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Food Safety

Animal by-products

What are animal by-products?

Animal by-products (ABPs) are materials of animal origin that people do not consume. ABPs include among others:

  • All parts of an animal slaughtered for human consumption, that are not edible or not placed on the market as food for example the skin, bones, horn and hooves, blood, fat and offal
  • Bodies of animals died on farm
  • Bodies of dead pet animals
  • Materials produced by animals such as manure, guano, egg shells, feathers, wool, beeswax
  • Former foodstuff of animal origin such as milk, eggs, meat that for some reason is not suitable for human consumption (commercial reasons, quality, production failures etc.)

In the EU, over 20 million tons of ABPs emerge annually from slaughterhouses, plants producing food for human consumption, dairies and as fallen stock from farms.

These materials bear the risk of transmitting diseases to humans or animals, if not processed properly. On the other hand, they are mainly of a high nutritional and energetic value and should be used in the best possible way to preserve resources. That is why animal by-products are sorted into three categories: The highest risk material is Category 1 (Cat 1), intermediate risk material is category 2 (Cat 2) and material with a low risk is Category 3 (Cat 3).

Depending on the source of the raw materials and the intended use there are strict rules to achieve safe products[see note 1]. They are best valued if used as feed for food producing animals, but measures have to be taken to avoid spreading animal diseases or transmitting pathogens to human consumers via the food chain (only Cat 3 material). When used as fertilizers or soil improvers (Cat 2 and Cat 3), the risk is lower, but recycling of undesired contaminants and pathogens has to be minimised. Incineration or the manufacturing of renewable fuel is of minor risk as temperatures achieved generally destroy pathogens, but it should be restricted to materials that cannot be used safely otherwise (mainly Cat 1).

Notes:

[1]Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 (Animal by-products Regulation) and
Commission Regulation (EU) No 142/2011 of 25 February 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and implementing Council Directive 97/78/EC as regards certain samples and items exempt from veterinary checks at the border under that Directive.

Further information