September 19, 2014

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet welcomed revised regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding spent brewers grains, water quality, and soil amendments. Bennet requested revisions to the regulations after hearing concerns from Colorado producers and brewers. He wrote Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the FDA, earlier this year and invited her to come out to the state to hear the concerns firsthand. Bennet also echoed the concerns of Colorado brewers to Commissioner Hamburg at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee hearing in March.

“Colorado brewers and producers are committed to providing a healthy food supply and reducing consumer risks, but this was a classic case of unintended consequences flowing from well-meaning policies,” Bennet said. “We’re pleased that the FDA has listened to the voices of our agricultural community. We look forward to reviewing the revised rules and working to create a framework that both supports our farmers and ranchers and ensures food safety.”

The originally proposed rules would have made it harder and more expensive for breweries to sell leftover grains as animal feed, sparking concerns from Colorado craft brewers. The state’s fruit, vegetable, and organic producers expressed concerns about the water quality and compliance standards, as well as restrictions on the use of soil amendments. In today’s announcement the FDA is proposing to revise the water quality testing provision to account for natural variations in water sources and adjust its approach to manure and compost used in crop production pending future research.
The proposed regulations will be implemented as a part of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act. The FDA will accept comments on the proposed revisions of the proposed rules for 75 days and final rules will be issued in 2015.