Should the mush left over after the ethanol process — known as distillers grains — be fed to farm animals?

There’s been little real debate around that question, even though a) heavy use of distillers grains as cow feed has been linked to deadly E. Coli 0157H7 outbreaks; and b), the mush has been shown to contain all manner of residues from the ethanol process, including industrial chemicals and antibiotics.

While questions surrounding distillers grains as animal feed hang around, the pet-food industry is seriously considering adding the stuff to cat and dog food; indeed, a few producers already are. According to a pet-food industry consultant:

Currently, only a few of the "value brands" of petfood are brave enough to incorporate DDGS [a common type of distillers grains] in their formulas.

However …

Considering consumers generally have a favorable view of "green" ethanol and petfood companies have a need to recapture some lost margin encountered with rising commodity prices, it may be time for the broader industry to explore its use.

In other words, hey guys, corn is expensive and distillers grains are relatively cheap. Hel-lo-o!