Circular Economy

What are the categories of Animal By-Products?

Learn about the classification of Category 1, 2 and 3 Animal By-Products (ABPs). Learn more about the management and disposal of slaughter waste not intended for human consumption.

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Green Marketer

Categories By-Products Animal: what are they?

Animal By-Products (ABPs) represent a complex and diverse reality in the waste and resource management landscape.

These materials, derived from animals, are not intended for human consumption but find a new life in different sectors thanks to transformation and reuse processes and, above all, thanks to clear regulations.

In fact, Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009 dictates the classification of ABPs into three broad categories:

  • Category 1 – high-risk materials.
  • Category 2 – moderate risk materials.
  • Category 3 – low-risk materials.

Why was this classification created?

he ABP classification was introduced to ensure a high level of safety throughout the food chain. This principle is the basis of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002, which is a milestone in European legislation, as it establishes the general principles and requirements of food safety legislation.

The food crises of the 1990s, such as the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic, underscored the role of Animal By-Products in the spread of disease.

For this reason, the experts of the Scientific Steering Committee determined that products derived from animals not fit for human consumption should not enter the food chain.

Within the same regulation, moreover, any practice of cannibalism, i.e., feeding animals with protein obtained from corpses of the same species, is prohibited, posing an additional risk of disease propagation.

In a Circular Economy context, Animal By-Products (ABPs) represent a valuable resource that can be reused and transformed into new products.

How many are Animal By-Products?

ABPs include a wide range of materials not intended for human consumption. We refer, for example, to whole bodies, animal parts, dairy products, and other materials of animal origin, such as ova, embryos, and semen.

From the latest estimates on the “EUR-Lex” portal, more than 15 million tons of SOA By-Products are produced annually in Europe. A remarkable number that makes us realize how important it is for companies to be able to classify, first, and then manage, these materials.

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Animal By-Products Category 1

ABPs Category 1 represents materials with the highest health risk.

These materials are considered hazardous to both human and animal health and, therefore, require extremely stringent management and disposal measures.

What are the ABPs of category 1?

Category 1 materials that are present within the regulations (in Regulation 2009/1069/EC) include:

  • All body parts, including hides and skins, of animals suspected of being infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE), such as mad cow disease.
  • Animals killed under TSE eradication measures.
  • Pet, zoo, circus and experimental animals.
  • Wild animals are suspected of being infected with infectious diseases.
  • Specified risk materials, i.e., tissues likely to carry an infectious agent.
  • Products obtained from animals given banned substances or containing environmentally hazardous products.
  • All materials are collected as part of wastewater treatment from Category 1 processing plants and other premises where specified risk materials are removed.
  • Catering and kitchen wastes from means of transportation making international journeys.
  • Mixtures of Category 1 materials with Category 2 and/or 3 materials.

How to use ABPs category 1?

Once collected, transported and identified, Category 1 materials must be disposed of or handled according to strict procedures.

Below we see some examples of management:

  • Incineration: materials are directly disposed of as waste by incineration in an approved incineration plant.
  • Processing: materials are processed in an approved processing plant according to a specific method. The resulting materials are then marked and disposed of by incineration or co-incineration.
  • Burial: except materials from the bodies of animals infected (or suspected to be infected) by a TSE, processed materials may be buried in an approved landfill.

These procedures ensure that Category 1 materials do not pose a hazard to public health or the environment.

Animal By-Products category 2

Animal By-Products Category 2 includes materials with an intermediate health risk.

These By-Products are also not suitable for human or animal consumption, but can be managed and processed for other uses, contributing to waste reduction and resource enhancement.

What are category 2 ABPs?

Category 2 materials include the following ABPs:

  • Manure and digestive tract contents: Materials derived from animals that can be used in agriculture after appropriate treatment.
  • Materials of animal origin collected in slaughterhouse wastewater treatment.
  • Products containing veterinary drug residues and contaminants.
  • Animal products that do not comply with EU veterinary requirements (including those imported from third countries).
  • Animals not slaughtered for human consumption, such as dead animals of avian species or mammals other than ruminants.
  • Mixtures of category 2 and 3 materials.
  • Intermediate handling and storage of these materials, except manure, must take place at Category 2 approved transit facilities.

