What are animal byproducts?

Nov 20, 2015

Animal byproducts, or offal, may not make up the real “heart” of the U.S. meat industry, given that the multiple uses for inedible animal byproducts are not often considered. And, variety meat dishes, such as beef tongue or pig heart, do not typically grace Americans’ dinner tables. Nonetheless, offal derived from beef and pork slaughter contributes to the bottom line of the U.S. meat industry. During 2001-10, edible animal byproducts (byproducts that do not include hides and other inedibles) averaged 23-35 percent of the volume of U.S. pork and beef/veal exports and 14-19 percent of the value.

Animal byproducts include all parts of a live animal that are not part of the dressed carcass. Produced jointly in the process of harvesting meat from the animal, byproducts constitute an estimated 30 percent of the live weight of hogs and about 44 percent of the live weight of cattle.

By-products from cattle and other species are routinely used in a variety of ways. Textile, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and other industries are all able to find a functional use for animal by-products. Outputs derived from items that may otherwise be disposed of include, but certainly are not limited to: leather and other textiles, pet food, animal feed, soap, personal care products, industrial lubricants, biodiesel fuel and medicines.

 Find out more from AMSA member Dale Woerner, Ph.D.,Colorado State University. 

•    National Renderers Association
•    Where’s the (Not) Meat? Byproducts From Beef and Pork Production Economic Research Service/USDA, November 201

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