Canadian Renderers Battle Trials and Tribulations

By Tina Caparella

Renderers in Canada continue to face challenges with export markets, grease theft, and the temporary closure of a major meat processor. To find possible solutions to these issues, members of the Canadian Renderers Association (CRA) met while also attending the National Renderers Association convention in Laguna Niguel, CA, in late October.

First on the agenda was exports of Canadian tallow to China, a market that has “technically” been open since this past summer but so far no product has been shipped due to a box on the importation certificate that requires a Chinese import permit number. Because China does not issue import permits, no tallow has been shipped. According to renderers, the Chinese government’s concern is there is no control over the tallow once it arrives.

Graham Clarke, government liaison for CRA, reported that Indonesia and the Philippines are currently the only export markets for Canadian meat and bone meal, which is helping to fulfill Indonesia’s needs after it banned meat and bone meal from the United States following the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in California in April. Bangladesh is now being examined as a potential third market for Canadian meat and bone meal.

Switching the conversation to biofuels was Alan Rickard, Rothsay, who explained that under European Union regulations, yellow grease is labeled a rendered product while used cooking oil is a waste material, allowing used cooking oil to be exported to Europe for biodiesel but not yellow grease. On a related note, grease theft took up a good amount of discussion, where it was noted that CRA has written talking points aimed at restaurants and provided them to the Canadian Restaurant Association who has agreed to distribute to its members.

Todd Moser, Rothsay, shared that his company has been successful in apprehending grease thieves. In one case, a truck driver was caught siphoning grease from a container that did not belong to him. Police were called who took the crime seriously and confiscated the truck. It was later learned that the truck had been released the previous day from impound for another theft. Moser stated the thefts are very sophisticated by organized operations. Clarke proclaimed that better containers is a “moot issue,” while Barry Glotman, West Coast Reduction, mentioned that in the scrap metal industry, the collection center tracks who they are purchasing scrap metal from, something the rendering industry should consider.

Clarke lastly addressed the large meat recall by XL Foods due to a small number of E. Coli cases, resulting in the processor shutting down its Alberta plant and subsequently being managed by JBS USA. He remarked there is a lack of transparency in the Canadian government and that it’s frustrating for the industry. He gave an example of a public press conference held about the recall by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) prior to contacting the meat industry, which resulted in cattlemen receiving media calls about an incident they knew nothing about. CRA members decided renderers need to be more proactive with CFIA and will organize a meeting with them in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

December 2012 RENDER | back