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Measuring Footprint of Irish Beef Processing

14 May 2012
BordBia

IRELAND - Bord Bia has developed a footprint model to assess the greenhouse gas emissions released from the processing of beef, according to Jim O’Toole, Director Meat and Livestock Division, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board.

The model has been designed to produce certifiable footprint data for a kilogramme of compensated carcase meat.

The model was submitted to the Carbon Trust and it has recently been accepted as an accredited model to PAS2050.

The beef processing model calculates the emissions released as a result of the different processes taking place in two distinct stages; the abattoir and the boning hall, up to the point that the processed beef is ready for dispatch.

Having already developed a Beef Farm footprinting model, it is now possible to footprint the processing of beef in order to calculate the footprint of 1kg of packed “compensated carcase” meat.

There are a large number of inputs (e.g. energy, carcases), co-products (e.g. hides, offal) and waste items throughout processing at both the abattoir and boning hall. Each processing step was defined in terms of the inputs, outputs and co-products generated.

The bulk of emissions from both the abattoir and the boning hall arise from electricity consumption.

In developing the model, electricity consumption at different stages was measured to capture the proportion of emissions occurring along at each point.

Economic allocation was used to distribute emissions between meat and its co-products.

The next step is for Bord Bia to collect data from beef processors interested in participating to provide more complete data sets.

This will allow emissions specific to their operations to be measured and areas for potential further improvements identified.

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