Meat processors call for clearance for tallow and MBM to be burned

Scottish meat processors are demanding that the government give clearance for tallow and meat and bone meal to be allowed to join the global biofuel revolution.

"The burning of tallow and meat and bone meal for environmentally friendly energy generation has remained embroiled in EU legislation for far too long," said Allan Jess, president of the Scottish Meat Wholesalers Association.

"The definition of both these items as 'waste' rather than 'products' has denied the renewable energy sector access to a ready supply of raw materials and removed valuable by-product income from the livestock chain.

"Given that the scientific case for preventing these items from being burnt in this way no longer exists, it's surely time to secure a breakthrough for both products."

Jess, speaking after a meeting of the Association's Executive in Perth, also highlighted the fact that while the livestock sector was missing out on potential energy-based income, the cereals sector appeared to be storming ahead.

"The latest EC Agri-trade Policy report included a biofuels review in which it was forecast that global maize prices were likely to rise by 50% and wheat prices by 40%, both on the back of increased biofuel demands," he said.

"This is obviously welcome news for the arable sector but less encouraging for those operating grain-based livestock businesses, an area of production which is already producing ominous signs of reduction in the USA. In addition, and closer to home, sales of grass seed in some parts of Scotland this year are reported to be substantially below normal, presumably indicating a reduction in the undersowing of arable crops for subsequent grazing. This is hardly an encouraging move in relation to future livestock production.

"With cereal growers gaining at present, and good luck to them, an increased focus on maximising livestock returns is surely in order. Part of such a focus must include getting the tallow and meat and bone meal issue resolved.

"In that context, SAMW will be seeking to build on the new Scottish administration's commitment to work in partnership with businesses to the benefit of the Scottish economy. For us, one very real application of such commitment would be the delivery of early progress on the biofuel-based burning of tallow and meat and bone meal."

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