Below you will find the answers to many questions that are asked with respect to animal proteins and how they are used.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for here, please contact EAPA send your question. We will do our best to provide you with an answer.


What quantity is theoretically available of different types of slaughter by-products from farm animals for aqua feeds?

Why should we use spray-dried blood products in fish feed?

Does the use of haemoglobin powder or blood meal in fish feed affect the health of the fish?

Oily fish such as salmon are known for their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Does the use of blood meal in fish feed affect nutritional qualities such as omega 3 fatty acid content in the fish?

How long has blood meal been used in fish feed?

Why do we need more than fishmeal and fish oil to feed fish in aquaculture?

Do we have to fear BSE due to using blood meal in fish feed?

Can you compare the use of blood with the use of milk?

What types of blood are used to produce blood meal for fish feed?

How do blood processing plants meet the quality demands?

Is the use of animal proteins successful in shrimp production?

Is there a risk of dioxin contamination in blood products?

Have prepared blood products ever been the source of disease?

Blood is a transmitter of infectious diseases. How do you explain that spray dried plasma used in feed has never been reported to contaminate animals?

Can the use of plasma proteins in feed be considered as a kind of cannibalism?

Why were plasma and other derivates from blood forbidden as feed ingredients in the European Union if they are safe products? 

Where can I find product specifications?

What is the difference between blood products and blood meal?

Will the use of blood products in animal feed jeopardise current controls on animal proteins?

What about the so called cannibalism restriction?

What about plasma derived from human grade blood from slaughtered cows?

Is contamination of non-ruminant blood products with ruminant blood products possible?

Is it possible to prepare feeds with blood products in establishments where feeds for ruminants are prepared?

Is it possible for home compounders to use blood products? 

Is it possible to use feeds containing blood products on farms where ruminants are also kept?

Are labelling, packaging and transport measures the same for products for piglet feeds and fish feeds?

Is a written agreement needed to export blood products or feeding stuffs containing these products, to third countries?

Why do we not simply dispose of blood from slaughtered animals?

You are feeding pig to pigs. Isn’t that cannibalism?

Are you going to cause a pig equivalent to BSE (mad cow disease)?

If you cause mad pig disease, won’t humans start getting another version of CJD?

If you take the blood from a pig with pre-clinical foot & mouth disease or SVD, won’t you infect entire herds?

Is it worth the risk of passing on infections, just to save a few cents in production?

Are you exposing the public to risks of new diseases just so greedy farmers can get more money?

Can you be certain the pigs are disease free?

Does mixing the blood of many animals increase risks?

If these ingredients are so nutritious, it must be vulnerable to fungi and bacteria, and insects. Does that mean it is treated with preservatives and what effect do they have on palatability and nutritional value?

Slaughterhouses can be busy chaotic places with lots of temporary labour. How can you be sure that slaughter waste does not contaminate the blood as it is collected?


Why should we use spray-dried blood products in fish feed?
Spray-dried haemoglobin powder and blood meal are characterized by a high protein content respectively 90 and 87%. These products are used in fish feed to ensure that fish get a highly digestible source of protein as well as essential amino acids, such as leucine, lysine, valine, tryptophane and histidine. These amino acids contribute to better balanced diets, especially with the increasing use of plant proteins to supplement limited supplies of fishmeal and fish oils.

The nutritional value of feed formulations is important for optimal fish growth and to avoid health problems related to nutritional deficiencies.

The blood products are environmentally friendly and very safe feed ingredients in fish feed. They contain extremely low levels of phosphorus — less than 0.2% — and have virtually no unwanted substances such as heavy metals and dioxins. The content of these unwanted substances is very much lower than that of other traditional feed sources such as fishmeal made from fish caught in the open sea.

Haemoglobin powder and blood meal are sustainable sources of protein, which effectively reduce the pressure on other raw materials traditionally used in the fish feed industry.
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Does the use of haemoglobin powder or blood meal in fish feed affect the health of the fish?
The use of animal proteins such as haemoglobin power or blood meal actually improves the health of fish. A protein-rich feed protects the fish from various kinds of diseases. Practical experiences show that feed for salmon and trout reduce the number of fish suffering from the eye disease cataract. The nutritional value contributes to optimal fish growth and avoids health problems related to nutritional deficiencies.
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Oily fish such as salmon are known for their high omega-3 fatty acid content. Does the use of blood meal in fish feed affect nutritional qualities such as omega 3 fatty acid content in the fish?
Blood products on their own would not provide the omega-3 fatty acids. These come from the fishmeal and fish oil raw materials in the fish diet but the amount of these raw materials available world wide will not increase. The products bring valuable nutrition and are excellent supplementary raw materials that can extend the availability of fishmeal and fish oil for use in fish feed. The amounts of these raw materials used over the full production cycle of oily fish such as salmon can be reduced, if suitable supplements are used, without detracting from the omega-3 fatty acid benefits they offer.

