Have you ever been asked or wondered where and why rendered products are used? If asked, were you able to answer such questions with knowledge and confidence knowing that the explanation expresses the importance those products represent in everyday life? Do rendering company employees and managers realize the many uses of the products produced from a rendering plant?
Recently, to the surprise of many, tallow was identified as an ingredient in the production of the Bank of England’s five-pound note. Even with 20 years of experience working in the rendering industry, I wasn’t aware of this. Colleagues in New Zealand had shared a news article that stated, “Vegans and vegetarians have voiced outrage after it emerged the new £5 notes contain tallow,” accompanied by a photo of a note being withdrawn from a “leather” wallet. I was further confused as there was no outrage over the leather wallet made from animal hide. To create change, a petition with 136,000 signatures was delivered to the Bank of England and now the bank is investigating alternatives to tallow.
The news article was well-balanced as it explained how tallow is used in the note production as a source of stearic acid for lubricity. It went on to describe that tallow could be found in a variety of every day products, “including plastic bags, makeup (including lipstick, foundations, and eye makeup), crayons, bike tires, and candles.” The author attempted to show a wide range of uses, which provides an opportunity for the rendering industry to embrace its products and appreciate their diversity. The list above is short and the industry could certainly expand on the list of products.
As part of every employee’s induction to a rendering company, there should be an opportunity to learn what is produced and where it will be used. Generally, an induction covers company policies and procedures for safety, environment, and quality, but does it include the various products made and where they are used?
The induction is an ideal time to promote the rendering industry from within through training early in an employee’s career. For existing workers, training in what products are manufactured and their uses should be covered. Also included should be that animal proteins and fats are economical commodities that are valuable for the formulation of many cost-effective products.
Every day around the world, vast quantities of animal by-products are efficiently collected and effectively processed. It is critical that raw material is rendered as quickly as possible due to its perishable nature. Processing “fresh is best” will lead to a better quality end product.
The most important criteria for the rendering industry is to manufacture rendered products that are safe and fit for purpose. Rendering is conducted in most countries around the world and the industry is regarded as a manufacturer of products that contribute to a sustainable animal agriculture, true recycling, essential to protecting the environment, and necessary for public and animal health.
Rendering is a strongly controlled industry where government regulations and industry codes of practice determine the specific criteria for manufacturing standards that may apply to that country. Importing requirements will also determine the ability to supply rendered products to a country. In general, such regulations will specify conditions on how to operate a rendering plant with consideration for the product produced, the environment, and the health and safety of the people working at the facility.
The rendering industry has been successful when arguing the case that if animal by-products were not recycled, large amounts of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous present in these by-products would contribute to the release of greenhouse gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide emissions, soil loading, and water contamination. Similarly it has been successfully argued that rendering animal by-products significantly reduces environmental emissions and is truly sustainable.
There are different kinds of rendering plant manufacturers around the world and many process designs using various equipment for time, temperature, and pressure combinations to process raw material. The myriad stages of the process involved are:
• heat treatment of raw materials to destroy pathogens (such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and parasitic organisms) and create phase separation between solids, water, and fat;
• separation of fat, water, and solids;
• drying of solids and purification of fats and oils; and
• milling of solids to form a meal.
It is in the best interest of the renderer to install the most efficient processing plant it can afford to alleviate issues that may arise with health, safety, environment, and quality of product.
Unknown to many in the general public, rendered products are used in the manufacture of a long list of beneficial goods: animal feeds, pet food, aquaculture feed, edible fats and oils, ointments, biodiesel, fertilizer, soaps, paints, varnishes, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, shaving cream, deodorant, crayons, leather (i.e., handbags, car seats, furniture), lubricants, caulking (sealant) compounds, candles, cleaners, paints, perfumes, polishes, rubber products, plastics, agricultural fertilizers, explosives, and so on. Promoting an extensive list is an opportunity for the rendering industry.
The raw materials collected and rendered come from the meat industry where beef, sheep, poultry, pigs, and fish are handled by abattoirs, poultry processors, boning rooms, butchers, fish processors, supermarkets/markets, and skins and hide processors. Raw materials include fat, bone, trimmings, offal, blood, grocery store material, recalled product, animals dead on arrival or in transit, and feathers. Used cooking oil from restaurants is also processed by the rendering industry.
Rendering is an environmentally responsible and sustainable industry and should be considered as an essential industrial process as it provides a recycling service to the meat industry that helps protect society and the environment. Although rendering may still be the “invisible industry” to some, it is important that its customers, regulators, and the general public recognize that renderers conduct business under the highest government and veterinary controls, every single day. In addition, the specific issues rendering addresses are the same issues organizations such as the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, and Food and Agriculture Organization are focused on by addressing feed and food safety and security and animal disease prevention.
For further information on this topic, please contact the author, Tim Juzefowicz or +61 418 170 583 (Australia).
June 2017 RENDER | back