COVID-19 is affecting all people and businesses with many countries only keeping critical national infrastructure in operation. Rendering facilities remain open around the world because they provide an essential service. The industry is vital for a healthy and hygienic food supply chain as well as ensuring a wide range of diseases remain under control.
An essential part of the food supply chain
The rendering industry provides an essential service by processing fallen stock from farms and a wide range of materials from the meat processing industry into useful by-products. If not managed properly this material could present a serious health and environmental risk so rendering is vital to ensure consumers have healthy animal products. During the current disruption caused by Covid-19, rendering has remained fully in operation as it is a critical part of the food supply chain. However, the rendering industry has faced challenges due to altered consumption habits and reduced demand and prices for animal by-products.
Controls disease; including Coronavirus
Precautionary disease control is an essential part of the rendering process. The methods described in annex IV of regulation 142/2011 are intended to kill even heat-resistant pathogens. All eradication conditions are above those for viruses such as Coronavirus. Moreover feed grade category 3 materials are safely sourced from healthy slaughtered animals only. In any case, according to the WHO and OIE there is no evidence that Covid-19 is transmitted via feed or food, the predominant mode of transmission is human-to-human.
All food grade material such as edible fats and greaves is extracted and processed under food safety conditions. That means that it is not only food grade material, but also undergoes a thermal treatment which would kill the virus.
High standard of safety and cleanliness throughout the process
The rendering industry is used to working with potentially hazardous material. European Regulation ensures that materials are segregated into three categories according to potential risk. The highest risk Category 1 material never re-enters the food or feed supply chain.
There is full traceability of material from initial collection until sale as a by-product and throughout the process a HACCP approach is used to prevent problem. Rendering facilities are regularly disinfected and staff routinely wears protective equipment for their own safety and to prevent any risk from zoonoses.
Produces safe, useful by-products
The products produced by the rendering industry continue to be useful in a wide range of uses. Higher risk material is typically used as industrial fuel, typically in cement kilns. At present it is suffering from reduced demand due to Covid-19, but there is the capacity to store and export stocks within the EU to manage the problem.
Category 3 Processed Animal Protein (PAP) and fat are a valuable feed stuff for the feed, pet food and aquaculture industry and  represent an important home-grown protein and fat source for European producers.