WRO Best Practice Guidelines

By Bill Spooncer, Kurrajong Meat Technology, Australia

A road map for future directions of the World Renderers Organization (WRO) includes the development of industry best practice guidelines. As a starting point, guidelines for hygienic rendering have been drafted. Many countries already have codes of practice for hygienic rendering or regulations that rendering communities comply with and the WRO guidelines do not seek to supplant existing codes and regulations. Rather, WRO is keen to support renderers who do not have appropriate guidelines.

Codes of practice for hygienic rendering are not new. Experience has shown that where codes of practice are developed and implemented, regulators gain confidence in the industry. In cases where regulators can’t help imposing on industry, the existence of codes of practice has provided a starting point for developing appropriate regulations. There are several examples of regulations that have been modelled on existing industry codes.

The WRO guidelines can provide a similar starting point in countries that do not have industry codes or regulation to follow and, if necessary, can act as a starting point for developing regulations that are effective and practical. The guidelines cover management control and quality assurance, hygienic construction of premises, operational guidelines, sampling and testing, and traceability. The guidelines recommend that hygienic production of rendered products should be planned according to hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) principles.

HACCP principles are a uniform and widely applied method of planning for the production of safe food products. They are also applied to animal feed production and rendering, but because the principles were developed for food, applying them to non-food products can be confusing. For example, the definition of a hazard in the HACCP approach is “a biological, chemical, or physical agent in, or condition of, food with the potential to cause an adverse health effect.” However, if HACCP is applied to rendered products or animal feed, should this definition apply to hazards to human or animal health? If it applies to human health, the link between rendered product and human health is not always clear and this makes it difficult to conduct the required hazard assessments.

The implementation of HACCP can be difficult enough for food products for which it was designed. A successful HACCP plan should be developed by a team of experienced people with the necessary expertise. There are many examples or templates for HACCP plans for different products that teams can refer to, but not for rendered products. WRO has developed a model HACCP plan as an addendum to the guidelines for hygienic rendering. The WRO guidelines are not novel in that they borrow from existing codes, industry guidelines, and regulations, but a model HACCP for rendered products has not been readily available and the WRO model should be a useful guide for renderers around the world.

The model HACCP plan is based on guidelines for the application HACCP published by Codex Alimentarius. It addresses the 12 steps of HACCP, as set out in the Codex guidelines, by explaining each step followed by an example of how the step can be addressed and documented. The model HACCP plan includes an assessment of the hazards that could occur in animal feeds and possibly affect humans. The assessment considers the consequences of the hazards for human and animal health and provides comments on the likelihood of occurrence. Based on the consequences and likelihood, a conclusion is provided about whether hazards amount to a significant potential hazard that should be addressed in the HACCP plan.

The hazards that are assessed in the WRO model HACCP plan are from the Codex Alimentarius Commission document “Proposed Draft Guidance for Use by Governments in Prioritizing Their National Feed Hazards.” This document is being drafted by the Codex Task Force on Animal Feeding and is available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/codex/meetings/TFAF/TFAF7/af07_05e.pdf. Annex 1 of the document provides examples of potential feed hazards and the WRO HACCP plan assesses the hazards in the annex in terms of their significance in rendered products.

The annex to the Codex document has not yet been finalized, but provides extensive examples of hazards that could be associated with feeds and affect human health. In following the Codex document, the WRO HACCP plan provides assessments of hazards such as spore-forming and non-spore-forming bacteria, endoparasites, viruses, prions, chemical hazards including microbial toxins and organic chemicals, and physical hazards such as glass and plastic. The assessment justifies which hazards should be considered in a HACCP plan for rendered products and which are not significant.

The WRO guidelines for hygienic rendering and model HACCP plan are being reviewed by members before they are released for general use.

February 2013 RENDER | back