The applications

European legislation specifies which types of animal by-products may or may not be used for which applications (food, feed, pharma, etc.). Apart from human consumption, animal by-products are classified into 3 categories. This classification is laid down in the European Regulation on animal by-products (Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009) and is based on the risk to public and animal health. Category 1 material has proportionally the highest risk, category 3 material the lowest. For each category there are regulations on how the material can be processed or used.

Categoy 1 (high risk)

  • Specified Risk Material (SRM) linked with transmission of TSEs (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies), this includes the spinal chord and brain
  • Fallen stock with SRM
  • International catering waste
  • Anything handled with Category 1

Category 2

  • Material not fit for human consumption and posing a risk to animals and humans
  • Fallen stock without SRM

Category 3

  • Fit for human consumption at the point of slaughter
  • From healthy slaughtered animals, not fit for human consumption but no risk to animals, humans and environment
  • Domestic catering waste

Souce: EFPRA


Processing is done on segregated lines to prevent contamination between different categories of waste and between different species.

The  very diverse applications include:

Pharmaceutical products

Pharmaceutical products are made from carefully selected animal by-products for medical applications and as an ingredient in dietary supplements. This concerns pharmaceutical products such as heparin – an anti-blood clotting drug – and nutritional supplements such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and collagen peptides. These nutritional supplements can contribute to healthy bones, flexible joints and healthy-looking skin.

Edible by-products: fats and proteins

High-quality edible oils and fats are a safe and essential part of the human diet. They are, among other things, a source of energy, fatty acids and vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and, as an ingredient, give taste and structure to foods. Animal fats have excellent frying and baking properties. They have a lower carbon footprint than most plant-based alternatives because their production does not require additional agricultural land. The edible proteins are often used as a functional ingredient in meat products. For example, proteins can provide structure, give a good mouthfeel and make the meat products more creamy. It also fits in with the aim of using the whole animal: as always happens with the traditional butcher. All edible parts can be usefully used in meat products: from snout to tail. This helps to prevent food waste!

Animal feed

Animal by-products can also be processed into an ingredient for animal feed. A condition for processing animal proteins is that there is no intra-species consumption. This means that processed animal proteins from pigs may not be fed to pigs and processed animal proteins from poultry may not be fed to poultry. This specific rule does not apply to other animal proteins. For example, think of egg and gelatin. This condition does not apply to animal fat either. Fat is used as an ingredient in animal feed because of its binding, preservative and nutritional properties. For animal feed the melting point of a fat is relevant, because of the digestibility of the feed. This melting point should be below 40 degrees Celcius.

Feed for fish, shrimps and other aquatic animals

Processed animal protein is suitable for use in feeds for farmed fish and shrimp – especially fish species such as salmon. Processed animal protein often has better nutritional properties than vegetable proteins and can also replace fishmeal made from wild-caught fish.

Pet food

Processed animal protein is widely used in pet foods such as cats and dogs. The essential proteins, fats and minerals are well suited to the nutritional needs of these companion animals. The melting point of a fat is relevant for pet food applications, to prevent sweating in the package. 

Home and personal care products

Animal fats are used for the production of oleochemical products that in turn serve as ingredients for household soaps, detergents and cosmetics.

Organic fertilizers and soil improvers

Processed animal proteins are also used as fertilizer in agriculture. In this way, plants and food crops are provided with readily available nitrogen, phosphorus and all kinds of micronutrients that are essential for growth and photosynthesis. As a soil conditioner, these products help to restore the organic matter content in the soil, improving the fertility and water-binding capacity of the soil.


Animal fats are increasingly used in the production of biofuels (biodiesel and sustainable jet fuel). Biofuel is mixed into 'ordinary' fossil fuel, thus contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Previous page
Next page