European Renderers Shape Their Future

By Tina Caparella

Since the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom in 1986, renderers across the world have been dealing with legislation in one form or another on the use of their products in various applications, primarily feed. But nowhere has legislation been more stringent than in the European Union (EU) where Regulation No. 1774/2002, the European Council’s animal by-products regulation (ABPR) that into effect October 3, 2002, classified rendered products into three categories and banned virtually all animal proteins from use in fertilizers and farmed animal feeds and in some industrial uses. The regulation basically turned the European rendering industry into a waste disposal industry with millions of metric tons of animal proteins incinerated every year.

The number of BSE cases in Europe has dropped dramatically, from tens of thousands at its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s, to about 120 last year in all 27 EU countries, including the United Kingdom. While the ABPR was intended to be only temporary, and has now been in place for seven years, glimmers of hope emerged for re-introducing animal proteins and fats back into the feed chain as members of the European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA) met for their annual congress in June in Cannes, France.

Paola Testori Coggi, deputy director general of DG SANCO, the European Commission’s (EC’s) Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs, discussed the progress of a new ABPR that was first proposed by the commission in 2008 after a report in 2005 indicated a need for clearer and more risk-appropriate rules. The European Parliament and European Council agreed on the proposal at its first reading in April 2009, with formal adoption of the new ABPR expected this summer.

Coggi reported that the main reasons for changing the regulation were simplification and clarification of rules on environmental issues in conjunction with the parliament’s new waste directive. The new ABPR will also reduce administrative burden on establishments and make science-based modifications to product categorization. She explained that once the proposal is formally adopted and signed by the presidents of both the European Parliament and Council, enforcement will take place 15 months after publication in the official journal.

On a related matter, Coggi talked about the EC’s TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy) Roadmap adopted in 2005 that has prompted recent changes in feed rules, such as allowing fish meal in young ruminant milk replacer diets and the possibility of using non-ruminant processed animal proteins in aquafeeds.

Karen Bucher, French Ministry of Agriculture, provided further information on the new ABPR, with the key change for renderers being clarification with other areas of EU regulations, such as human food and health, and the environment. The most notable example is when tallow is used as a fuel in steam boilers. Previously, the ABPR stipulated that tallow must be disposed of as a waste product and severe waste incineration rules should apply, rather than normal emission rules for fuels. The new ABPR clarifies that tallow can be a fuel product and normal environmental emission standards for fuels should apply. As a result of this clarification, the different interpretations in many EU countries should now be harmonized and applied fairly across Europe.

This should assist with the EC’s new renewable energy directive published just one week prior to EFPRA’s meeting and explained by Ewout Deurwaarder of the Directorate General for Energy and Transport. The directive sets mandatory national targets for renewable energy, including 10 percent renewable biofuels in transportation fuels by 2020. Member states are required to develop renewable energy action plans by December 2010 and all renewable energy sectors are now covered, including heating. Renewable biofuels will also have to comply with the directive’s sustainability criteria.

Biofuels produced from wastes and residuals – no definition in directive but assumption is animal fats will fall under this category – will count towards meeting the 10 percent requirement in transport fuels and towards the obligation put by EU member states on fuel suppliers. Deurwaarder explained that under the sustainability criteria, wastes and non-agricultural residues must save at least 35 percent in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He said a default value of 83 percent GHG savings can be used for waste vegetable oil/animal fat-based biodiesel, not including animal fats produced from category 3 material in accordance with the ABPR, which are from animals fit for human consumption. Preliminary GHG calculations are included in the directive but will be further discussed with member states. In order to comply with the directive, each EU member state will have to draw up legislation and submit it to the EC for approval.

In his overview of the European animal by-products industry, EFPRA’s Patrick Coelenbier reported that production across the EU has been stable for the past two years. However, forecasts for 2009 show a drop in beef and pork production and an increase in poultry imports, translating to a decrease in raw materials available for European renderers. The top five EU member states processing animal by-products are France at 2.8 million metric tons, Germany at about 2.7 million metric tons, Spain at 2.1 million metric tons, the United Kingdom at two million metric tons, and Italy at just under 1.5 million metric tons. In total, 18 EU member states processed 15.5 million metric tons of animal by-products in 2008, of which 5.6 million metric tons was from high-risk materials (category 1) and animal by-products at risk of contamination with other animal diseases (category 2).

Animal protein markets for EU renderers in 2008 included 39 percent going into energy, down five percent from 2007; 33 percent towards pet food, a five percent increase from 2007; 24 percent in fertilizers; and one percent each for specialized feed ingredients and food. As for animal fats, 27 percent went into energy, down four percent from 2007; 27 percent was for feed; 24 percent towards oleochemicals and soap; 11 percent for pet food, up two percent from 2007; five percent for food; and five percent for biodiesel, up one percent from 2007.

Coelenbier remarked that the new renewable energy directive should help increase the use of animal fats in biodiesel because of two linked factors. If considered to be produced from a waste material, then animal fats would count twice for credits under national renewable energy requirements. He also stated that the pet food industry is becoming more interested in and more important to EU rendered products, increasing its use of poultry fat, tallow, lard, and bone fat in 2008 versus 2007.

In an effort to determine where the worldwide rendering industry will be in the next 10 years, EFPRA invited representatives from other parts of the globe to partake in a roundtable discussion. Niels Nielsen, Daka a.m.b.a., representing Europe, declared that the rendering industry will be one of the most important parts of the solution to climate change and feeding the world’s growing population. Alan von Tunzelman, PVL Proteins, New Zealand, envisions sustainability as being a huge selling point for rendering, while David Kaluzny II, Kaluzny Bros., Inc., is concerned the United States is not recognizing rendering as an important part of the food chain.