Proteins from blood products are an alternative for the protein replacement in fishmeal. Blood products hardly contain any fatty acids, nor saturated or unsaturated.

Blood products with the highest nutritional value are generally those that have been spray dried. They are a good source of the essential amino acids histidine, leucine and lysine and others and are also a rich dietary source of iron, biotin and to a lesser extent B-vitamins.
Blood products can be used in combination with other dietary feed ingredient sources with complementary amino acid profiles such as vegetable oils.
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How long has blood meal been used in fish feed?
Blood meal products have been successfully used in compound fish feed since the early seventies with no reported negative effects on the health or wellbeing of the fish or of consumers.
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Why do we need more than fishmeal and fish oil to feed fish in aquaculture?
Aquaculture is expanding rapidly in order to meet the growing demand for fish worldwide.

Concerns have been raised considering the long-term sustainability and ethics of using potentially food-grade fishery resources for animal feeding rather than for direct human consumption.

The aquafeed (fish and shrimp feed) industry is currently highly dependent upon fishmeal and fish oil. The supply cannot be increased to meet the demand. The need for alternative and sustainable sources of dietary protein to supplement these raw materials is growing.
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Do we have to fear BSE due to using blood meal in fish feed?
BSE in 2000 resulted in a total ban in Europe on the use of processed animal protein for animals bred for the production of food. Following a thorough risk evaluation the legislation is now being amended. The result is that porcine blood meal and procine (non ruminant) blood products may be used in fish feed and non ruminant farm anmials feed respectively in accordance with European Commission Regulation (EC) No 1234/2003 + 1292/2005.

Pigs do not suffer from BSE. In addition, blood has never been reported to be infective in naturally occurring BSE. Blood, like milk, is considered a low risk material with respect to BSE (Directive 96/449 or 97/582).
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Can you compare the use of blood with the use of milk?
The 2005 annual O.I.E. (Office International des Epizooties/The world organisation for animal health) meeting reconfirmed that blood is to be placed in the same category as milk. Blood and blood products are not considered a risk in the transmission of BSE/TSE. Therefore the OIE recommends no restrictions related with the trade of bovine blood products, independently the BSE status of the country of origin.
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What types of blood are used to produce blood meal for fish feed? The haemoglobin powder and blood meal used in fish feed are based on pure non ruminant blood originating from healthy veterinary-approved animals. Following European Union regulations the blood must be kept within cooled storage and processed within 24 hours from collection at the slaughterhouses.

The production facilities are also subject to public veterinary inspection on a daily basis.

ISO 9001:2000 certified quality control system is an important part of the quality assurance programme, implemented from the handling of raw materials to delivery of the finished products.
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How do blood processing plants meet the quality demands?
The plants that process the various blood products meet many quality standards. They believe this is essential for building long term business relationships with their customers. In order to guarantee safe products they meet standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and HACCP.

Their safe, traceable and definitive final products are marketed to pharmaceutical, food, petfood and animal feed producers inside and outside Europe.
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Is the use of animal proteins successful in shrimp production?
The production of shrimp worldwide is intensifying, moving from extensive culture to semi-extensive and intensive production systems that require feed. In order to meet this growing demand for feed in this form of aquaculture, in 1997 the University of Gent investigated the replacement of fishmeal by animal proteins. Local trials performed at Asian Universities and feed mills in the years after confirmed the promising results of earlier published trials.
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Is there a risk of dioxin contamination in blood products?
Dioxins are chemical substances that accumulate in fat. The content of fat in plasma proteins  is lower than 0.3%. Many analyses performed plasma samples have never shown detectable amounts of dioxins. The same applies to haemoglobin/blood meal products.
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Have prepared blood products ever been the source of disease?
No, during more than 20 years of using spray dried blood products as feed ingredients there has never been an instance where they have communicated a disease.
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Blood is a transmitter of infectious diseases. How do you explain that spray dried plasma used in feed has never been reported to contaminate animals?
Fresh blood can be a transmitter of infectious diseases. However, by contrast with fresh blood, spray dried plasma and blood derivatives come from healthy animals that have passed veterinary inspection.

