Work to improve carcase use

I enjoyed the latest MTJ a very interesting issue. Climate change is a strategically important topic these days and you addressed coherently one of the priorities in our industry.

Our meat industry continues to be a reliable supplier of quality products by improving its sustainability credentials. The industry has been working hard to improve its carcase utilisation and reduce energy and water use per head of animal using less to make more!

MLCSL, funded by QMS and the Scottish government, has been working with the slaughtering sector in Scotland, recovering value from the fifth-quarter, reducing waste and improving profitability. By researching and increasing the knowledge of export markets and other sales opportunities, the amount of product going to be rendered as Category 1 has been reduced by over 10%. Scottish abattoirs have increased the percentage and weight of product going into the human or pet food chain, thereby improving their carbon footprint and reducing their process waste.

Under 7% of a beast is specified risk material (SRM) or, taking a 600kg animal, about 40kg is SRM and needs to be disposed of as Category 1. A further 22% is inedible for example, hide and stomach and intestinal contents. So, over 70% should be going to some sort of edible product be it human or pet food. However, in the UK, this is not always an economical solution. It is sometimes less costly to pay the renderers to take your by-products away. They at least can recover energy and some raw materials for the cement and pharmaceutical industry. Although this energy is an expensive option it is now at least an option.

The area that currently needs to be improved is blood. Collected at abattoirs, blood is a potentially valuable by-product. It can be used in the formulation of food products; additives; pharmaceuticals; fertilisers; and animal feeds; as well as in numerous industrial applications. Yet in the UK, most abattoirs currently send their blood for rendering.

Another initiative funded by WRAP, benchmarking process waste in the supply chain, will quantify packaging and product waste from abattoir to supermarket checkout.

Eblex, Hybu Cig Cymru and QMS are also working together to quantify energy and water use per kilo of beef and lamb in the supply chain. This will be used to develop the second phase of the Eblex roadmap.