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Animal by-products

Each year, the European Union (EU) produces more than 15 million tons of animal by-products. In order to prevent the risks that these products represent for public and animal health, the EU has adapted the existing rules and provides a more coherent legal framework for their collection, use and disposal. Furthermore, it establishes new rules to facilitate the use of material of animal origin for technical applications.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 laying down health rules as regards animal by-products and derived products not intended for human consumption and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002.

SUMMARY

This Regulation facilitates the efficient management of animal by-products whilst maintaining the high level of protection that is currently in place against risks to public and animal health and to the environment.

Products concerned

This Regulation shall apply to:

  • animal by-products * and derived products * which are not intended for human consumption;
  • products intended for purposes other than human consumption:
    • products of animal origin which may be destined for human consumption;
    • raw materials for the production of products of animal origin.

End point in the manufacturing chain

This Regulation introduces the notion of an “end point” in the manufacturing of animal by-products, beyond which they are no longer subject to the rules governing this type of product, since potential risks have been eliminated. Instead, the general rules on product safety are to apply. As an example, where animal fat produced by an incinerating factory is processed and the product of that transformation is used to produce plastics, the probability that the final product might transmit a significant biological risk is very slight.

Essential guarantees for public and animal health

Products of animal origin may be used outside the food chain for various purposes: skins for leather production, powdered milk to feed animals, and blood products in diagnostic medical devices. Such by-products may be a vector of diseases affecting human beings or animals when they are used in animal feedingstuffs or to produce technical products.

This Regulation preserves the basic guarantees introduced in 2003 against such risks. In particular, it maintains:

  • a risk-based categorisation of animal by-products which determines whether they may be used as animal feedingstuffs, for the manufacture of technical products or for other purposes, or whether they must be destroyed;
  • an obligation for Member States and operators to ensure that animal by-products are collected and disposed of as soon as possible;
  • the exclusion of products that are unfit for hum an consumption from the feed chain for farmed animals; and lastly
  • a ban on feeding animals of one species with material derived from the same species (“intra-species recycling ban”).

A more coherent legal framework

Animal by-products are used to produce cosmetics, medicines and diagnostic medical devices. When they are used for the manufacture of such products, they are subject to other provisions of European law. Slaughterhouses, milk factories and other food establishments manufacturing animal by-products are already bound by European legislation on human food or animal feedingstuffs, and are the subject of inspections in this regard.

This Regulation aims at improving coherency between other provisions of European law and the health rules applying to animal by-products. The potential risks are tackled with respect to the appropriate legislation, which avoids operators being exposed to unnecessary constraints.

Being based on experience gained, this Regulation clarifies under which circumstances and in what way environmental legislation shall apply to operations involving animal by-products. This legislation applies for example where the spreading of manure as a fertiliser has effects on soil and the groundwater table.

Comitology

The current categorisation of animal by-products may now be amended by the Commission under the comitology procedure. Prior to any change, a scientific organisation such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) or the Scientific Committee for Consumer Products (SCCP) must assess the possible risks of a specific animal by-product for public and animal health.

Repeal

Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 shall be repealed with effect from 4 March 2011.

Key terms of the Act
  • Animal by-products: entire bodies or parts of animals, products of animal origin or other products obtained from animals, which are not intended for human consumption, including oocytes, embryos and semen.
  • Derived products: products obtained from one or more treatments, transformations or steps of processing of animal by-products.
ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 41/2009

10.2.2009

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OJ L 16 of 21.1.2009

Last updated: 28.02.2011
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