« Karl's Comments

Distilling FDA Intent

by Jeremy Lawrence

I think the National Milk Producers Association has it about right, as it, among a number of other Agricultural organizations, attempts to dissuade the Food and Drug Administration from imposing safe food regulations designed for humans, on domestic livestock. The issue evolves from a long time practice of transporting grain leftovers from beer manufacturers to livestock operations where the distillers dried grain is livestock feed. Then comes - and this is my own interpretation - the biofuel industry, and specifically ethanol. While there are many grassland and woodland products from which ethanol can be drawn, corn jumped to the front of all the potential base products. Im not actually decided, but Im contemplating the possibility that the interest in DDG lies, at least in part, in a federal government and its Big Oil buddies seizing an opportunity to throw a monkey wrench into the gears of ethanol production. If it takes some big beer producers with it, well - - too bad.

I did a quick Internet search for FDA on DDG, and came up with a whole host of sites treating the topic. Among those was a commentary from something called BIOSTAR, whole food supplements. It deals with all manner of human and animal foods and food supplements.

I started reading an article - commentary if you will - Tigger Montague is her name and it didnt take me long to begin questioning her sources, and the bases for her expressed concerns. In her second line, for petes sake, she writes, As the name implies it is a byproduct of the distillation process, which until now I had safely assumed. . .

But - - listen to what it is she says turned her around - A story on April 10, 2012, in Wired Science - - followed two days later by an article in the Washington Post. Neither the reference to Wired Science or the Washington Post has given me any confidence in the validity of the expressed concerns. Early on in the article the references to beer distilling are abandoned and the focus is entirely on ethanol. And there are some negative terminologys and trigger words liberally sprinkled about. For example: Distillers grains are a byproduct of ethanol manufacturing. THE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF GMO CORN; the leftover mash is conveniently sold for animal feed; in fact, distillers grains have proven to be an economic boon to the ethanol producers . Maybe Tigger doesnt even know that DDG is a boon to the livestock industry, too, and were always on the lookout for means to make Agriculture more doable.

Many industries, including the Beer Institute are asking the Food and Drug Administration to exempt American brewers from the proposed regulation. Chris Galen, of the National Milk Producers Federation says the proposed new rule is a matter of the FDA providing a solution to a problem that doesnt exist.

I wonder if anybody else has found the Feds to be meddlers.

Karl Guenther is a retired farm broadcaster at WKZO and can be reached at khguenther@charter.net . He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. (accompanying picture is a screen capture from YouTube)