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Avian Influenza: Sterilization Through High-Shear Dry Extrusion

The recent avian influenza outbreak in Iowa and Minnesota has raised public and industry concerns around facility bio-security and the proper care and disposal of animal carcasses.  In this week’s blog, I will discuss the challenges these operations face to properly sterilize and dispose of the carcasses and why the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine issued no objection letters to using high-shear dry extrusion as a method to properly sterilize and process them into reusable ingredients.

Many operations in the Midwest are currently faced with the increased need to depopulate their infected flock by incinerating, burying and landfill application of the carcasses as their primary means of disposal.  Financially speaking, they are experiencing a loss in revenues from the value of the depopulation and total cost of disposal.

Over 20 years ago, we were challenged by the question “Can Insta-Pro extruders kill viruses in mortalities and by-products to provide a cost-efficient alternative method to current practices?”  Through a collaboration with Dr. Don Reynolds from the Iowa State University Veterinary Medicine Research Institute trials carried out were to showcase that high shear dry extrusion kills viruses.  The trial was conducted by extruding turkey carcasses that had a “cocktail of pathogens” added to them.  Included in this “cocktail” were resilient viruses, salmonella and coccidia.  Dr. Reynolds aseptically collected the pre & post extruded material for the determination of its microbiological quality.  Subsquently, he conducted feeding trials.  Results showed  high shear extrusion is an effective alternative method to the outdated disposal methods that unfortunately, are still being used today.

Based off of this scientific research and the executed trials conducted by Dr Reynolds, in 1996 the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine provided no objection letters for sterilization by high shear dry extrusion for swine and poultry.  Since then, I have presented a summary of trials conducted by other universities where several feeding trials using the extruded by-products, including mortality, were fed safely to animals without incident.  Those extruded by-products performed better than conventionally rendered by-products.  The trials left no doubt about the effectiveness of high shear dry extrusion in situations such as the current outbreak of the avian influenza.

The extrusion of by-products is not limited to the poultry industry; it can be used in the food and the feed industry to process plate residual food from restaurants, recycle feed or to process fish by-products into high quality feed ingredients that are safe to feed.  This reduces environmental concern and adds revenues from otherwise under-utilized secondary resources.  We have not seen many companies in the United States adopting such a technology while other countries have had it for years.

Isn’t it time to include high shear dry extrusion recycling as an environmental and nutritional solution?

Contact us to learn more about by-product processing and high-shear dry extrusion.