The Beer Institute recently fired out some commendations to the FDA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration made two important rulings that the institute feels favors America’s beer brewers, importers and suppliers (folks that the Beer Institute represents).
Guidance on menu labeling rules
The FDA issued Guidance on the Menu Labeling Rules that will take effect for restaurants on December 1, 2016. Under the guidance, a single calorie reference may be used for a category or group of beverage alcohol products if the products all have the same calorie count.
A calorie range may be used if the menu uses generic terms like “beer,” “light beer,” “red wine,” or “white wine” and there are three or more items available within a category.
In addition, restaurants may use a variety of sources to calculate calories and determine nutrient disclosures, but the USDA database is an appropriate source for alcohol only if the item on the menu matches the description of an item in the USDA database.
“This is a positive outcome for our industry and the consumer,” said Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute president and CEO. “While the FDA will allow flexibility in terms of sources used for nutrition labeling, including calorie disclosure for alcohol, the restaurant must have a reasonable basis for the disclosures and the disclosures themselves must be accurate.”
Spent grains ruling
For nearly two years, the FDA has been examining the way in which the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) regulations may affect the use of spent grains in animal food. The agency was considering rules that were onerous and would cost the industry millions of dollars in annual compliance costs, millions of dollars in disposal costs and many millions of dollars more in lost revenue without improving public health and safety. The final rules released by the FDA on September 10 do not impose additional costs on brewers who have a written food safety plan or those who follow the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs).
“We appreciate all the work the FDA did on this front and believe the final rule struck an important balance that enables farmers to use spent grains as an important source of animal feed,” said McGreevy. “We’re grateful for their efforts and we are pleased to have been a strong voice in this discussion.”