Media coverage continues to heap scorn on the Food & Drug Administration for its proposal to regulate the disposal of spent grains by breweries. The Beer Institute says the proposal will subject brewers to “onerous” and unnecessary regulation. Latest example is this story, which appeared on the CBS outlet in San Francisco.
FDA’s response has been two-fold: First, FDA says it’s simply trying to implement requirements of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Second, once the outcry reached a fever pitch, it says it will now redraft the rule.
The FDA has got its blinders on. In mindlessly implementing the Administrative Procedures Act, it doesn’t realize the damage this proposed rule is doing to public respect for government.
Since brewers have been feeding spent grains — what’s left of what, corn, rye, etc., once the sugar has been extracted in the brewing process — to livestock for thousands of years without any risk to human health, the rule appears unnecessary and, to coin a phrase, idiotic.
That puts it in the same category as EPA’s prosecution of farmers who fill in wetlands that are almost never wet or OSHA’s mindless enforcement of a rule that fire extinguishers must be a certain distance off the floor, citing employers who miss the distance by just an inch or two.
One thing on top of another — the FDA spent grain rule, some EPA and OSHA actions that appear unnecessary and punitive, last week’s cattle roundup — increases the perception that the federal government is mindless, stupid and unnecessarily intrusive.
And that leads to the growth of Tea Party and Libertarian political movements, as well as a general contempt for government. Our opinion.