Animal By-Products Feb 13, 2024

8 Sources of Animal by Products (ABP) Waste

8 Sources of Animal by Products (ABP) Waste

Posted on November 26th, 2018

Like many waste streams the sources of animal by products (ABP) waste are diverse and come from a wide range of business activities. The following article outlines the most common sources.

Animal by Product classification

Because of the risk to public health, Government waste regulations split ABP into three categories; lowest risk items are classified as Category 3, high-risk items as category 2 and the highest risk to public health are Category 1.

Category 3 ABP are animal carcasses that are fit for human consumption but have been removed from sale. Rendering is often a suitable disposal method. The risk increases when the ABP is contaminated with pharmaceutical residue for veterinary treatments or the animal was suffering from a transmittable disease. As the risk increases incineration is stipulated as a disposal method.

Farms / Abattoirs

In food production, the farming industry is responsible for meat, dairy and poultry wastes. Most of the waste is sent to rendering plants where the waste is processed into stable materials such as lard, tallow meat and bone meal.

However, not all animal by products are suitable for rendering. To protect public health some ABP waste that falls into category 1 or 2 are sent for high temperature incineration.

Veterinary practices / Animal Hospitals

Pet owners have the bittersweet knowledge that sharing their life with a pet will also mean enduring their pet’s passing. Whilst the owners do not consider their departed pets as ABP, according to Government regulations, that is what they are. Owners rightly demand a method of disposal that acknowledges the emotional bonds that existed between the animal and owner. Pet cremation services exist that provide a compliant and compassionate service for the disposal of pet cadavers.

In addition, veterinary practices also generate ABP in the form of animal body parts e.g. amputations, animal organs and tissue. As the body parts may be contaminated with pharmaceuticals then the APB waste is treated as Category 2 ABP and should be sent for incineration.


Most food waste from catering sites is easy to process and can be sent in general waste or anaerobic digestion. Waste disposal becomes more complicated when you consider international catering waste. When a plane or ship enters the European Union all catering waste packaging is considered Category 1 ABP. Category 1 ABP can be sent to APHA authorised waste landfill site or for incineration.

Imports / Port Health

Importing food items into the UK has a number of controls. Failure to follow the regulations such as incorrect documentation or inadequate or damaged packaging can lead to Border or Environmental Health officers seizing items.

If you are importing perishable items in a refrigerated container, a mechanical failure that results in the items spoiling will result in the need to dispose of the items.

Unfortunately, you are now responsible for arranging the collection, transportation and destruction of the goods.


In much the same way as importing perishable goods, transporting goods throughout the UK also comes with the risk of mechanical failure. Refrigerated units in vehicles are subject to failure, which leaves you with goods that need to be destroyed.

Food Processing Plants

Most spoilt meat from food processing plants can be rendered. However, there are instances where rendering is not applicable. For example, ingredients contaminated with chemicals or ingredients infected with bacteria such as E.coli pose a risk to public health. Such items are sent for incineration.

Seized goods

Food crime involves serious and intentional dishonesty within the supply chain. Activities involved include:

  • Theft
  • Unlawful processing
  • Waste diversion
  • Adulteration
  • Substitution
  • Misrepresentation
  • Document fraud

There have been some high profile instances over the last few years. I am sure you remember the substitution of horsemeat for beef, the eggs contaminated with Fipronil and the repackaging of chicken to extend the chicken’s shelf life illegally.

Zoos / Wildlife Parks / Safari Parks

Any attraction that looks after wild animals will generate ABP. This can be in the form of veterinary waste or animal cadavers. Zoos also need to be aware of the CITES regulations on the sale of endangered animals or animal parts. To prevent the illegal trade the cadaver of a protected animal should be cremated at an approved site that can provide a certificate of cremation.

In conclusion

Many activities generate ABP that most people would not immediately think of. Consequently, the management of ABP waste more complex than it may first appear. For more advice please contact one of our advisors.

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