In our last blog we gave a brief overview of the broad reach of the rendering industry. Today, we’re taking a look at a particular piece: poultry.
Even within the poultry industry, there are multiple processes in which rendering steps in and puts to good use the things that are unused or overlooked. For instance, the parts of the birds that are not edible – mainly feathers and bones – are obviously not used for meat, but renderers can process and dry them, turning them into what’s called feather meal and bone meal respectively, which are used as organic feed supplements and fertilizers. Similarly, eggshells, which would otherwise be discarded by food manufacturers and processors, are often instead ground into a powder, and used as a calcium supplement in feed.
Another process waste stream that rendering takes advantage of comes from dissolved air flotation, or DAF, a technique to clarify and separate wastewater. DAF is often thought to be only related to chemical and petrochemical processes, but many food processing plants generate wastewater as well. For poultry and other meat processors, the wastewater can clarified by the DAF process, and the resulting fats, oils, and other DAF material can be skimmed off the top, processed and then dried.
The advantages of these “recycled” materials are many and great – the meal is organic, and so it complies with many standards for feed and fertilizer that specify the need for organically sourced ingredients. Additionally, the use of products that otherwise would be considered waste can create alternate sources of revenue for the processors, incentivizing their use, while at the same time being environmentally friendly by using byproducts that would otherwise end up in landfills. The benefits for and to the poultry industry make rendering a must for many – next time we’ll take a look at how the process affects our four-legged forms of meat – beef and pork.