Apart from that, they are heat-treated products derived from multiple animal donors and this means that extensive dilution has taken place. Then a proven heat-treatment with two main effects, heat inactivation and drying, has been applied to the blood derivatives to inactivate pathogen microorganism (viruses and bacteria). Therefore it is safe.
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Can the use of plasma proteins in feed be considered as a kind of cannibalism?
The European Union Scientific Steering Committee stated in 1999 that "Recycling animal co-products processed into basic biochemical substances as fat and protein is recognized as an effective way to re-use valuable materials. When an animal is discomposed of this material it is not anymore recognized as being interspecies recycling." Blood therefore has the same status as milk.
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Why were plasma and other derivates from blood forbidden as feed ingredients in the European Union if they are safe products?
The decision 2000/766/CE was a protection measure with respect to BSE and a precautionary political decision.

It was a response to the fact that there were no analytical methods available that could identify the type of animal proteins and the species of origin in the feed. It was a temporary and provisional decision, aimed at avoiding problems that might come from the accidental mixing of feed destined for farm animals such as pigs and poultry and those destined for ruminants such as cattle.

It was fundamentally a political decision, it was not based on scientific data and created the rather  absurd situation that products approved for human consumption were prohibited for the production of animal feed.

With the approval Regulation 1774/2002/CD, which lays down health rules concerning animal by-products not intended for human consumption, an important step was taken in lifting the prohibition of use of animal proteins. Regulation 1292/2005 permits the use of porcine (non ruminant) blood products in non ruminatnt farm animal feedstuff and porcine blood meal in fish feed.
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Where can I find product specifications?
All information about products and specifications can be provided by EAPA members.

See EAPA-members at this website.
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What is the difference between blood products and blood meal?
Non ruminant blood products (e.g. plasma protein, haemoglobin protein) are permitted in diets for all non-ruminant farm animals, whereas non-ruminant blood meal can only be used in feeds for fish.

Blood products are only produced out of ante- and post-mortem (before and after slaughter) inspected blood. Blood meal is produced out of ante-mortem inspected blood. A clear definition of blood products can be found in the Annex 1 of Regulation (EC) No.1774/2002.
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Will the use of blood products in animal feed jeopardise current controls on animal proteins?
No, because blood is none risk material and is considered as safe tissue to respect to TSE. The ban introduced in 2001 was aimed to ban risk material (bovine meat and bones meal mainly) in the feedstuff of farm animals. Due to the lack of analytical methods at that time to differentiate between animal proteins and species of origin was decided to temporarily ban most of the animal proteins. Today it is well known that for some animal proteins like blood derivatives there are enough analytical methodes available that allow the indentificaion of blood proteins from other animal proteins. They also allow the identification of the specie of origin, allowing the control of aimal feedstuff without jeopardise the use of other animal proteins presently banned.
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What about the so called cannibalism restriction?
Blood products are excluded from the definition of processed animal proteins (PAP) as are other special proteins: milk, egg, gelatine etc. and are therefore not governed by the species-to-species ban.
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What about plasma derived from human grade blood from slaughtered cows?
Only non-ruminant blood products are allowed presently to non ruminant farm animals, but bovine plasma is allowed in other food products like pet food or mink.The OIE has indicated that bovine blood is considered as a safe ingredient as milk, therefore no risk factors will apply to the use of bovine blood from healthy animals for the uses presently permitted.
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Is contamination of non-ruminant blood products with ruminant blood products possible?
No, the slaughtering of non-ruminants is kept separate from the slaughtering of ruminants.

The processing of non-ruminant blood takes place in a closed system, in an establishment exclusively processing non-ruminant blood or at least in physically separate processing equipment. Further, the finished products are kept strictly separate from ruminant products.
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Is it possible to prepare feeds with blood products in establishments where feeds for ruminants are prepared?
Yes,

these establishments need an authorization from the competent
authorities, in fact all establishments using blood products need an authorization;

bulk and packaged feeds for ruminants need to be manufactured in physically separate facilities;

feeds for ruminants need to be kept separate from blood products and from feeds containing these blood products during storage, transport and packaging;

records of purchasing and use of blood products and the sales of feeds
containing such products need to be kept available for at least five years.
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Is it possible for home compounders to use blood products?
Yes,they have to be registered by the competent authority,

