Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressmen Garamendi and LaMalfa’s Letter Helps Prevent Breweries From Facing Harmful FDA Regulation

April 25, 2014
Press Release

FAIRFIELD, CA - Earlier this month, Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA-3) and Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-1) sent a bipartisan letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging them to reject a proposed regulation that would have imposed an unnecessary burden on many small breweries while also contributing to an increase in food waste. Eleven additional Members of the California Congressional Delegation - six Democrats and five Republicans - signed onto the Garamendi/LaMalfa letter urging the FDA to reconsider. Yesterday, the FDA announced that they would not pursue the regulation. This is a victory for sustainable agricultural practices and California’s craft breweries.

"We've heard from trade groups and members of Congress, as well as individual breweries raising concerns that FDA might disrupt or even eliminate this practice by making brewers, distillers, and food manufacturers comply not only with human food safety requirements but also additional, redundant animal feed standards that would impose costs without adding value for food or feed safety," Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine explained on the FDA’s official blog. "That, of course, would not make common sense, and we’re not going to do it."

“Ensuring food safety is one of the most important functions of the federal government. However, in this specific instance, the FDA was proposing a burdensome and unnecessary regulation, and I’m glad they’re reversing course,” Congressman Garamendi said.

Many breweries currently reuse their spent grain to feed cattle, sometimes for beef used at restaurants on premises. Under the proposed regulation that has since been rejected, this practice would have become prohibitively expensive, as breweries would be forced to dry, package, and inspect all food, including spent grain used for cattle. This would make the grain practically worthless, thus increasing food waste and cutting into profits at small breweries.

Garamendi added, “Many small breweries are helmed by people who believe deeply in conservation and sustainable agriculture. They like to buy local and stay local, partnering with area farmers to reduce food waste. It’s great news that this practice can continue in California and across the nation.”

Breweries that incorporate restaurants in their facilities are already required to register with the FDA, abide by extensive food safety regulations, and maintain food safety records. The craft brewery industry is rapidly expanding in America and especially in California. According to the Brewers Association, 2,768 craft breweries operated for some or all of 2013, creating 110,273 jobs and generating $14.3 billion in retail dollar value.

The Third District is home to several small breweries, including Berryessa Brewing Company in Winters, Black Dragon Brewery in Woodland, Heretic Brewing Company in Fairfield, Sudwerk Brewery in Davis, and Sutter Buttes Brewing in Yuba City.