Animal by-products regulations

If you are a food retailer, distributor, manufacturer or (to a lesser extent) a caterer who in the course of your business is left with food waste which is no longer intended for human consumption, then these regulations will affect you.

In this section:

What are animal by-products?

Animal by-products (ABPs) are animal carcases, parts of carcases or products of animal origin that are not intended for human consumption. This includes catering waste, used cooking oil, former foodstuffs, butcher and slaughterhouse waste, blood, feathers, wool, hides and skins, fallen stock, pet animals, zoo and circus animals, hunt trophies, manure, ova, embryos and semen. There collection and disposal is controlled in order to prevent the spread of diesease amongst animals.

Devolved administrations are responsible for ABP policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although the regulations are slightly different they all say exactly the same thing as they are based on the same EU regulation.

Regulation (EC) No. 1774/2002 lays down strict animal and public health rules for the collection, transport, storage, handling, processing and use or disposal of all animal by-products (ABPs). The Regulation introduces stringent conditions throughout the food and feed chains requiring safe collection, transport, storage, handling, processing, use and disposal of animal by-products. The Regulation prohibits the disposal of most ABPs by burial (including landfill).

Local Authorities (usually trading standards) are responsible for enforcement of ABP legislation in England, except in licensed slaughterhouses, cutting plants and cold stores, where the Meat Hygiene Service is responsible for enforcement. The State Veterinary Service (SVS), has become increasingly involved over a period of several years and has particular expertise and responsibility with regard to the authorisation of treatment facilities.

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Categories of animal by-products

The Regulation classifies animal by-products into three categories based on their potential risk to animals, the public or to the environment, and sets out how each category must or may be disposed of.

Category 1 material is very high risk material (animals suspected or confirmed as being infected by a TSE, animals killed in the context of TSE controls, Specified Risk Material, international catering waste). Category 1 ABPs must be disposed of by incineration or rendering (with the exception on international catering waste, which may be disposed of to an authorised landfill);

Category 2 material includes other high risk material (i.e. condemned meat, fallen stock, manure or animal by-products presenting a risk of contamination with other animal diseases (e.g. animals which die on farm or are killed in the context of disease control measures on farm or at risk of residues of veterinary drugs). Permissible disposal routes for Category 2 materials include incineration and rendering (processing). Unprocessed Category 2 material cannot go to landfill. However, some Category 2 ABPs may be recycled for uses other than feeds after appropriate treatment (e.g. biogas, composting, oleo-chemical products, etc);

Category 3 material is the lowest risk category, and includes raw meat that has passed meat inspection, waste from food manufacturers and food retailers, eggs and certain other by-products which do not show signs of transmissible disease. Category 3 material cannot be taken to landfill, but can be disposed of via a number of routes such as incineration, rendering, composting or anerobic digestion, or be used in an approved petfood or technical plant in some cases.

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Approved disposal outlets

The Regulation requires all premises where animal by-products are received, treated or disposed of to be officially approved or authorised. Approval would only be granted or maintained if the competent authority (Defra in England) is satisfied that the Regulation is complied with.

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Transport requirements

The main requirements which affect the transportation of animal by-products include requirements for:

  • Sealed leakproof, enclosed containers which are correctly labeled.
  • Correctly completed Commercial documentation including a record of the origin, quantity and description of the material, the date of transport, the carrier and the destination.
  • All containers to be cleased and disinfected after each use.
  • Only authorised disposal outlets to be utilised, dependent on the category of by-product.

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Catering waste is subject to lesser controls

Catering waste means all waste food including used cooking oils originating in restaurants, catering facilities and kitchens, including central kitchens and household kitchens'. This definition also includes catering waste from vegetarian restaurants and kitchens.

Catering waste may be disposed of to landfill or incineration along with other general wastes and is not subject to special transportation arrangements provided that it is handled in a way that ensures that animals and birds do not have access to it.

However, some types of catering wastes are considered to be slightly more risky and catering waste will still be controlled by the Regulation if it:

  • Comes into the European Community from a means of transport operating internationally i.e. planes or ships;
  • Is destined for animal consumption (the Regulations make it an offence to feed livestock, or allow them access to, catering waste) or
  • Is destined for use in a biogas plant or for composting (in which case the biogas and composting plants must be approved under the Regulations. International catering waste may not be treated in these plants);

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Former foodstuffs

So most types of catering wastes are exempt from the requirements of the regulations, but what if you have very similar materials that do not come from a kitchen? An example of this might include a load of meat sandwiches from a food factory or a supermarket.