keep only non-ruminants
produce feed only for use on the same holding
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Is it possible to use feeds containing blood products on farms where ruminants are also kept?
Yes, the competent authority may permit this, when it is satisfied that on-farm measures are implemented to prevent these feeds being fed to ruminants.
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Are labelling, packaging and transport measures the same for products for piglet feeds and fish feeds?
Yes. Additionally each consignment of fishmeal has to be checked by microscopy before release.
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Is a written agreement needed to export blood products or feeding stuffs containing these products, to third countries?
No, these agreements are only necessary for processed animal proteins. Following the definitions of Annex 2 of the EU/1774/2002, blood products are not included in the definition of processed animal proteins. Further, non-ruminant blood products are now allowed in non-ruminants feeds.
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Why do we not simply dispose of blood from slaughtered animals?
Blood is a valuable source of nutrients. It has a very high protein content, contains essential amino acids and has vitamins, minerals and sugars.  Blood is one of the products of the slaughterhouse and it can be readily processed into a high-quality feed ingredient or for use by the food processing industry and in pharmaceuticals. Rather than dispose of the blood in what would be a wasteful and expensive process to avoid environmental pollution, it is a readily available and sustainable resource.
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What quantity is theoretically available of different types of slaughter by-products from farm animals for aquafeeds?

The question of availability for aqua-feed purposes of animal proteins from slaughter by-products in the EU cannot be given by an unequivocal answer. 

 

Availability may strongly vary with quality and properties requirements (such as protein content, digestibility and presence of other non-proteins etc.). Also with changing legal constraints, such as the current limitation on the use of bovine based proteins.

The total quantity of animal slaughter by-products in the EU amounts to 9 million tons of which roughly 50% are fats and greases. The remaining 4.5 million tons are considered to be the ultimate gross protein potential that is currently incinerated, used as fertiliser, biomass or in food, pet-food or feed-applications.

 

For feed applications, EFPRA (the European Renderers Federation) statistics show an amount of 720.000 tons per annum being produced in the EU. This quantity consists of a variety of meals and other products.

Roughly the same amount is currently consumed into pet foods. This is however speculative given the relatively high value in the pet food applications. 

 

At this moment the potential for aqua feeds is 

Spray-dried red cells and blood meal                    40.000 tons

General blood meal                                             50.000 tons

Hydrolysed Feather meal                                  150.000 tons

Collagen proteins from gelatine                            10.000 tons

Total                                                               250.000 tons

 

All of the above components can grow substantially (50-100%) taking a larger bite out of the above potential number. The game the by-products industry is in together with the aqua feed companies, is to convert as much of the potential amount into useful high quality ingredients to meet the future demand of a highly successful aquaculture sector. This still requires a lot of development effort.

After the openings in EU legislation for aqua in September 2004 no further developments on the legal side have occurred. It is worthwhile to also consider more openings for bovine origin proteins. Given the right feedsafety precautions there is no fundamental argument against these. This will however take some years in the Brussels administration.

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You are feeding pig to pigs. Isn’t that cannibalism?
Cannibalism would involve feeding the flesh of the pig. Here it is only a product derived from purified blood. Because of the nature of blood, it is equivalent to when a piglet sucks milk from the sow. Blood products provide similar rich nutrition and protection against infections.

This question was answered by the EU Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) in September 1999, when indicated. “Recycling on animal co-product processed into basic biochemical substances as fat and proteins are recognised as an effective way of re-use valuable materials. When an animal is discomposed to these materials it is not anymore recognised as being interspecies recycling”
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Are you going to cause a pig equivalent to BSE (mad cow disease)?
BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is one of a group of diseases known as TSEs (transmissible spongiform encaphalopathies). These are not transmitted in either milk or blood, or in other animal products such as eggs and gelatin. Further information can be found in EU directive 999/2001.
The OIE in his Annual Meeting in 2006, updated the Terrestrial Animal Health Code in its chapter of BSE to include that “ When authorising import or transit of the following commodities and any products made from these commodities and containing no other tissues from cattle, Veterinary Administrations should not require any BSE related conditions, regardless of the BSE risk status of the cattle population of the exporting country, zone or compartment:
h) blood and blood by-products, from cattle which were not subjected to a stunning process, prior to slaughter, with a device injecting compressed air or gas into the cranial cavity, or to a pithing process.”
This up-dated from OIE clearly indicated that blood is not an infective tissue for BSE, and can be regarded as safe as milk.

In addition, pigs, like poultry, are not susceptible to natural infections of TSE as has been recognised by researchers.

Finally, the blood produced by EAPA members is sourced in healthy animals from authorised slaughterhouses under the control of official vets.

