Mixed Bag of Info for Central Region Renderers

By David Meeker, PhD, MBA
Senior Vice President, Scientific Services, National Renderers Association

The National Renderers Association (NRA) Central Region held their annual meeting in early June in Elkhart Lake, WI. George Kaluzny, Kaluzny Bros., opened the meeting with recognition of the service of all Armed Forces members, and the atmosphere of family embodied in the rendering industry, the original recyclers.

Nicholas Velianoff, the Nalco Company, presented some compelling information on managing boiler water and treatments that can result in significant energy savings. He covered why appropriate water treatment is important and described industry best practices. Velianoff explained that reducing scale in boilers saves energy costs and higher temperatures and higher pH increase scaling. A spreadsheet is available on the U.S. Department of Energy Web site showing typical boiler operations and how adjusting important variables can save money.

Mark Lies, noted occupational and employment lawyer from Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, gave an update on enforcement activities of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As Lies has described in his Render column, OSHA is emphasizing combustible dust, ergonomics, record keeping, live electrical work, personal protective equipment, workplace violence, chemical use on-site, heat exposure, confined spaces, and lockout/tagout procedures. He outlined the importance of doing an employee hazard analysis in each operation, using software to track employee training, internal compliance reviews, and fixing problems found. Lies described in his storytelling manner how to reduce the risk of OSHA citations.

Fred Broda, Horton Group, gave a summary of how the new federal health care reform will affect employees and firms. The system has many moving parts with some advantages and disadvantages. Since the political landscape is focusing on the new law, there are likely many more changes in the future.

Steve Mannos, also of the Horton Group, discussed workers’ compensation laws and gave tips on compliance. He described audit traps and provided advice on how to avoid “hiring” claims through appropriate screening and background checking. Mannos said overpaying on insurance is common, and explained how to prepare for an insurance premium audit to ensure premiums are correct.

David Johnson, Separators, Inc., delivered an interesting talk on centrifuge management, including separators and clarifiers. He said these machines can be very dangerous with bowls moving at speeds of 450 miles per hour generating 10,000 g-forces. He emphasized the importance of carefully understanding and following operator’s manuals for these machines and proper lubrication, cleaning, and maintenance.

ChemTreat’s Jeff Schmidt, Rich Cardile, and Thomas Pahl presented some insightful information on wastewater treatment. Schmidt described the company and highlighted its business activities, while Cardile gave an overview of rendering wastes: high strength organic wastes with biochemical oxygen demand levels of 5,000 to 10,000 parts per million.

Wastewater from rendering typically is high in ammonia with total kjeldahl nitrogen from 500 to 1,000 parts per million, high in total suspended solids, high in phosphorus, and high concentrations of oil and grease. Various ways of dealing with these include the use of gravity separation, dissolved air flotation, and screening to remove solids, oil, and grease. Cardile described generally recognized as safe coagulants appropriate to use if the solids are cycled back into animal feed. He also explained biological treatments such as ponds with bacteria, aeration, and activated sludge. Appropriate chemicals can be used to enhance the process.

Pahl outlined a systems approach to wastewater treatment to reduce operational costs. He displayed a diagram of a generic rendering facility that included trailer storage and portions of the plant sometimes not considered as part of the operation. He encouraged renderers to make vendors part of the team, that the expertise available could have many benefits and increase profits.

At the group’s business meeting, NRA’s David Meeker gave a report on the activities of the national association, briefly describing the upcoming NRA fly-in where about 30 members will coordinate Capitol Hill visits to educate lawmakers on issues important to renderers. He also described the many recent and pending regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, and the NRA Environmental Committee’s efforts in both commenting to the agency on impact of regulations and informing members of what’s necessary to comply. Meeker updated the group on activities of the various NRA committees, beginning with a communication task force that is working on a communications plan to include the production of an industry video, strategic visits with allies, a member tool kit, and participation with related efforts in other sectors of agriculture. A letter was sent to all NRA members to raise funds for these projects.

Meeker then described work by the grease theft task force that is looking at legal, technology, and food safety oriented solutions to this widespread problem. He reported on the NRA dues task force and their efforts to come up with a new approach to calculating membership dues that will be fair to small and large operations alike; and the census that NRA will soon conduct to learn the number of rendering units in the association in order to test new models.

Meeker also briefed the group on activities of the NRA’s International Market Development Committee (IMDC) and the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF). Projects conducted by these organizations benefit all renderers and should be supported. IMDC efforts have greatly expanded the global markets for rendered products and FPRF successes include the rendering carbon footprint model available on the foundation’s Web site, cooker validation work at Clemson University, and multiple nutrition studies that led to favorable descriptions of rendered products in the new National Research Council (NRC) Nutrient Requirements of Fish and Shrimp (2011), the latest in a series of NRC reports on the nutritional needs of fish.

Meeker then reported on the activities of the Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI) Committee of NRA charged with enhancing the production and manufacture of safe animal by-products by improving the microbiological and chemical quality of feed fat and animal proteins. He described the North American Rendering Industry Code of Practice, disclosed that nearly 100 plants are certified, and told attendees about the upcoming training seminar on the code of practice for members planned for St. Louis, MO. He explained the new Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act, and how it will soon require some of the things renderers now do voluntarily in the code of practice. Meeker reviewed the purpose of testing proteins, emphasizing it is done to verify cooking and sanitation processes and not done to guarantee any particular load of meal. Setting up a system in the correct way can improve safety and quality across the board and this hazard analysis and critical control point type approach is proven superior to endpoint testing. He described the first six months of data on Enterobacteriaceae, or EBAC, testing that is being developed as an indicator of working processes, and a more informative test than the traditional Salmonella test. He discussed the egg recall of last summer in which rendering was unfairly implicated, and the research and communications NRA and APPI did to repair the reputation of rendered products.

In the business meeting, the Central Region decided to make a $2,500 contribution to the IMDC and a $2,500 contribution to FPRF. There was discussion of future meeting locations, and the advantages and disadvantages of certain venues. The meeting next year will be in Brainerd, MN, June 6-8, 2012. The group then elected the following officers for the next two years: Dan Hildabrandt, Central Bi-Products, president; Mike Owens, Kruger Commodities, vice president; and Ed Frakes, Darling International, secretary/treasurer.

Newsline – August 2011 RENDER | back