Waste Not Want Not

Frequently, we read articles and press releases titled or use the proverb; “Waste Not Want Not”. Some of those articles deal with the global issue of food waste in general, or a specific segment of the industry such as the poultry industry. A good example is the article in, November 1, 2013 by Mark Clements titled “Waste not Want not. Poultry fares well in food waste dilemma


For me, the first time I heard the expression “Waste Not Want Not” was in the 1990’s from Dr. Joe Vandepopulier, a professor of poultry nutrition (retired now) at the University of Missouri. This distinguished professor was passionate about finding an environmental solution to the under-utilized secondary resource of the poultry industry. We collaborated with the University in co-extruding variety of poultry by-products for two Ph.D. students.

The environmental issues related to the impact of some of the disposal methods was a major concern that led the government and its agencies to establish stringent regulations that restrict options such as incineration, burial, and land fill applications.

Although high shear co-extrusion of by-products technology proved to be a viable option then in harvesting highly digestible nutrients from the resulting ingredient, the commodity prices of conventional ingredient and their abundance (unlike the current trend), made it difficult in some cases to consider an investment in such an option as a profit center.

Dr. Vandepopuliere preached to the industry to “Waste Not and Want Not” through the options of recycling those by-products as high quality ingredients even if the project turned out to be a cost center rather than a profit center.

There has been a renewed interest by the global community to focus on food waste in contrast to the dwindling resources ( Nov .2013  Fish meal prices to remain prohibitively high for pig, poultry feeds) (Feedstuff:  October 29, 2012 | Issue 45 | Volume 84 ), (World Hunger World Food Prize, 2012), or price trends for agriculture and fish commodities (Oilseed & Grain Summit, Oct.21-23,2013).

We noticed a renewed surge from the market place here in the United States and abroad to consider the high shear extrusion technology to manufacture alternative ingredients from locally available resources due to the above mentioned factors.

You may have noticed that, I tend to avoid the use of the word “Waste” as it implies no value or inferior quality. The public at large is not receptive to utilizing anything termed waste, by-products or feed grade, to mention a few.

It is prudent for the various experts and committees in the food and feed industry to find alternative description for such valuable resources. The Association of American Control officials (AAFCO) should replace definitions contain the words “waste” or “by-products” with more appealing and accurate descriptive terms; such as food residues replacing “restaurant food waste” and “processed poultry parts” replacing “poultry by-product meal.”

I am sure that there is much better descriptive terminology that can be used as long as we rid of the negative connotation for describing otherwise valuable nutrients resources.


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