Scotland’s meat quality body has ruled that digestate and compost are safe for farmers to use for their crops in a move that will open up a new market for the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry.
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) said that for a number of years the meat industry had been concerned that AD could play host to clostridium botulinum, an organism that produces a toxin that causes diseases in humans and animals.
But three research projects have confirmed AD does not lead to any significant growth of the organism.
As a result, the body has approved the use of composts and digestates on farmland, provided they are PAS 100 and PAS 110 certified and meet additional restrictions regarding contaminants.
“Historical concerns have now been addressed to an extent which has allowed us to achieve significant progress and substantial revision of the previous restriction on their use by members of the assurance scheme,” said QMS brands integrity manager Suzanne Woodman.
Zero Waste Scotland said the move will help develop markets for compost and digestate products arising from the expansion of food waste collections, as well as providing QMS Meat Scotland members with a sustainable alternative to manufactured fertilisers.
Chief executive Iain Gulland urged the industry to keep delivering high quality materials. “It is vital that the whole food waste supply chain responds by enabling the organics recycling industry to deliver consistent, high quality materials to farmers who want to use them,” he said.
“If they do, this is a clear win-win, for farming and for zero waste.”