How to use ABPs category 2?

These materials, once identified, can be managed through several modes:

  • Incineration: direct disposal of the materials as waste in recognized incineration plants.
  • Processing: treatment in recognized processing plants, with subsequent disposal of the resulting materials.
  • Composting or biogas production: materials of fish origin can be composted or processed into biogas.
  • Production of organic fertilizers: after pressure sterilization and permanent marking, materials can be used to produce organic fertilizers or soil conditioners.
  • Use as fuel: After processing or without prior processing, materials can be used as fuel or to produce new materials.

These procedures ensure that Category 2 materials are managed safely and effectively, reducing health risks and circularly enhancing the value of By-Products.

Animal By-Products Category 3

Animal By-Products Category 3 includes materials that pose a low health risk.

These materials, if properly treated, can be reused in a variety of ways, including animal feed production. Managing these by-products helps reduce waste and promote Circular Economy practices.

What are category 3 ABPs?

Category 3 materials include the following Animal By-Products, typical slaughter waste:

  • Parts of slaughtered animals are fit for human consumption but not intended for human consumption due to commercial reasons, processing problems or packaging defects.
  • Parts of slaughtered animals declared unfit for human consumption, which show no signs of communicable diseases.
  • Blood, hides, hooves, horns, pig bristles and feathers obtained from animals slaughtered in a slaughterhouse and deemed fit for human consumption after ante-mortem inspection.
  • Blood obtained from animals, excluding ruminants, slaughtered in a slaughterhouse after ante mortem inspection.
  • Raw milk produced from animals without clinical symptoms of communicable diseases.
  • Fish or other marine animals caught on the high seas and intended for the production of fishmeal, as well as fresh fish by-products from plants manufacturing products for human consumption.
  • Eggshells from animals without clinical signs of communicable diseases.
  • Kitchen and catering wastes excluding category 1 wastes.

How to use ABPs category 3?

Category 3 materials, once identified by applying the appropriate analysis can be managed through several modes:

  • Incineration: direct disposal of the materials as waste in approved incineration plants.
  • Pet food production: materials can be used as raw materials in specific production facilities.
  • Biogas or composting production: materials can be processed in approved biogas or composting production plants.
  • Feed production: materials can be processed for feed production, except decomposed and deteriorated materials.

These procedures ensure safe and efficient management of Category 3 materials, minimizing health risks and promoting sustainable utilization of by-products.

Proper classification and management of ABPs

The accurate classification and effective management of Animal By-Products (ABPs) are critical to promoting circular resource management and health safety.

The management of ABPs is also closely linked to the management of Industrial Waste, as it contributes to reducing environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices.

Every step in the process, from collection to shipment, is regulated to ensure that materials are handled safely and by regulations.

The collection, transportation, storage, and shipment of ABPs, except some materials, such as Category 3 kitchen and catering waste, must follow the following procedures:

  • Identification and labelling: all raw materials in the three categories must be properly identified and labeled to avoid confusion and ensure traceability.
  • Characteristics of vehicles and containers: vehicles and containers used for transporting ABPs must meet specific requirements to prevent contamination and dispersion and also must be authorized to transport the same
  • Commercial documents and health certificates: each shipment must be accompanied by commercial documents and health certificates attesting to the compliance of the transported materials.
  • Transport conditions: transport conditions must be adequate to maintain the integrity of the materials and prevent sanitary risks.
  • Registration of shipments: each shipment must be registered, and related information must be shared through the TRACES system among the competent authorities of member states.

Properly managing Animal By-Products is not just a matter of regulatory compliance, but represents significant added value in fostering the Circular Economy and Industrial Symbiosis between companies.

Simone Tabellini per Sfridoo

Simone Tabellini

Green Marketer

One of the challenges of the Circular Economy sector, is to be able to clearly and effectively communicate the benefits that this economic model can give companies. By investing in it, we can increase awareness and knowledge in people.