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Distiller's Grains Scare Story question

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    Distiller's Grains Scare Story question

    So the post below came through my FB feed posted by a seller of organic horse supplements.

    I will preface it by saying that when I look up "distiller's grains" online, the description of how they are made bears no resemblance to this post. From what I can see online, the sugars are washed out of the grains and that's what goes on for fermentation, not the grain. Of course there are different ways to use grains to extract ethanol:

    I did also find an old COTH thread on distillers grains where someone weighed in with a statement about antibiotics in distilers grains towards the end of the thread. I am wondering if this is true, or if it is just one of those scare stories that circulate?

    Anyhow, would like some more knowledgeable input on the topic.

    Here is the post:

    Check your feed bag and see if it contains distillers grains. These grains are a common ingredient in processed feeds.
    Distillers grains are a by-product of ethanol (alcohol) manufactured from massive amounts of GMO corn, as well as barley, rice, or other grains. The corn or grain is wet down to make a mash, warmed up, and yeast is added. Then antibiotics are added to control the bacteria and increase the yield.
    In order to find a need for the used grain, producers have marketed it for years as feed for livestock, including horses.
    Always choose natural feeds for horses, instead of processed by-products. Their bodies understand real food.
    Last edited by Scribbler; Jan. 21, 2019, 01:59 PM.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why antibiotics would be present in distillers grains in any amount that would cause concern. And any "seller of organic horse supplements" needs some serious credentials to his or her name and studies on his or her product. In fact, I will trade the organic horse supplements for a pair of organic heirloom equine ear muffs.


      Ok, I work in the food industry in the US and got a BS in Animal Science and I had to do some fact checking. FDA's website pops up with the below link, which is 10 years old and pretty useless imo.

      However CFIA (Canada's version of FDA/USDA FSIS) does have a lovely link that explains antibiotics in DG.

      See section 4.2.i for the following paragrah:
      The VDD concluded that the use of ampicillin, penicillin, streptomycin, and virginiamycin, at the maximum inclusion rates indicated during the entire fermentation process Appendix I, Table 1) should not result in detectable residues and, as such, are unlikely to pose adverse health risks to humans and food animals, or to contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

      Animal feeds are regulated like human foods these days for 2 reasons. 1) What the animal eats, we eat. 2) Humans will eat animal feeds. Ever open that can of cat food and thing "Man that smells good!", well some human has eaten that. ANYWAY...for the larger feed manufacturer's they will require any incoming ingredients to be tested by a 3rd party laboratory to verify that the load is clear of contamination/adulteration. Antibiotic residues are considered contamination/adulteration depending on the country. So the manufacturers do not want to have antibiotics popping up in their feeds if a consumer/FDA tests it.

      And here is some light reading for the GMO thing.


        Good grief. Makes me wish we could go back to old school land where we fed nothing but local grass hay and oats.


          Original Poster

          Originally posted by Obsidian Fire View Post
          Good grief. Makes me wish we could go back to old school land where we fed nothing but local grass hay and oats.
          Yeah. I fed crap local hay and a gallon of sweet feed to my pony in the 1970s and galloped her everywhere after school and weekends.

          I wouldn't feed sweet feed now to my horse that doesn't get seven hours a day under saddle every Saturday

          My understanding was that distillers grains were a useful addition to manufactured horse feed because they up the protein without much sugar or starch.

          And yes, when I read silly things posted by "organic" feeds people, it makes me doubt the quality of their entire line of product, because you have to be just as scientifically minded to make herbs work as to make "mainstream" things work. It's not like herbs work just from magical thinking.


            OP, count me in on feeding my first horse alfalfa and alfalfa molasses many, many years ago. Now, maybe an occasional flake of alfalfa with a main diet of some sort of grass hay and alfalfa molasses just say 'no'.
            Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; John Gilliespie Magee, Jr


              I am all for good old fashion forage with minimal grains as a meal for my horses but I also value the other options out there. I have no opposition to feeding DG or any other byproduct (looking at you beet pulp) or grain supplement along side a forage diet. For harder to keep breeds or in areas where forage quality is low, grain supplements can mean the difference between a healthy happy horse or no horse at all.


                Original Poster

                Originally posted by horseshorseshorseshorses View Post
                I am all for good old fashion forage with minimal grains as a meal for my horses but I also value the other options out there. I have no opposition to feeding DG or any other byproduct (looking at you beet pulp) or grain supplement along side a forage diet. For harder to keep breeds or in areas where forage quality is low, grain supplements can mean the difference between a healthy happy horse or no horse at all.
                Well, yeah, feeding the right kind of "hard feed" is usually an important component of feeding the performance horse.

                I wasn't questioning that, just wonder if the specific claims about distillers grains as a component of manufactured feeds had any truth, or were just made up panic exaggerations.


                  It's a ploy to sell snake oil.


                    Original Poster

                    Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                    It's a ploy to sell snake oil.
                    The original post was written by someone who makes and sells supplements.

                    I found it shared on a FB page run by someone who sells "organic" hay. That person also sells "organic" alfalfa pellets at $50 for a 50 lb sack (regular alfalfa pellets are under $15).

                    There is money to be made in scaring people.