In Canada, Martin Couture, Sanimax, believes renderers will continue to remove waste material, but that the material will include other products such as food waste. Perhaps the furthest removed from rendering is Mexico, where, according to Fernando Mendizabal, APELSA Monterey SA de CV, not much raw material is left for processing. In Mexico, “spinal cord soup” is popular as is consuming the brains and head of cattle. Mendizabal was quick to point out their citizens are healthy despite eating what other countries ban from the food and feed chain. He does hope that Mexico’s rendering industry will advance in technology but knows that renderers will be fighting for raw materials as more by-products are used for food consumption.

As for the role of government, Tunzelman is delighted to see regulators approaching the rendering industry for assistance in writing regulations and thinks government will see the industry as an important role in the future. He challenged renderers to continue producing consistent, high-quality products and promote to “outsiders” that rendering plays a valuable role in the animal food chain. Kaluzny added that the industry should publicize the use of animal fats in energy and the rendering industry’s role in the sequestration of carbon, thus reducing GHG emissions.

Roundtable moderator Ruth Jewkes, Whisper Consultancy, emphasized that the industry needs to create partnerships with food industry and animal agriculture groups to help support rendering’s role in food security and sustainability. The panel all agreed that the industry needs to stay positive and be prudent in its role in the future of animal agriculture.

Technical Symposium Examines Future
Prior to EFPRA’s congress, a technical symposium highlighted rendered products on the international stage and finding new applications. EFPRA Standing Technical Committee Chairman Stephen Woodgate first recapped the committee’s activities over the past year, which primarily involved work on numerous new or amended EU regulations such as a waste incineration directive, a chemical standard, a GHG directive, and the new ABPR. Part of the committee’s goals for the next year is to complete GHG calculations for biofuels and bioliquids and obtain “absolute clarity” on tallow as a fuel product.

The potential to use European rendered products in aquaculture feed was addressed by Alberto Allodi, chairman of the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation Fish Feed Committee, Italy. He said the harvesting of wild fish has met its natural constraints as 70 percent of the world’s oceans are overexploited so aquaculture farming needs to fill the gap. The European aquaculture industry produces 1.4 million metric tons of fish per year, but with seafood consumption increasing, 60 percent of Europe’s fish and seafood supply is imported. The EC is developing strategies for a sustainable aquaculture industry, including replacement for fish meal/oil used in feeds. Allodi noted that fish need a full pack of nutrients, not a specific material like fish meal, and at today’s price levels, a substitution rate of 10 percent per year can be expected. While rendered products are one alternative feed ingredient, current EU legislation limits the use to very few products and market acceptance is still a challenge despite research showing rendered products being a good nutritional value for farmed fish that pose no food safety or fish health issues.

Using, not wasting, phosphorus derived from animal by-products was discussed by Dr. Josef Kamphues, director of the Institute of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine, Germany, who declared there are limited resources of phosphorus, which is highly used in fertilizers and animal diets, primarily pigs and poultry. He presented various research studies on the availability of phosphorus from animal by-products and ways in achieving a higher social acceptance in the prudent use of animal by-products.

Focusing on the role the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, plays in setting international standards for use and trade of rendered products was Sarah Kahn, director of international trade, OIE. The OIE is a 174-member intergovernmental organization established in 1924 whose global mandate is “the improvement of animal health all around the world” and is recognized by the World Trade Organization as one of three standard-setting “sister” organizations: (1) the Codex Alimentarius Commission for food safety; (2) the OIE for animal health and zoonoses; and (3) the International Plant Protection Convention for plant health.

The 77th Annual Assembly of the OIE was held in May 2009 where changes to articles referencing BSE in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code were voted on and approved. Among the changes was removal of the words “protein free” when referring to tallow with less than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities as a “safe” commodity. Other changes included removal of the under 30 months of age reference for deboned skeletal meat as a safe commodity, and the addition of “over 30 months of age” in the reference to gelatin from BSE controlled/undetermined countries. Kahn remarked that it’s important for the public to know the code changes still ensure safe products.

Kahn also commented that OIE believes finding new cases of BSE is a good thing because it shows countries are doing a proper job of surveillance. She said it was difficult to explain why on a single continent one country is finding cases while another isn’t, such as Canada and the United States, although Kahn noted she was not criticizing the United States.

Sergio Nates, president, Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF), informed the group that the organization has modified its by-laws to allow EFPRA to serve on its board of directors if they so choose. EFPRA will vote on the decision this fall. Nates discussed several FPRF research projects targeting the use of rendered products in aquaculture feeds and shared his involvement with the Global Aquaculture Alliance, which allowed him to ensure rendered products were included in the draft Best Aquaculture Practices standard for feed mills. He announced the completion of two FPRF projects: one on the destruction of avian influenza by rendering that is awaiting publication in a scientific journal, and another on the life cycle analysis of animal fat in biodiesel that is also awaiting publication in a trade journal.

The World Renderers Organization (WRO) held their annual meeting following the symposium, where it was decided that several more developing country members are needed before the WRO could be recognized as a truly global organization by the OIE. Woodgate pointed out that WRO efforts aided in persuading the OIE to remove “protein free” from the tallow description, providing a “small but important victory in common sense.” It was agreed that world rendering statistics need to be collected to show the importance of the global industry, and to send WRO representation to various international conferences to provide educational opportunities to feed sectors, including aquaculture.

The WRO then elected the following new officers to serve the next two years: Alan von Tunzelman, PVL Proteins, New Zealand, president; David Kaluzny II, Kaluzny Bros., United States, first vice president; and Stephen Woodgate, EFPRA, on behalf of Europe, second vice president.

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August 2009 RENDER | back