer prices.

At present, breweries are exempt from current animal feed requirements. Since President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011—meant to stop food poisoning—this exemption status could come to an end. Breweries would have to equip their facilities with additional equipment in order to meet FDA requirements.

beer prices

Milk could cost more, too/Image: DHA

The cost of the equipment and the installation would cut into their profits and they would then pass the cost onto their customers—the beer drinkers. Brewery owners, dairy farmers and even the FDA itself agree that the FDA could end up regulating a problem that is non-existent.

Daniel McChesney, director of surveillance and compliance in the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, admitted: “We don’t know of any problems. But we’re trying to get to a preventative mode.”

Local dairy farmers agree that this preventative proposal by the FDA could have adverse affects no one considered. Spent grain is considered a “premium product” to farmers for which they pay practically nothing. It increases production by making dairy cows eat more. If the new proposal result in the farmers having to pay additional costs for the feed this will raise the cost of milk. No matter what you drink the new FDA policy could result in higher milk and beer prices in the near future.

A new FDA proposal could raise beer prices.

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.