"Former foodstuffs" are described in Article 6(1)(f) of the Animal By- Products Regulation as "former foodstuffs" of animal origin, or former foodstuffs containing products of animal origin, other than catering waste, which are no longer intended for human consumption for commercial reasons or due to problems of manufacturing or packaging defects or other defects which do not present any risk to humans or animals”. Former foodstuffs do NOT include any raw meat, which must be separately disposed of as an animal by-product to an authorised outlet.

Former foodstuffs which must not be fed to livestock but which can be disposed of to landfill Includes:

  • Meat and fish, and meat and fish products, that are fully pre-cooked
  • Cooked meat and cooked fish items such as cooked cocktail sausages and frankfurters (ready to eat or ready for re-heating)
  • Dips with cooked meat or fish
  • Cooked ham, pate etc
  • Cooked prawns, dressed crabs and lobsters, seafood sticks, cooked ready to eat mussels
  • Shells from cooked seafood and eggs
  • Ready meals (meals for re-heating where the meat or fish is precooked)
  • Pies & pasties (including sausage rolls) and pizza where the meat is pre-cooked
  • Highly processed meat and fish products in cans, jars, pouches or shelf stable aluminium packaging
  • Dried products of animal origin (soups etc)
  • Highly processed products of animal origin, such as certain flavourings not incorporated into another product
  • Stock cubes and meat/fish extracts
  • Processed animal fats e.g. lard and goose fat
  • Greaves
  • Honey (provided that it is securely sealed in leak-proof containers)

Former foodstuffs which may be fed to livestock or disposed of to landfill Includes:

Bakery products (such as bread, cakes, pastry, biscuits), pasta, chocolate, sweets and similar products such as breakfast cereals which –

  1. may contain ingredients such as rennet or melted fat, milk, milk products, flavourings, egg, honey, flavourings or gelatine of non- ruminant origin which have been incorporated into those products but which do not constitute the main characteristic ingredient; and
  2. do not contain, and have not been in contact with raw eggs, meat, fish, and products or preparations derived from or incorporating meat or fish.

Dairy products (in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 79/2005):

  • Pasteurised milk;
  • Dairy products including cheese, whey, yoghurt, butter, milk based desserts and ice cream.

Pasteurised or cooked or processed eggs, in accordance with Chapter X of Annex VII of Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002.

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Pet food

Although the disposal of waste petfood is not covered under Regulation (EC) No 197/2006 (Former Foodstuffs), local enforcement authorities have been advised that waste petfood (i.e. canned or packed) which has been processed or treated to appropriate standards in an approved ABPR premises may be disposed of to landfill in accordance with the EU Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC i.e. in line with other category 3 material in article 6 (2) (b) of Regulation 1774/2002. Disposal of raw petfood to landfill is not permitted (except when it comes from domestic premises). Appropriate disposal methods for raw unwanted petfood would be processing in an approved incineration, rendering, compost or biogas plants.

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If properly separated, the packaging can be disposed of to landfill. Reasonable care should be taken to fully empty packaging before it is sent to landfill. Poorly emptied packaging that still contains ABPs should not be permitted to landfill and should be sent to incineration. This would include packaging containing free flowing blood. Naturally, any animal by-product seperated from packaging or any packaging which cannot be sucessfully decontaminated, must be disposed using one of the methods approved by the Regulations (i.e. at approved rendering, incineration, composting or biogas plants).

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Wild animals and pets

The carcasses of wild animals are not covered by the requirements of the regulations. Dead Pets are covered by the regulations but the government has applied a derogation which allows for the burial of dead pet animals.

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How can Biffa help?

We provide regular collection services to butchers, restaurants, food outlets, supermarkets, food processors and abattoirs across the UK. We offer a range of suitable container types and utilise a network of State Veterinary Service approved disposal outlets. Increasingly, we are developing approved, in-house treatment services including de-packaging services, in-vessel composting and anaerobic digestion.

For more information regarding the collection and disposal of Animal By-products including catering wastes, international catering wastes and former foodstuffs, call 0800 307 307 to speak to a Biffa adviser.

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