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EU proposal to use animal fats in biofuel could lead to essential pet food ingredient shortages

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New proposals to use animal fats as a biofuel could negatively impact pet food supplies.

The European Parliament has proposed using Category 3 animal fats as bio fuel for the aviation and maritime industries, in an effort to ‘decarbonize’ transport with the EU green deal. The goal of the European Union’s Green Deal is to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, creating a sustainable economic model, affordable energy, a cleaner environment and smart transport.

The original initiative, called the ‘ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative’, proposed in 2021 that Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) was restricted to Category 1 and 2 animal fats (both of which cannot be used for pet food or animal feed due to its high risk). There are now plans underway to change these EU rules on bio-fuel, to include category 3 animal fats. Category 3 animal fats are edible by-products not intended for human consumption. These by-products contain essential fatty acids and energy to help pet’s function suitably, they are sustainable and difficult to replace.

The proposal is a bid to create sustainable transport, however there are worries that the legislation could lead to a serious shortage of essential ingredients needed for safe and nutritious pet food, as these raw products are already in short supply. Should a shortage occur, this move could increase the carbon footprint of pet food manufacturers due to the lack of better options. It could also consequently increase pet food prices during a cost of living crisis.

In a press release by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) on 7th September 2022, it was stated “we do not believe that valuable pet food ingredients belong in engines”. The press release urged policymakers to rethink this proposed change, as it may increase the risk of shortages that make it very difficult to feed pets adequately.

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