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FEFAC publication focuses on co-product use

Report details co-products commonly used in compound feed production to illustrate industry's role in circular economy.

FEFAC, the European Compound Feed Manufacturers Federation, released a new publication on June 3 titled “Co-products, an Essential Part of Animal Nutrition,” that's meant to create awareness among European Union stakeholders and policy-makers about the feed industry’s extensive use of co-products.

The publication describes how co-products such as brewers’ grains, sugar beet pulp and wheat bran are generated during food and biofuel production as well as what their value is in compound feed, FEFAC said.

Many co-products are listed, including both commonly used and less-well-known products such as fermentation biomass from production of vitamins, amino acids, carotenoids, flavorings and other industrial fermentates.

In the report, FEFAC discussed the use of the terms "byproduct" and "co-product," noting that while there is no "legal clarification of the difference" between the terms, FEFAC has preferred to use a "co-product mentality." The organization said a byproduct is "typically an unavoidable residue that needs to be disposed of in a low-cost way," while a co-product is "recognized for its value as a nutrient resource and is treated with the same care and attention as the main product."

Co-product use illustrates the role compound feed manufacturers play in the food chain’s circular economy, which creates economic and environmental benefits for both the original production process and the livestock sector, the organization said.

“A key strength of the European feed industry is its capacity and knowledge to safely convert co-products into nutritious animal feed. However, there should be increased awareness of the fact that the use of these co-products resulting from food, drink and biofuel production plays key role in (food) waste prevention and helps to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of industrial compound feed and livestock production,” FEFAC president Nick Major said.

In the report, FEFAC said there are few other sectors that "so rigorously identify and reuse resources resulting from other manufacturing processes that are mostly geared toward other high-end products."

The co-products publication will be distributed at FEFAC’s 60th anniversary event on June 6 in Brussels, Belgium, with the conference theme “Resource Efficiency Champions of the Food Chain for 60 Years.”

FEFAC represents 23 national associations in 23 EU member states as well as associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Serbia, Russia and Norway with observer/associate member status. The European compound feed industry employs more than 100,000 people on about 3,500 production sites. According to FEFAC, farm animals in the EU-28 consume an estimated 490 million metric tons of feed a year, about 30% of which are produced by compound feed manufacturers.

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