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If you cause mad pig disease, won’t humans start getting another version of CJD?
See the answer to question 2. Blood products do not transmit this form of disease and blood products from EAPA members are derived from healthy animals that have been inspected both ante- and post mortem.
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If you take the blood from a pig with pre-clinical foot & mouth disease or SVD, won’t you infect entire herds?
No. To begin with, only blood from healthy animals that have been inspected both pre- and post mortem is used. Secondly, the 'pooling' effect of mixing the blood of hundreds of healthy animals means if there were any viruses present, they would be diluted far beyond infection levels. Finally, the production process of these blood products virtually eliminates any possible risk of any such infection remaining viable.

The research bibliography available indicated that the manufacturing of spray-dried porcine plasma is a safe ingredient. Polo et al. (2005) demonstrate the absence of seroconversion to porcine parvovirus (probably the most resistant heat virus) from pigs fed with high dosis of porcine plasma. Also they demonstrate the efficacy of spray-drying system to inactive other viruses of concern in swine industry (PRRS, Aujezsky). Norfrarias et al. (2006) also demonstrate the absence of seroconversion to PCV2 of pigs fed with SDPP and recently Pujols et al (2007) demonstrated the efficacy of the spray-drying process to inactivate SVD.

In addition, there is not a single data that guilt SDPP to cause any disease in animal after 20 years to be extensively used worldwide, on the contrary the research evidences indicated the benefit of using SDPP to reduce or prevent the effects of serious diseases in pigs and other farm animals.

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Is it worth the risk of passing on infections, just to save a few cents in production?
To begin with, we do not believe there is any risk of passing on infections and evidence from over 20 years of research and practical experience supports this belief. Additionally, the blood products are not used to save money. They provide piglets with balanced, rich nutrition and protection against infections, which promotes their health and vigour. It is good for animal welfare and for the productivity of the herd, without resorting to antibiotics or other growth promoters. This means they are a positive contribution both to herd and human health.
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Are you exposing the public to risks of new diseases just so greedy farmers can get more money?
No. In fact farmers are investing more money in their piglets by feeding them relatively expensive ingredients such as plasma powder. In the short term they spend more, but gain it back through the improved vigour of their herds and fewer health problems around the sensitive weaning period. See also the answer to question 5.

We should remember again that plasma is sourced exclusively from healthy animals which whole carcasses had been declared fit for human consumption, therefore any risk is expected from such source of animals.

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Can you be certain the pigs are disease free?
The blood is collected at modern, well run slaughterhouses and the pigs are always inspected for disease before slaughter and again afterwards. The processing steps then virtually eliminate what is already a minimal chance of viruses, bacteria or other infectious agents being present. We know that 100% guarantees do not exist, but 20 years of experience and research with blood products in piglet feed have never identified any disease risk for piglets or humans. These have been the reasons why blood products are one of the few animal origin ingredients that are permitted to be fed to non ruminant farm animals.
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Does mixing the blood of many animals increase risks?
No. In fact it reduces any theoretical risk by dilution of any potential undesirable content. This risk is extremely small because all the animals are checked before and after they are slaughtered. So the blood is in principle healthy. The processing steps then add significantly to the safety factor. Mixing the blood provides sufficient quantities for the blood products to be produced in an economic manner while maintaining the highest safety standards.

For most of bacterial and viruses diseases, is necessary to have a minimal infection doses that vary for each pathogen. The high dilution of the incoming blood reduces effectively the risk for these pathogens to achieve this minimal infection doses.

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If these ingredients are so nutritious, it must be vulnerable to fungi and bacteria, and insects. Does that mean it is treated with preservatives and what effect do they have on palatability and nutritional value?
No the blood products are stabilised only by decreasing the moisture content below 10%. Due to the nature of blood products (low in fat), no preservatives nor anti oxidants are needed.
In addition, the liquid blood is immediately refrigerated after being obtained from the animals and is processed to their final dehydrated products without any delay to warrantee that not pathogens are allowed to growth.   After spray-drying, the low water activity of dehydrated blood products avoid the growing of bacteria and fungi as previously indicated.

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Slaughterhouses can be busy chaotic places with lots of temporary labour. How can you be sure that slaughter waste does not contaminate the blood as it is collected?
The blood collection systems are well designed, to remove the chance for contamination. They are managed by the company that will process the blood, in close co-operation with the slaughterhouse and local veterinarians.
In addition, the slaughter process take part in a completely separate area from the evisceration, therefore not cross contamination of blood with other tissues can be expected.

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