What Are Animal By–Products And How Do I Comply?
This is a general question and answer format article intended to be used for general education purposes. Please verify the information you find here by conducting relevant searches to the specific statutory instruments which apply in the country in which your facility is located.
Animal by-products are defined as entire bodies or parts of animal carcasses or any material of animal origin, not intended for human consumption.
If on your premises you receive, handle, use, treat or destroy animal by products the site must be approved under the Animal By Products Regulations applied by your own local regulator.
What Actions Must I Take With These Materials?
Animal by-products must be treated and disposed of in accordance with specified stringent standards, as set-out in the ABP Regulations. The Animal By-Products Regulations are aimed at protecting human and animal health and the environment. Sometimes the ABPR is described as a regulation which is necessary to ensure “biosecurity”. That is security against the spread of infectious agents of disease.
For example, the DEFRA website (for England and Wales) contains information relating to all aspects of treating animal by-products and catering wastes through composting or biogas systems.
These regulations tightened the rules on the processing, use, disposal, trade and import of animal by-products, after the devastating effects of Foot and Mouth Disease (especially in the UK), in the preceding years.
The Regulations classify animal by-products into three categories based on their potential risk to animals, the public or the environment. If your business deals with any animal by-products, this guidance is relevant to you.
When did these Regulations First Become Law?
These rules have applied since 2003 when the EU introduced these regulations, and in England they are administered and enforced by the Animal By-Products Regulations (ABPR) 2005.
What do the ABPR Mean for Anaerobic Digestion Plant Operators?
These Regulations apply to any AD Plant that deals with the collection, transport, storage, handling, processing and use of or disposal of animal by-products, and the storage of Animal By-Products can only take place in approved storage facilities.
Therefore, if an AD Plant operator decides to accept any Animal By-Products, it will be necessary for the plant to be regularly inspected and approved as compliant. In the UK this work is done by the State Veterinary Service.
In general, this means that as mesophilic process AD plants operate at temperatures below the minimum sanitisation temperature, mesophilic AD installations will have to add a pasteurisation stage to achieve sanitisation. The pasteurisation stage is placed either before or after the digester.
Thermophilic digestion process systems have the advantage that the temperatures they operate at are usually high enough, and the residence period easily long enough, for them to comply without any specific ABPR provisions, other than those of segregating inward (dirty) and outward (uncontaminated zones and plant), and subject to regular inspection by the regulating vet.
In short, if you operate premises that receive, handle, use, treat or destroy animal by products, they must be approved under the Animal By Products Regulations.