The Value of Research

By David Kirstein, Chairman, Fats and Proteins Research Foundation

Editor’s Note – The following is a speech given by David Kirstein, Darling International, Inc. at the National Renderers Association 80th Annual Convention in Naples, FL.

First, let me say it is an honor to serve as chairman for the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF). Over the past 20-plus years of my involvement with FPRF, I have been fortunate to represent companies that agreed with their competitors that research questions universal to the rendering industry are better met by cooperation. There can be value found in cooperatively expanding markets, finding new uses, and generating safety data to help secure rendered products’ continuing presence in traditional and emerging markets.

I must confess that my personal interest extends beyond company boundaries. My education and training in the sciences is constantly stimulated by engagement in FPRF research and my involvement is very rewarding. It is a good place to be when company and personal objectives are aligned.

During the past three years, FPRF leadership reevaluated its mission and objectives resulting in a reorganization of staff, a consolidation of management and costs with the National Renderers Association, and a new agreement with Clemson University and the Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center (ACREC). These changes are helping FPRF refocus resources on issues important to its members as well as communicate outcomes more efficiently and effectively to a variety of audiences. The net result is a better value for its members.

FPRF maintains a diverse portfolio of research projects. During two days of recent FPRF meetings, success on a number of fronts was reported on:

• biosecurity studies that are generating data to support renderer’s anticipated compliance requirements under the Food and Drug Administration rule driven by the Food Safety Modernization Act;

• new filtration technologies that can minimize or replace traditional chemical and polymer treatments of wastewater; and

• new odor mitigation technology using functionalized, biodegradable nanoparticles.

In addition, two ACREC projects are moving towards commercialization through start-up companies, a first for ACREC. The first involves a novel antioxidant extracted from chicken blood that will offer a cost-effective, natural alternative to existing options for controlling fat oxidation in rendered products. Another involves the creation of renderable plastic scrap barrel and combo liners and gloves that will not contribute poly to rendered fats or leave physical evidence in rendered meals. This advancement will help make rendered fats more suitable as feedstocks for biofuels.

FPRF is also developing an emerging relationship with the Kansas State University Pet Food Program focused on issues of importance to both renderers and pet food manufacturers. FPRF has funded three projects to date at this center and anticipates continued future involvement.

FPRF members are fortunate to have a staff that understands the rendering business. Drs. David Meeker and Jessica Meisinger are two of the reasons FPRF is creating a better value for its members. They are professionals, responsive, and a pleasure to work with.

Finally, I want to encourage those companies that are not members of FPRF, but enjoy the benefits of its good work by osmosis, to reconsider the value the foundation brings to their business. Please consider becoming a member and making a meaningful contribution toward cooperative research that benefits the entire rendering industry.

For more information on FPRF, visit, or e-mail Meeker or Meisinger.

December 2013 RENDER | back