University of Nebraska researchers have found no reason to fear a “food safety crisis” from the use of distillers grains, a byproduct of ethanol production, as a livestock feed, hailed this report as yet another rebuff of some of the accusations raised against corn ethanol.

“It’s heartening to see that the scary headlines of a few months ago were unwarranted,” says Steve Ruh, National Corn Growers Association''''s ethanol committee chair. He cites news reports that tied distiller grains to E. coli. “We agree with the researchers that more work needs to be done in this area, and that ‘finger pointing’ needs to end until we get clear answers.”

In a paper, presented last week at the annual meeting of the Distillers Grains Technology Council in Kansas City, researchers reviewed prior research by Kansas State and the University of Nebraska, and concluded that distiller grains have had no “demonstrably consistent” effect on E. coli shedding from livestock, that data are inconsistent and that more research is needed.

“At this point, there is no scientific evidence that feeding DG [distillers grains], at least at levels being used commercially, is the cause of a food safety crisis,” the researchers conclude. “Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that feeding of DGs is the cause of the 2007 (E.coli-related meat) recalls.”

For a copy of the research, go to http://ncga.com/PDFs/E%20coli%20and%20DG.pdf