Markets and Regulations Challenge US Renderers


Editor’s note – Due to illness, Render’s editor was unable to attend the National Renderers Association spring meeting held in late April in Chicago, IL, and immensely thanks the association’s staff for providing the following information.

The National Renderers Association (NRA) held its spring business meetings at the end of April where there was much discussion about the devastating porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) not only affecting the United States (US) and Canadian pork industries, but how it might impact rendered pork product markets and prices. The Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF) held its business meeting in conjunction with NRA, providing members of both groups an opportunity to focus on the many issues facing the rendering industry.

NRA’s various committees addressed pressing matters, beginning with the Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI) where Dr. David Meeker, senior vice president, NRA Scientific Services, discussed the progress made with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) on negotiating a common audit for dual certification in APPI’s North American Rendering Industry Code of Practice and AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food program. When a new audit is drafted, the APPI steering committee will review and provide comments. Meeker also reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended permission through the end of this year the use of ethoxyquin at 150 parts per million in rendered products while FDA reviews a food additive petition for approval.

During the Feed Regulation Committee meeting, Meeker mentioned that NRA has submitted its comments on FDA’s proposed rule, Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals, with hopes that FDA will provide some indication on the direction it plans to take based on industry comments by this summer (see “New Feed Regulation” in the February 2014 Render). Committee members were encouraged to review the draft NRA comments on another FDA proposed rule, Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, as comments were due May 31, 2014.

Steve Kopperud, Policy Directions, Inc. addressed a potential concern regarding the traditional way in which the Association of American Feed Control Officials and FDA have interacted on definitions for animal feed ingredients. There is the potential that all animal feed ingredients will be required to go through a new approval process at FDA, although some ingredients could possibly receive permanent or interim waivers. NRA Feed Regulation Committee members will monitor the situation for possible involvement in the future.

The PEDV situation was discussed at some length. Dr. Ross Hamilton, Darling International, Inc. explained that although the virus has been detected in spray dried blood plasma, it has not been determined if the virus was active or inactive. Nonetheless, the pork industry is taking a precautionary stance with some producers removing all pork-derived rendered products from porcine feeds, including pork meat and bone meal and, in a few cases, choice white grease. The feed committee moved to establish a voluntary contribution fund to support needed crisis management research. The first project, a risk assessment by the University of Minnesota, has already begun with NRA co-funding along with other organizations, including the National Pork Board.

NRA’s Environmental Committee Chairman Robert Vogler, Valley Proteins, Inc. reviewed a list of complex Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues, including due dates for compliance certifications, tune-ups, and energy assessments for liquid-fueled boilers under new maximum achievable control technology rules. He also discussed litigation pending before the US Supreme Court challenging EPA’s adoption of the Greenhouse Gases Tailoring Rule. Vogler explained that when EPA determined carbon dioxide was a pollutant regulated under the Clean Air Act, some 800,000 emission sources were essentially brought under the act’s regulatory scheme, including hospitals, schools, churches, and commercial buildings. To avoid this, EPA issued the tailoring rule in 2010 to raise the threshold for regulation of carbon dioxide so only larger sources would be subject to the new rules. The question before the court is whether EPA has the authority to re-write the Clean Air Act in this way by unilaterally declaring when to regulate or not.

Vogler also talked about EPA’s ongoing review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone. The agency is considering tightening the standard further to 60 parts per billion, a level that would put most of the United States in non-attainment, affecting the ability to expand industry and possibly leading to tougher nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds standards in new and existing air permits. Vogler noted that pollution from China is a significant and growing contributor to the ozone levels in the United States.

A chemical spill in January that affected the drinking water of 300,000 residents near Charleston, WV, will likely lead to additional regulation of chemical storage, Vogler stated. A bill was passed in the West Virginia General Assembly requiring registration, inspection, spill response planning, financial responsibility, and maintenance and containment standards for tanks holding more than 1,320 gallons. A bill is pending in the US Senate requiring states to undertake similar regulation.

Next, Kent Swisher, vice president, NRA International Programs, described to the Biofuels Committee how the combination of EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard and federal tax credits for alternative fuels have resulted in an increased value of $1 billion for rendered products since 2009. On that note, the committee agreed to form a task force and develop a position to be delivered to lawmakers in Washington, DC, in June during NRA’s Washington Fly-in. The committee, and ultimately NRA, took the position of supporting the current tax extender’s package; supporting expansion of the Renewal Fuel Standard; and providing support for North American feedstocks that moderate the political risk of imported energy sources, including feedstocks for renewable fuels.

In the Legislative Committee meeting, Kopperud reported that a flood of genetically modified organism labeling laws is winding through state legislatures across the country. NRA has joined a coalition led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association to try to get a federal preemption for such laws. Although the US Congress is often hesitant to step on states’ rights, the coalition is looking to FDA to reassert its right to govern labeling regulations and define “natural” in labeling.

Research Priorities
The FPRF Research Committee reviewed two at-large proposals, neither of which were chosen for funding. However, one of the researchers will be encouraged to submit a new proposal on energy and digestibility of rendered products. A membership task force met to explore ways to get more NRA members to participate in FPRF, particularly packer renderers. It was noted that research benefits the entire rendering industry and will yield dividends well into the future. Some members pointed out that FPRF is doing great work at low costs and with more funding, FPRF can do additional research with no added administrative expenses.

Packer renderers commented that communication about the benefits of FPRF research is still lacking. FPRF staff will examine sending research reports to all NRA members, not just FPRF members, and highlight a few notable FPRF success stories, such as:

• biodiesel research begun in the early 1980s resulted in a new market for animal fats beginning in 2007, returning billions of dollars to renderers;

• research into using rendered products in aquaculture has significantly improved protein markets; and

• boiler stack tests in Georgia 12 years ago led to a blanket permit for renderers to burn their own fats, putting a floor under fat prices and increasing profits.

At the FPRF board meeting, communications was discussed at length with the key being showing value for research dollars contributed. It was noted that the bi-annual Animal Co-products Research and Education Center meeting at Clemson University in South Carolina is very informative and valuable, and more board members should attend. FPRF renewed its agreement to continue work at Clemson in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. An additional $250,000 in research at ACREC was funded for four ongoing and two new projects (see ACREC Solutions on page 28). FPRF members are pleased with the innovative research proposed by ACREC researchers and realize that narrowing the list of projects to fit the foundation’s budget is a difficult task.

International Markets
NRA’s International Market Development Committee gathered over two days to address the myriad of challenges in overseas markets. German Davalos, NRA’s Latin America regional director, has been working with Mexico’s pet food industry to get Mexican officials to open the market for ruminant processed animal proteins. Rumor has it that a notice of memorandum has been proposed and could be published later this year.

Meanwhile, Peng Li, NRA regional director for Asia, is focusing his efforts on trying to get the China market open for US tallow. NRA staff is working with the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to finalize import requirements with the Chinese government.

The European market also has many challenges as Bruce Ross, Ross Gordon Consultants, has been negotiating to allow market access for North American tallow to the European Union for biodiesel use.

NRA will next meet at its annual convention October 21-24, 2014, in Rancho Mirage, CA. Registration is available at www.nationalrenderers.org.


June 2014 RENDER | back