During one of my daily strolls through NPR, I found an article about new potential FDA regulations on brewers selling or giving their leftover/spent grain to farmers to use as cheap feed for cattle. The FDA has proposed that in order to limit contamination, the breweries will need to be subject to new regulations.
Apparently, for many, many years, the breweries and farmers have had a kind of mutually beneficial relationship with regards to the leftover grain that comes from brewing beer. Farmers would take the grain for free or at a very reduced rate, and the breweries wouldn’t have to arrange for disposal. It was win-win…kind of.
The problem was that the animals eat the feed that had very little regulation, and then we eat the animals…and, well, you get the picture. The breweries were up in arms about the whole thing, stating that bringing the grains up to regulations would cost them a fortune, and therefore not be worth it. They felt it would be more cost effective to just throw the grain away. The farmers were upset that they might be losing their access to cheap feed.
The FDA has since softened its regulation requirements on the breweries, but I still wanted to know, how do you, as the consumer of beef, feel? Do you want all feed to be strictly regulated, or are you happy with the brewery/farmer arrangement as it is? I certainly don’t want the cows to eat something potentially contaminated, and I also don’t really want to see all of that grain go to waste. So, I guess I am torn.