Food Science & Nutrition

Share this article:

Food Science & Nutrition

  • Join our comunity:

The difference between meat processing co-products and by-products and valorization prospects

By: , Posted on: September 10, 2018

Responding to the goals of sustainability requires the maximum utilization of all raw materials produced and integration of activities throughout all the production-to-consumption stages.

To maximize the conversion of raw materials into consumer products in the meat industry, efforts begin to improve welfare, then to reduce energy consumption of meat processing, to valorize co- and by-products as well as to improve packaging.

The increasing demand for protein coupled with calls for better use of natural resources have renewed interest on the recovery of value from co-products and secondary food production streams, providing an opportunity for the meat processing industry to fully explore the potential of these rich materials.

To this line, it is important to clarify the difference between the terms “by-product” and “co-product” particularly in the meat sector. The term by-product is used in the United States and many other countries, to describe parts of the carcass other than dressed meat. In addition, it is widely used for research purposes to describe different materials that have the prospects of being reutilized, recycled or reused for several purposes (e.g. human nutrition, energy production etc).

On the other hand, the European Union regulations specifically define animal by-products as “any part of the animal carcass or any material of animal origin not intended for human consumption”. This categorically excludes such materials from the human food chain and includes parts of the animal which may present a safety risk, inedible material, or material which the operator has decided to direct to purposes other than human consumption. This decision, once made, shall be irreversible (EC Regulation 1069/2009).

Three categories of animal by-products are defined in the regulations, according to the level of risk presented, category 1 being the highest risk category and including specific risk materials associated with transmittable diseases such as the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Category 2 is also considered high risk and includes materials such as infected or contaminated carcasses; category 3 is considered low risk, and includes for example inedible carcass materials, such as hides and skins, free from infection. However, frequently many edible products of the fifth quarter originating from healthy animals and suitable for human consumption are, for operational or commercial reasons, directed into category 3, excluding such items from the food chain.

Therefore, the term “co-product” is used to describe only materials that are intended for human consumption whereas the term “by-product” is used for all kind of materials (edible and non-edible) that are under evaluation for research purposes.

Sustainable Meat Production and Processing presents current solutions to promote industrial sustainability and best practices in meat production, from postharvest to consumption. The book acts as a guide for meat and animal scientists, technologists, engineers, professionals and producers. The 12 most trending topics of sustainable meat processing and meat by-products management are included, as are advances in ingredient and processing systems for meat products, techno-functional ingredients for meat products, protein recovery from meat processing by-products, applications of blood proteins, artificial meat production, possible uses of processed slaughter co-products, and environmental considerations.

Finally, the book covers the preferred technologies for sustainable meat production, natural antioxidants as additives in meat products, and facilitators and barriers for foods containing meat co-products.

Key Features

  • Analyzes the role of novel technologies for sustainable meat processing
  • Covers how to maintain sustainability and achieve high levels of meat quality and safety
  • Presents solutions to improve productivity and environmental sustainability
  • Takes a proteomic approach to characterize the biochemistry of meat quality defects

Visit and use discount code STC317 at checkout to pre-order a copy and save up to 30%!

Charis M. Galanakis is an interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry, and academia. He has established the “Food Waste Recovery” term and discipline with an ultimate goal to inspire related professionals to extract high added-value compounds from wasted by-products in all stages of food production (from agriculture to the consumer) and re-utilize them in the food chain. He is the coordinator of Food Waste Recovery Group of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria) and R&I director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece). He serves as an expert evaluator/monitor of international and regional funded programs and proposals (Horizon 2020 etc). He is an editorial board member of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International, and he has edited 12 books with Elsevier. See his full portfolio of books here. Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakisLinkedIn or ResearchGate.
Join the Food Waste Recovery Group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook. ORCID: 0000-0001-5194-0818 email:


Connect with us on social media and stay up to date on new articles

Food Science & Nutrition

The field of food science is highly interdisciplinary, spanning areas of chemistry, engineering, biology, and many more. Researchers in these areas achieve fundamental advances in our understanding of agriculture, nutrition, and food-borne illness, and develop new technologies, like food processing methods and packaging material. Against a backdrop of global issues of food supply and regulation, this important work is supported by Elsevier’s catalog of books, eBooks, and journals in food science, considered essential resources for students, instructors, and health professionals worldwide. Learn more about our Food Science and Nutrition books here.