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Poor Offal Treatment Costs Farmers Million

13 September 2010

EBLEX

UK - Beef and sheep producers have a key role to play in maximising the value of fifth quarter products and helping to maximise carcase value, a unique industry conference has heard.

The EBLEX event, which focused on the wide range of initiatives that are taking place throughout the food chain to cut waste and aid whole carcase utilisation, was told more needs to be done to push the message that conditions like liver fluke could be costing English beef and sheep producers as much as £30 per head in lost product and productivity, and leading to millions in lost revenue to the supply chain as a whole.

Dr Phil Hadley, EBLEX Southern Senior Manager, said this was not just through lost product with livers affected by fluke being thrown away, but that those animals affected by fluke - and tennicolis in sheep - did not perform as well as healthy animals.

"This loss of productivity could be as much as £25 to £30 per cattle case due to an extended finishing time, or more than £7 million to the industry in total," he said.

"Industry needs to push this message much more strongly to producers, as well as cutting the volume of offal that is currently waste to get to a more profitable position."

Welcoming more than 110 delegates at the Fifth Quarter: Go Green for More profit conference, run by EBLEX and BPEX in Warwickshire this week, EBLEX chairman John Cross said the opportunities for producers and processors to cut waste while increasing saleable product was significant.

"We have the challenge of driving out waste and mitigating our climate change footprint by making the most of fifth quarter opportunities and selling a greater percentage of the animal," said Mr Cross.

"Developments are always slower than one would like but we are making significant progress in this area. There are, however, challenges to farmers, processors and exporters in achieving success."

Among the speakers at the day-long event was Tristram Stuart, author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, and recently seen as a consultant on the TV show Great British Waste Menu, Dr Francesco Javier Dominguez Orive, head of strategy at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) , and Stephen Woodgate, chief executive of the Foodchain and Biomass Renewables Association (FABRA).

During his talk, Mr Stuart said making use of fifth quarter products was a simple and effective way to significantly mitigate the environmental impact of livestock, particularly using some waste products as feed.

"The meat industry is under fire from environmentalists because it is very resource intensive. Offal is currently one of the elements of waste. The solution is relatively simple. It is nothing more complicated that eating delicious food using the product you already have to maximise potential," said Mr Stuart.

"Efficiency in the use of the carcase and in environmental feeds is the way to win the debate."

The fifth quarter conference, also supported by FABRA, has been run for the past four years but this year's event saw a significant expansion in numbers, reflecting the growing interest in reducing waste and making best use of the whole carcase.

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