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Bipartisan letter supports rendering in national recycling plan

A bipartisan group of senators have sent a letter to the EPA, USDA and FDA expressing concern that rendering was not included in the Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste (FLW) and Recycling Organics.

A bipartisan group of eight senators have sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf expressing concern that rendering was not included in the Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste (FLW) and Recycling Organics.

The North American Renderers Association (NARA) had previously expressed surprise and disappointment that rendering was not mentioned in the plan.

“For centuries, rendering has been at the forefront of a circular economy. We urge EPA, USDA and FDA to ensure that rendering is included as part of our nation’s food loss and waste reduction strategy. In addition, we request that EPA update its Wasted Food Scale to reflect the importance of rendering as a management strategy for wasted food,” the letter states. The senators went on to say “we are concerned that this draft strategy, with rendering omitted, will not accelerate progress towards the 2015 national goal to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. Instead, the strategy will only serve to incentivize other recycling technologies at the expense of the rendering industry.”

In comments submitted to the EPA in February, NARA encouraged the three agencies to take a technology neutral approach to avoid subsidizing newer technologies that collect raw materials traditionally used by the rendering industry.

The letter was signed by Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Alex Padilla (D-California) and Tina Smith (D-Minnesota).

NARA President and CEO Kent Swisher issued the following statement in response to the letter:

“NARA commends Sens. Marshall, Bennet and Moran, and this bipartisan group of senators for recognizing rendering’s longstanding role in reducing our overall food production footprint. The North American rendering industry has been upcycling otherwise lost and wasted food since the 1800s. We are the original recyclers and were a part of the circular economy even before the term was coined. We urge the EPA and USDA to acknowledge rendering’s important role in FLW and how it can assist in reaching their reduction targets. We don’t see a path to meet the stated goal of reducing food loss and waste in the U.S. by 50% by 2030 without rendering, the largest FLW recycler.”

NARA was joined in support for the letter by the American Feed Industry Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Association of American Feed Control Officials, Clean Fuels Alliance America, Meat Institute, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Turkey Federation, and US Poultry and Egg Association.

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