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New Animal By-Products Regulations agreed in Brussels

New European Union rules on Animal By-Products Regulations, which govern the disposal of catering and food waste, have been agreed in Brussels (14 November).

The regulation lays down health rules in relation to animal by-products not intended for human consumption.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the new regulation introduces a more risk-proportionate approach to controls on animal by-products and clarifies the rules, including their interaction with other EU legislation.

The regulation will come into force in the UK from February 2011 to give time for detailed rules to be agreed under implementing legislation.

In September, the European Commission proposed changes to replace the Animal By-Products Regulation (2002). The proposals were adopted by the European Parliament and European Council.

The animal by-product material classification includes three categories which are the following:

  • Category one (injurious to health);
  • Category two (unfit for human consumption); and
  • Category three (which comply with certain rules regarding their possible use for human consumption).

The new rules are set to have an impact for anaerobic digestion or in-vessel composter operators. For instance, the new rules state that category one materials, including body parts of animals other than farmed and wild animals, can be disposed of as waste by incineration, recovered or disposed of by co-incineration, or disposed of by burial in landfill. However, category one materials cannot be composted or transformed into biogas.

In contrast, category two and three materials, including catering waste and foodstuffs containing products of animal origin can be composted or transformed into biogas. Category two and three materials can also be used for the manufacturing of organic fertilisers or soil improvers to be placed on the market.

Defra launched an informal consultation on the regulations in August for industry stakeholders which closed in September. It is due to launch a final formal consultation in spring 2010 on the domestic implementing legislation.

Other new proposals include:

  • A biogas plant must be equipped with a pasteurisation/hygienisation unit; and
  • A composting plant must have adequate facilities for cleaning and disinfecting of vehicles and containers transporting untreated animal by-products.

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