WRO Welcomes New Officers and PCRA Tests

By Fernando Mendizabal Fernandez and Martin Alm
World Renderers Organization

During the European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA) congress in Hamburg, Germany, in early June, the World Renderers Organization (WRO) held its annual meeting. In addition, as happens every two years, WRO officers changed for the period 2017-2019. Tim Juzefowicz from Australia stepped down as president, Fernando Mendizabal Fernandez from Mexico was named president, Dr. Martin Alm from Germany became first vice president, and Bruce Rountree from New Zealand entered the lineup as second vice president. Nancy Foster from the United States will remain in charge of WRO administrative duties. John Brennan from Canada, Lucas Cypriano from Brazil, Shane Leath from New Zealand, Dr. David Meeker from the United States, and Alm will all continue serving on WRO’s Scientific Advisory Panel.

The new directive of WRO is working on two main concerns: prepare the organization to remain sustainable in this new digital era and define standardized processes to work efficiently with members and other global organizations.

Efforts are being made to connect WRO’s website to Google Analytics, to build a platform with institutional e-mails for each officer and scientific advisory panel member, and to use Google Drive to create a digital backup of WRO. These efforts will change the way the organization coordinates and is able to reach its members for a closer relationship to WRO leadership.

Of special interest during the congress and WRO meeting was the DNA testing development for the identification of species in meat and bone meal (MBM). Some Asian countries are requesting a DNA test for MBM being imported. Before the WRO meeting, Dr. Olivier Fumière from the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for animal proteins in feedstuffs gave a presentation at EFPRA´s Technical Symposium where he shared the status and next challenges of species identification. EURL has 15 years of work in this field and is leading the design and implementation of standards and calibration materials.

EURL has developed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays to be used as standards to identify prohibited species in feed ingredients and compound feed in Europe. In 2012, EURL presented a test for ruminant species that led to the partial lifting of the feed ban in Europe. Since 2013, aquaculture feed is allowed to contain non-ruminant processed animal proteins (PAPs). Due to European regulation, pig protein cannot be fed to pigs or poultry protein to poultry so EURL is working on pork and poultry PCR tests. These are expected to be completed soon.

PCR is used in molecular biology to amplify a copy of DNA across several orders of magnitude generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence that can be detected. Unfortunately this test is only qualitative, not quantitative, which means any presence of a forbidden substance between 0 to 100 percent can give a positive result. The tests are so sensitive that everything above 0.1 percent can be detected with the lowest detection limit nearly 0.0025 percent. EFPRA and the European Feed Manufacturers Federation have asked the European Commission for a solution to exclude “not relevant” positive findings below 0.1 percent.

Furthermore, the tests should work for compound feed as well so it is necessary to combine different techniques (e.g., microscopy and PCR) to identify allowable and forbidden substances. Examples of the envisaged difficulties: ruminant PAP is prohibited while milk protein is allowed; porcine plasma is allowed in pork feed but pork PAPs are not.

A race by laboratories or countries to detect the lowest, non-relevant traces of species should be avoided. It should be kept in mind that feed provides “nutrients” not “ingredients.” A species-to-species barrier, as foreseen by the EU, can also be handled with sufficient heat treatment of proteins.

Due to the strictest standards, the rendering industry is waiting for the European results of acceptable levels of DNA from other species in MBM. This definition will become the standard for assessing results globally, avoiding disruptions in supply chains of the feed industry. WRO will report any updates on this situation.

An interim meeting of WRO will be held October 25, 2017, at the National Renderers Association conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The organization’s next annual meeting will take place at the EFPRA congress in Barcelona, Spain, June 20-23, 2018.

August 2017 RENDER | back