Part of the IAF editorial panel, Dom has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph, Canada.
Today he teaches various undergraduate and graduate courses on animal nutrition and agriculture at the University of Guelph. Between 2007 and 2009, he coordinated the “Paris Semester”, a study abroad program for undergraduate students at the University of Guelph.
He serves on a number of international committees, including the US National Research Council Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Fish and Shrimp.
See all of the Aquaculture view columns here.
July - August 2013
The reintroduction of PAPs in European Union aquaculture feedsNew European Commission Regulation (Regulation 56/2013) allowing the use of non-ruminant processed animal proteins (PAPs) in feeds for aquaculture species came into force on June 1, 2013. The new regulation only applies to PAPs derived from Category 3 material, which is defined as by-products of non-ruminant animals (poultry, swine) that are fit for human consumption at the point of slaughter.
This major development for European renderers and the aquaculture industry was discussed at a number of events in recent weeks. Personally, I had the chance to present a review some of the work done on PAPs in aquaculture species over the past 20 years at Sonac's International Aqua Event in Burgum, the Netherlands, and the 2013 European Fat Processors and Renderers Association (EFPRA) Congress in Prague, Czech Republic. These events were rich in interactions and discussions with industry stakeholders and I wish to share some of my observations and thoughts.
Very strict regulations with regards to animal by-products were adopted in Europe in reaction to the transmissible sponigorm encephalopathies (TSEs) crisis during the 1990s. The new regulation reforms the stringent rules on the use of PAPs in feed. The relaxation of the rules has come about for different reasons. One of which is that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) emitted a scientific opinion that that TSE risk from feeding non-ruminant feed ingredients to non-ruminant animals is negligible when 'intra-species recycling' (i.e. cannibalism) is avoided. The very significant progresses achieved in the production, traceability and testing for PAPs in Europe over the past decade or two is also another important reason.
The revised regulations are still extremely stringent and complex. Renderers and aquaculture feed producers need to stick to very strict production and traceability procedures and adopt new testing procedures (RT-PCR test developed by the EU reference laboratory) in order to meet the requirements of the new legislation.
The media and stakeholders in the European food industry have raised concerns with regards to the new regulations. A large segment of the European population is still traumatized by the mad cow crisis and is highly concerned with food safety issues. The recent horse meat scandal did not help ease the situation. Consequently, the reintroduction of non-ruminant PAPs in aquaculture feeds in Europe won't be a walk in the park. However, Europe is not a monolithic block and differences in market and consumer's acceptance are likely to emerge soon, notably given in the current economic climate and high food prices.
Significant volume of high quality protein and fats sources
Over 18 million metric tonnes (mmt) of animal by-products are generated every year in the European Union. The animal by-products industry processes these by-products into more than 4 mmt of animal proteins per year. In 2011, more than 2.3 mmt of PAPs were produced from Category 3 material (fit for human consumption). In 2011, about 1.6 mmt went into pet food or were fed to fur animals (minks, foxes) and the balance was used as fertilizers or industrial uses.
The under-valorization of large volumes of perfectly good feed-grade proteins is not a negligible phenomenon, notably since Europe is in a protein deficit. Together the 27 EU countries import over 20 mmt of soybean meal and 12 mmt of soybeans annually to meet the needs of their feed industry. The deficits in protein crop production and the exposure of the livestock sector to volatility in global protein feed prices are among of the reasons why the European Parliament adopted two resolutions in 2011 which called for reform of the rules on PAPs in animal feeds.
A more level playing field?
Only minute amounts of very high quality land animal proteins (hemoglobin powder, hydrolyzed proteins, etc) have found use in aquaculture feeds in Europe over the past few years. In contrast, PAPs have been widely used in aquaculture feeds in the Americas, Asia and Oceania for at least the past 10 years. European aquaculture producers have, thus, been placed at a significant disadvantage in an increasingly global market. European aquaculture feed manufacturers have had to maintain higher levels of expensive fishmeal in their feeds and rely more on a variety of plant protein sources (soy, rapeseed, sunflower, pea, wheat, etc), often with significant consequence on production cost and flexibility in the formulations.
Good news for aquaculture product exporters?
The new regulation is probably very good news for the global aquaculture industry, notably for exporters of aquaculture products. For example, aquaculture feed producers around the globe are now able to use European non-ruminant Category 3 PAPs in their feeds and their clients should be able to lawfully export their products to EU countries. This new situation may contribute to improving the sustainability and transparency of practices in some countries where ‘rules’ may have been bent in the past.
New entrants, new products, new ideas?
The TSE crisis was a great upheaval for the European agriculture industry. From this traumatic event, some positive aspects can be derived. The huge changes in the production practices and traceability procedures for PAPs are among them. European rendering plants are now generally extremely well organised and clean. They often operate in densely populated areas without major complaints from the community.
European renderers certainly heeded the American proverb that says, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade". Some stakeholders in the European rendering industry have been very resourceful and developed new products and approaches.
Nonetheless, the new regulation call for stringent sterilization methods (i.e. steam pressure sterilization at a minimum of 133 °C for not less than 20 minutes at a pressure of 3 bars on particles with a maximum size of 50 mm). These relatively harsh processing conditions may have a negative influence on the nutritive value of the final products but there is limited information on this issue.
I am seeing some great opportunities to compare the nutritive value to different aquaculture species of PAPs produced according to the vastly different production practices and conditions adopted by different renderers in different continents.
Rendering: the sustainable solution
Interested in learning more about rendering and the role it plays in the agriculture and food industry? A short video was recently published by the National Renderers Association on YouTube. You can access it via this link http://bit.ly/12Ck2OA
The website of my research group, the Fish Nutrition Research Laboratory at the University of Guelph, Canada also has numerous presentations and references on the use of rendered animal proteins in animal feeds. http://fishnutrition.uoguelph.ca
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