- Associated Press - Thursday, April 24, 2014
FDA backs off animal feed rule affecting brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will revise proposed livestock feed rules after hearing objections about the potential cost from brewers who sell grain leftover from making beer to ranchers and dairy farmers.

Beer makers big and small feared they would have to pay for grain testing, equipment, audits and other safety measures at an estimated cost of $13.6 million per brewery, likely affecting the price of beer, beef and dairy products. To avoid passing on those costs, some brewers said they would have simply sent the grain to landfills.

The FDA proposed the rules as part of its implementation of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, which is aimed at preventing outbreaks of foodborne illness. One incentive was the 2007 contamination of pet food from China with melamine, which killed hundreds of dogs and cats in the U.S.

“That was a tragic thing for pets, and it was sort of a wake-up call for everyone involved in food safety,” said Dan McChesney, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “If this could happen with pet food, why couldn’t it happen with human food?”

Livestock feed is generally safe, and the FDA is not aware of any problems with brewers’ grain, McChesney said. The agency did not intend to force beer makers to come up with costly food safety plans, but it is concerned about potential contamination between the factory and the farm, he said.

As examples, McChesney mentioned feed being hauled in trucks that also transport fertilizer and chemicals being accidentally dumped in storage bins.

Brewers noted their grain is already covered by food safety rules for humans.

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Mille Lacs residents sue Minn. DNR over walleye

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A group of Mille Lacs Lake residents sued the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Thursday, claiming the agency has mismanaged the lake’s struggling walleye population.

DNR officials didn’t consider a 1998 state constitutional amendment regarding Minnesota’s fishing and hunting heritage when developing its walleye management plan for the lake, attorney Erick Kaardal said. Instead, the agency focused only on a treaty with the Ojibwe bands that grants separate fishing rights, he said.

In doing so, “they’ve destroyed the Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing heritage,” Kaardal said. “There’s no more important Minnesota ecosystem than the Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishery.”

DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen said agency officials couldn’t comment on the lawsuit because they hadn’t reviewed it thoroughly.

The DNR has imposed regulations to limit the walleye harvest this year, including a ban until December on night fishing, a lucrative line for resorts. Kardaal said the lawsuit seeks to restore night fishing and consider Minnesota’s fishing and hunting heritage when making any and all future rules.

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