Poultry Renderers Advised of Impending Rules

By Tina Caparella

The Poultry Protein and Fat Council (PPFC) of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association held its annual seminar in early October in Nashville, TN, to address an array of matters facing poultry renderers. PPFC Chairman Dan Henson, Simmons Foods, started off the meeting with an overview of this small niche group. Over 50 percent of the council’s revenue goes toward research, which has helped to nearly double the value of feather meal relative to soybean meal. Henson commented that the PPFC board’s focus going forward will be to continue the partnership with the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation, support the Pet Food Conference held at the International Poultry Expo next January, target feed ingredient replacement for the aquaculture market, and new videos promoting all rendered products and highlighting careers in the rendering industry.

Warren Howe, Woodruff and Howe Environmental Engineering, updated attendees on the array of environmental regulations, beginning with the impending Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule that renderers must be in compliance with by November 10, 2011. There are significant new requirements, Howe noted, such as monthly and annual tank inspections that meet best industry practices, bubble level gauges on all tanks, and high level alarms and shut-off mechanisms. The rule defines loading racks and animal and vegetable fats and oils, which includes dissolved air flotation skimmings, and spells out secondary containment requirements.

Howe also addressed nutrient water quality standards the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed for inland waters in Florida, which has proposed its own regulations to ward off EPA’s reach, although without much relief. Current water quality standards are “narrative,” as is the case in most states, not specifically numerical. However, EPA’s and Florida’s new rules specify significant reductions in allowable discharge concentrations for nitrogen and phosphorous, reductions so low there isn’t technology available except perhaps reverse osmosis, according to Howe. The proposed standards specify total nitrogen ranging from 0.67 to 1.87 milligrams per liter (mg/l) for streams, and 0.51 to 1.27 mg/l in lakes. Total phosphorus levels would be 0.06 to 0.49 mg/l in streams, and 0.01 to 0.05 mg/l in lakes. Howe cautioned that once a standard is in place in Florida, it will be easier for other states to follow suit.

Howe continued with updates on storm water permits, boiler air permits, and EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions monitoring regulation that he declared as being the most confusing regulation ever to come out of EPA.

“It’s a mess of a rule,” Howe proclaimed. The threshold for reporting greenhouse gas emissions is 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which he equated to 2.5 million gallons of fuel per year. Most small rendering plants probably won’t be affected, but larger plants could be, Howe warned.

Paul Schlumper, Georgia Tech Research Institute, returned for a third year, this time speaking on electrical hazards and arc flash that can cause serious injuries or death. He pointed out that companies need to do a hazard analysis of each plant and take the necessary precautions to protect employees using as guidance the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E standard, now updated for 2012. Schlumper said that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hasn’t made any sweeping changes in electrical standards since the early 1990s thanks to documents such as NFPA 70E, but does use this standard for more specific requirements when inspecting and then will cite under OSHA regulations. One element he highlighted that many employers are not aware of is that OSHA requires testing of electrical-rated gloves every six months.

Schlumper said that OSHA is essentially in a holding pattern at this time due to the 2012 elections but the agency has released a site-specific targeting list for high-hazard workplaces and a new workplace violence guidance document. Also, OSHA is working on new construction crane standards that could affect renderers if there is construction on-site.

Another returning speaker was Jim Eastin, The Nutro Company, who rallied about the importance of rendered products in pet foods. He highlighted the benefits of animal fat, which seals and shields dry kibbles and acts as an antioxidant carrier to assure shelf life. Animal proteins are beneficial to a pet’s immune system and its growth, fur, nails, muscles, and organs. And including rendered products in pet food diets promotes the use of sustainable products.

Eastin emphasized the potential risks with using rendered ingredients as being poor quality materials, microbial hazards with under-processed materials, pests, rancidity, and contamination from foreign materials and environmental sources. He provided renderers with a laundry list of expectations to ensure the most consistent and highest quality ingredients are being provided to pet food manufacturers because consumers consider pets to be part of the family, often feeding them better than themselves, and the pet food industry is highly regulated. Eastin encouraged renderers to use a supplier quality assurance strategy to build a stronger working relationship with raw material suppliers, and added that pet food companies need to be diligent in understanding all origins of ingredients, audit suppliers, sample and test incoming material, and implement high level quality and food safety programs.

