What are animal by-products?

Animal by-products, also know as ABPs, are materials of animal origin that people do not consume. ABPs include among others:

  • Animal feed – e.g. based on fishmeal and processed animal protein
  • Organic fertilisers and soil improvers – e.g. manure, guano, processed OF/SI on the base of processed animal protein
  • Technical products – e.g. pet food, hides and skins for leather, wool, blood for producing diagnostic tools

Every year over 20 million tons of ABPs emerge in the European Union. These ABPs emerge from slaughterhouses, plants producing food for human consumption, dairies and as fallen stock from farms.

ABPs can spread animal diseases (e.g. BSE) or chemical contaminants (e.g. dioxins). They can also be dangerous to animal and human health if not properly disposed of. EU rules regulate their movement, processing and disposal.

Animal by-product categories

CAT 1:

  • carcasses and all body parts of animals suspected of being infected with TSE. (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy)
  • carcasses of animals used in experiments.
  • parts of animals that are contaminated due to illegal treatments.
  • carcasses of wild animals suspected of being infected with a disease that humans or animals could contract.
  • international catering waste.
  • carcasses and body parts from zoo and circus animals or pets.
  • specified risk material. (body parts that pose a disease risk, eg cows’ spinal cords)

CAT 2:

  • animals rejected from abattoirs due to having infectious diseases.
  • carcasses containing residues from authorised treatments.
  • unhatched poultry that has died in its shell.
  • carcasses of animals killed for disease control purposes.
  • carcasses of dead livestock.
  • manure
  • digestive tract content.

CAT 3:

  • carcasses or body parts passed fit for humans to eat, at a slaughterhouse.
  • Products or food withdrawn for commercial reasons, not because it is unfit to eat.
  • domestic catering waste.
  • shells from shellfish with soft tissue.
  • eggs, egg by-products, hatchery by-products and eggshells.
  • aquatic animals, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
  • hides and skins from slaughterhouses.
  • animal hides, skins, hooves, feathers, wool, horns, and hair that had no signs of infectious disease at death.

For all regulations, make sure to read the regulations of the European Commission.

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