In the autumn of 2009 the FDA began the survey to track and test the residues of antibiotics such as virginiamcyin, penicillin and erythromycin, all used to control bacteria growth in fermentation tanks.
The objective of the survey was “to determine the extent and level of antibiotic residues in a limited number of domestic and import samples of distillers grains.”
The survey intends to generate data for policy development, but the FDA expects that the outcome is not expected to result in regulatory action.
In 2009, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy completed a report that indicated that almost 45% of US ethanol production facilities are not using antibiotics to control bacteria in fermentation tanks.
Some plants use ingredients made from brewing hops and many others use a product like DuPont’s FermaSure. The DuPont product uses chlorine dioxide to control the bacteria.
“Our 2010 sampling assignment continues and is likely not to be completed until the end of 2010/early 2011,” said Laura Alvey, communications director for the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).
Alvey also said CVM would wait to comment on the survey until “we have had time to thoroughly review any/all results.”