FDA's role in brewing
What role does the FDA play in a small brewery? I'm assuming beer considered a food product.
Nada, unless someone gets sick or finds a siringe/mouse/finger in a bottle.
Your local health inspector probably bases its inspection of FDA GMP's, so you might want to know them.
Not sure about the U.S., but in Ireland Breweries are consider food production and have to abide by all the food regulations. At the time, Ireland went from one of the most laxed regulated to one of the most strict in a very short time. Mind set was the biggest problem.
All this said, If you are having concerns with regulators, here are a few things to keep in mind,
In most cases, Local regulators can be more strict then State and State can be more strict then Federal but not the other way around.
Basic knowledge of regulations, mind set as a food production facility and common sense when you are setting up procedures for you place will cover 90% of your concerns.
Regulations are for inturpatation, not set in stone. What works in Joe Smuckatellie's place down the road, may not work in yours.
In other words, be flexible.
Don't Argue! - Inspectors can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you argue with him/ her, most likely the latter, then, no matter what you do or say, even if you're right, your wrong.
Hope it helps,
The FDA used to only deal with the restaurant side of brewpubs and never with microbreweries. We just received a notice from the FDA and the next paragraph is a direct quote from the notice.
"As part of the Bioterrorism Preparedness Act, the Food & Drug Administration requires you to register your facility by 12/12/03 and submit Prior Notices before importing agricultural ingredients and food samples."
Interestingly enough the FDA has classified beer/alcohol as a food product!! As I understand it now...bewpubs which sell greater than 50% of thier output at the restaurant are exempt from this registration process. Microbreweries are most likely not exempt. Check out this link for more info:
Wow....guess I better not do that WMD brew I had in mind (wheat malt dunkel)
......or I may end up in Guantonamo Bay for years without access to a lawyer....or fresh hops ....or viable yeast.....