COVID-19 is affecting everyone.
Read below to learn why rendering is essential to keep people and our economy moving forward during this time, how rendering safety guidelines keep your pets and livestock safe, and for helpful and timely COVID-19 resources.
Rendering is Essential in the Food Supply Chain
The rendering industry recycles the leftover parts of the cow, pig, chicken and turkey – about half the animal – remaining after meat packing. Renderers convert this material into new animal protein and fat ingredients for animal feed (including pet food), biodiesel, and hundreds of consumer products and industrial uses. Meat packing would grind to a halt without rendering to dispose of the “rest of the animal,” essentially “the meat we don’t eat”.
Major public health and environmental problems would also occur if mountains of raw animal by-products were left to pile up without rendering.
This guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency designates rendering workers specifically as part of the nation’s “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.”
Rendered Products Continue to be Safe for Use in Animal and Pet Food
Renderers produce proteins and fats that provide important nutritional ingredients for the nation’s animal feed supply for livestock and pet food.
The rendering process ensures coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) cannot be present in in animal and pet food even in the extremely very rare instance it could be present in the raw materials used to produce this food.
Heat kills pathogenic viruses and bacteria quickly at high temperatures. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is killed in a few minutes at 50 – 70 °C. The rendering process is accomplished at temperatures of 115º–145ºC (approximately 240º–290ºF) for 40 to 90 minutes depending upon the type of system and materials. There has never been a documented case of an animal disease outbreak caused by viruses or bacteria from rendered animal by-products.
Rendering Plants Regularly Clean and Disinfect Animal and Pet Food Ingredient Production Areas
Rendered animal and pet food ingredients are produced under strict regulations of the Food and Drug Administration and industry guidelines (Rendering Code of Practice) to maximize animal food safety.
These requirements include:
- Buildings, structures, fixtures, and other physical facilities of the plant must be kept clean and in good repair to prevent animal food from becoming adulterated.
- Animal food contact and noncontact surfaces of utensils (tools) and equipment must be cleaned and maintained and utensils (tools) and equipment stored as necessary to protect against contamination.
- Effective measures must be taken to exclude pests from the manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding areas and to protect against the contamination of animal food by pests.
For the most up-to-date information on the risk of COVID-19 virus transmission to animals and COVID-19 disease, please visit these COVID-19 resource pages:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- Pet Food Institute’s COVID-19 Q&A
- World Organization for Animal Health
- IDEXX – Coronavirus Update
- IDEXX – Leading Veterinary Diagnostic Company Sees No COVID-19 Cases in Pets
For questions or more information, contact Anna Wilkinson, Director of Communications.