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Animal by-products for feed

Supporting article
Chickens eating animal feed

Jedrejek et al. (2016) discusses the status of animal by-products in the feed industry within the European Union. This publication will form the basis of this article.

Animal-by-products can have adequate to high nutritional value and thus, can be fed to farm animals as a competitive alternative to traditional feedstuffs and/or as valuable supplements.

What are animal-by-products (ABP’s)?

ABP’s comprise materials and products originated from food producing animals not intended for human consumption. However they can be recycled for other purposes, such as: animal feed; organic fertilisers and soil improvers; technical products for leather; or for the chemical industry.

For example, during slaughter and processing between 32-48% of the weight of food-producing animals is removed. These residue materials include fat trims, meat viscera, blood, bones, feathers, hides and skins. Similarly, out of date food products no longer meant for consumption, i.e. food waste, may contain ingredients of animal origin (fat, milk, eggs, gelatine). Therefore, these materials are ABPs.

In general, ABPs present an economical source of important nutrients for livestock in an easily digestible form. In particular, they provide high quality protein with all of the essential amino acids; energy in the form of fats and carbohydrates; and vitamins and minerals, mainly phosphorus and calcium.

However, other factors such as palatability, possible contamination with pathogenic microbes or chemicals, and the effects on digestion, must also be carefully considered. In particular, a number of past food crises illustrate how unregulated and improper use of rendered animal products and food waste can have serious consequences to public health, with economic repercussions. Examples include: classic swine fever, avian influenza, bovine spongiform encephalopathy and dioxin contamination.

Such events highlight the importance of protection through EU feed and food legislation, stringent animal health control measures, quality management systems for feed and food (e.g. Good Manufacturing Practices, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) and alert systems such as the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASSF).

EU Legislation and future prospects on the use of ABP’s in animal feed

The use of ABPs in animal feed products is extensively regulated by the European Union, including Regulation 1069/2009 and Regulation 142/2011 (ABP Regulations), Regulation 999/2001 (TSE Regulation) and Regultion 183/2005 (Feed Hygiene Regulation).

ABPs are classified into three categories based on the risk they pose and the methods used to deal with them. Category 3 materials are described as those of a low risk, i.e. do not provide a direct threat to humans or animals. Materials include the parts of animals that have been passed as fit for human consumption but are not intended for consumption. This may be because they are parts of the animal we do not eat (e.g. hides, bones and feathers) or for commercial reasons. Food waste is also in the category.

Currently, only low risk category 3 ABP material can be legally recycled to livestock feed in the EU, provided they adhere to the additional restrictions for recycled livestock feed. These restrictions include:

  • Ban on feeding farm animals with catering/household waste and processed protein from bodies of animals of the same species
  • Ban on the use of processed animal protein in feed for farmed animals
  • Restriction on a small number of proteins i.e. fish meal, blood products, di-calcium/tri-calcium phosphate of animal origin to be fed to non-ruminants (pigs and poultry) only
  • Authorization of food waste only containing milk and egg products,
  • Fats or gelatine to from non-ruminants to be fed to food producing animals
  • ABPs must be collected and processed in accordance with appropriate conditions
  • ABPs must be sourced from approved and registered rendering plants or food processing facilities
  • Slaugherhouse by-products of category 3 waste must undergo appropriate processing conditions that cause killing of pathogenic microorganisms and guarantee chemical quality of products
  • Wrapped or moist food waste requires processing (generally, unwrapping, drying, extraction, extrusion or smoking)
  • Materials that fall under Regulation 1069/2009 are subject to traceability requirements
  • Non-ruminant processed animal proteins can be used in aqua feed in the EU

Livestock producers; animal by-product suppliers and processors, and the compound feed industry have a responsibility in ensuring the safety of animal-based food supply. All ABP renderers and former foodstuff processors running in the EU have to be officially registered and should adopt quality management systems (e.g. good manufacturing practices (GMP), HACCP and quality assurance standards (ISO 900 and ES 29000).

Types of ABPs authorized for animal feeding in the EU

The list of materials that can be recycled to livestock feed include:

  • Food waste (not containing meat, fish or shellfish)
  • Animal fats and fish oils
  • Hydrolysed proteins
  • Collagen and gelatine from non-ruminants
  • Milk and milk-based products
  • Eggs and egg products

ABPs that can be fed only to non-ruminant animals include:

  • Processed animal proteins (PAPs): fish meal and PAPs from pigs and poultry for farmed fish
  • Blood products and blood meal
  • Di-calcium and tri-calcium phosphate

What we would like you to do

The review by Jedrejek et al. (2016) can be found here.

Please read this review to understand the types of animal by-products which are authorized for animal feeding. Please share your thoughts on the following:

  • Do you think animal by-products should be used in animal feed?

  • Do you think adequate controls are in place to protect animal and human health?

  • Does the government in your region provide any guidance on animal by-products?

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Animal Feed Production: Feed Safety

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