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Johanns challenges FDA rule on distillers grainsTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
Mike Johanns

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns has written Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the FDA to exempt raw agricultural commodities, distillers grain and other byproducts from a promised revision of a proposed rule dealing with livestock feed. 

As first proposed, the rule would add new requirements to producers of distillers grains – including brewers and ethanol plants – and increase the cost for livestock producers who use these byproducts, Johanns said.

FDA’s original proposal would require businesses like ethanol producers and breweries to prepare and package byproducts used for animal feed. Distillers grain is typically hauled in bulk by semi-truck to local feed yards. 

“As currently drafted, these new requirements would be illogical and could bring a safe, mutually-beneficial system to a screeching halt,” Johanns said. “The proposal would increase costs and create massive amounts of landfill waste – without any improvements to food safety."

The FDA is revisiting the rule.

Johanns said he will continue "to advocate for food safety regulations based on sound science and common sense."

In the letter, Johanns said, "When Congress passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act in 2010, with my support, the intent was to create a feasible, science-based process to protect consumers against reasonably foreseeable hazards. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a rigid framework that would substantially increase costs for industry participants with little, if any, expected benefit. " 

In particular, Johanns is concerned about FDA regulation of byproducts used in animal food. 

"Whether the byproducts are from ethanol plants, breweries, or human food manufacturers, these are an important part of the supply chain for animal food and help companies reduce waste and create additional value," he wrote. "However, the proposed rule included a number of new requirements that would have made the distribution of byproducts cost-prohibitive."

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/21/2014
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