Are Horse Grains Edible for Humans?

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If you are tempted to purchase a 50-pound bag of oats or corn meant for horses for yourself -- because it’s less expensive than the human-grade products at the grocery store -- remind yourself that the United States Food and Drug Administration regulates horse grain processing so that is fit for equine consumption, not for human consumption. In addition to having less stringent cleanliness requirements, processed horse grains may contain additives harmful to humans.

Organic Grain

Organic farmers and processors operate under different regulations for horse and human grain, but you can safely consume organic grains for horses -- just not all organic foods for horses. When growing crops for horses, farmers can introduce raw animal manure into the field at any point prior to harvest. The window for introducing manure into a crop for human consumption closes earlier in the season. However, this is an issue only with foods that have direct contact with the soil, such as potatoes or carrots.

Human Digestion

Buy oats without hulls if you intend to eat them; humans cannot digest the hulls. Oats without hulls are also called groats. You can grind hard grains typically fed to horses like corn and soybeans into flour or other cooking uses.

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Author

Based in Central Texas, Karen S. Johnson is a marketing professional with more than 30 years' experience and specializes in business and equestrian topics. Her articles have appeared in several trade and business publications such as the Houston Chronicle. Johnson also co-authored a series of communications publications for the U.S. Agency for International Development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in speech from UT-Austin.