How Sustainability Influences Ingredient Sourcing, Quality and Safety

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 2:40 PM
3501B (Kansas City Convention Center)
David L. Meeker , National Renderers Association, Alexandria, VA
Abstract Text:

The rendering industry collects and safely processes approximately 50 billion pounds of animal byproducts each year in the U.S.  Rendering plants process a variety of raw materials from animal agriculture, principally offal from slaughterhouses, but including whole animals that die on farms or in transit and other materials such as bone, feathers, and blood.  By recycling these byproducts into various protein, fat and mineral products, including meat and bone meal, hydrolyzed feather meal, blood meal, and various types of animal fats and greases, the sustainability of animal agriculture is greatly enhanced.  The rendering industry is conscious of its role in the prevention of disease and microbiological control while providing safe feed ingredients for livestock, poultry, aquaculture, and pets.  A HACCP-based Code of Practice is followed to ensure that cooking destroys microbes, and that recontamination does not occur after the rendering process.  Recently published FDA animal feed safety regulations follow the same hazard analysis and prevention concepts renderers have used for many years.

The processing of otherwise low value organic matter from the livestock production and meat processing industries through rendering drastically reduces the amount of waste.  If not rendered, biological materials would be deposited in landfills, burned, buried, or inappropriately dumped with large amounts of carbon dioxide, ammonia, and other compounds polluting air and water.  When rendered, these products are dried, stabilized, and recycled for animal feed, energy, fertilizer, and other uses.  Even though cooking these high moisture materials is an energy intensive process, for each metric ton of CO2 produced (scope 1 emissions) by operating rendering plants, 5.68 metric tons of CO2 are removed from the environment.

The majority of rendered protein products are used as animal feed.  Rendered products are especially valuable to the livestock and pet food industries because of their high protein content, digestible amino acid levels (especially lysine), mineral availability (especially calcium and phosphorous), and relatively low cost in relation to their nutrient value.  Rendering facilities produce many species specific meals as well as mixed species meals, and often meet special specifications required by pet food manufacturers by devoting individual plants or processing lines to certain products.  The use of these reclaimed and recycled materials in pet food is a much more sustainable model than using human grade food for pets.

Keywords: Rendering, Sustainability, Ingredients, Byproducts