Poet LLC announced Aug. 30 it has adjusted its production process in order to sell certified antibiotic-free dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS.)

The company said that it had spent several years developing an ethanol production process that didn’t require antibiotics. Poet, which produces more than 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol at 27 ethanol plants, sells more than 4 million tons of trademarked Dakota Gold DDGS to a variety of animal feed markets.

“Since it was introduced more than 15 years ago, Dakota Gold has built a reputation for consistency and quality,” said Mark Giesemann, director of technical services at Poet Nutrition. “We had to ensure that any adjustments in our process didn’t compromise that reputation. After a few years of testing and development, we’ve found that the DDGS from the antibiotic-free process are of the highest quality.”

Antimicrobial agents are used when the chemistry of fermentation is disrupted causing a contamination, something Poet said was a rare occurrence. Poet tested its new process with egg-farming customers with support from the United Egg Producers. “Poet partnered with UEP in a recently completed study showing that adding DDGS to layer diets can dramatically reduce ammonia emissions from the farm,” said Chad Gregory, senior vice president at UEP. “Their antibiotic-free process is another example that demonstrates Poet’s commitment to animal agriculture.”

The process has been installed at all of Poet’s plants in order to help the company meet demand where it arises, Nathan Schock, director of public affairs and corporate social responsibility told EPM. However, only those customers that specifically request certification will receive a certified antibiotic-free product.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy applauded Poet’s certified antibiotic-free DDGS and called for the rest of the ethanol industry to remove antibiotics from the production process. “This is a clear indication that antibiotics in ethanol production are unnecessary, and a growing marketing liability,” said IATP’s Julia Olmstead, co-author of the 2009 report “Fueling Resistance? Antibiotics in Ethanol Production.”

IATP has been pushing for banning antibiotic use in ethanol production, pointing to concerns about the increasing overuse of medically unnecessary antibiotics in agriculture and increases in antibiotic resistance. There are several effective and economical alternatives and more than 40 percent of U.S. ethanol plants use some form of antibiotic-free antimicrobial, the 2009 report said.

In 2008 the Food and Drug Administration began testing DDGS and found antibiotic residues, IATP said. Antibiotics found included erythromycin, tylosin and virginiamycin, which has a human analogue that doctors depend on for treating human patients. DDGS containing antibiotic residues are generally permitted for livestock feed but the FDA does not allow DDGS contaminated with virginiamycin to layer hens.

source: ethanolproducer


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