Switching gears and discussing pumps versus conveyors was David Heigl, Seepex, who said the limitations of conveyors are that multiple conveyors may be needed depending on distance, they can be messy, larger buildings are often required, and design flexibility is limited. Two types of pumps available are piston, which is high pressure and more expensive, and progressive cavity, which is low pressure, has been around since the 1980s, and can now handle sludge up to 50 percent solids and pump up to 400 feet. Heigl explained that pumps are cleaner than conveyors in that all material is contained within the pump and pipes for transport to the dryer or bins. Pumps also provide flexibility to build within the constraints of the building. He specified that the break-even point for a pump versus conveyor is 50 feet.

Dr. Annel Greene, Clemson University, spoke in-depth on the science of thermal processing, which dates back to 1810 in an attempt to preserve food. In both food processing and rendering, the ultimate goal is to kill bacteria so the Animal Co-products Research and Education Center (ACREC) at Clemson is researching the temperatures in rendering at which various bacteria are destroyed. At this point, research indicates that at 230 degrees Fahrenheit or above, for 15 seconds or longer, type A influenza viral ribonucleic acid is destroyed with rendered poultry products as determined by polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing. Other projects at ACREC include the mapping of rendering cooker temperatures (see ACREC Solutions in the October 2011 Render) and determining what log reduction is needed for each major pathogen.

Kent Swisher, National Renderers Association, closed out the day with a look at emerging markets. He began by disclosing that poultry and pets are the largest markets for rendered proteins, with the pet food segment growing. During the first seven months of 2011, 282,000 metric tons of rendered fats was used in biodiesel, of which 45,000 metric tons was poultry fat. Protein exports by the 27 countries of the European Union (EU) have increased over the last five years, but because of the region’s bovine spongiform encephalopathy situation, it is being exported as fertilizer.

Swisher showed that Indonesia is the largest importer of animal protein meals while Thailand has had a 511 percent growth in protein imports in the past five years with most of the proteins being EU product. Another growth market is aquaculture, which continues to need proteins for fish feed and is beginning to look at pet food grade poultry by-product meal as a substitute for fish meal. Biodiesel production also continues to grow globally and although some countries are using plant oils, there are opportunities for animal fats to fulfill the need. One such example is Singapore’s tallow market, where imports have grown substantially using fats mostly from Australia and New Zealand to supply Neste Oil’s renewable diesel plant.

“It just shows what one company can do to import figures,” Swisher stated. However, those imports dropped off in July because of lower price for palm oil. He reiterated that whether a company exports product or not, export markets can affect supply, demand, and price.

The seminar’s second day focused on technology and system efficiencies. Terry Joubert, Terry Joubert and Associates, addressed bio-augmentation for wastewater treatment that is currently used in one of American Proteins’ rendering plants. Bio-augmentation is the addition of bacteria, nutrients, and other growth factors to enhance the biodiversity and efficacy of wastewater or other pollution-degrading systems. The most common type of product used is commercially prepared microbial formulations and Joubert stressed that not all products are created equal. A second product available is macronutrient and micronutrient-based consisting of nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and trace minerals, but rendered products already have a wealth of these nutrients. A third product is a plant extract-based bio-stimulant mainly consisting of enzymes, vitamins, sugars, amino acids, and other growth factors. Joubert stated that a wastewater system may need a combination of all three products to be most effective.

Although bio-augmentation is still a very new “field,” Joubert insisted good sound science is used in this technology/product and went on to highlight some of its benefits.

Other presenters who rounded out the seminar were Edward Hill, Universal Maintenance, who showcased a vibratory shear enhanced processing membrane filtration, and Chuck Ross, Environmental Treatment Systems, who discussed biogas utilization, which is variable and not reliable. Nick LeJeune, Boilers Burners and Controls, highlighted combustion control systems, and Ken Smith, American Proteins, shared the various ways his company controls costs such as identifying and fixing steam and water leaks, using pumps instead of conveyors, and recycling water. One renderer revealed that his company drains the water from offal trucks before unloading to help take a load off the further processing system.

December 2011 RENDER | back