Slaughter By-Products

eOrganic author:

Dr. Jacquie Jacob Ph.D., University of Kentucky

NOTE: Mammalian and poultry byproducts can NOT be fed to organic poultry. Fishmeal, however, can be used. Before using any feed ingredient, including fishmeal, make sure that the ingredient is listed in your Organic System Plan and approved by your certifier.

NOTE: Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

There are several slaughter byproducts from the meat and poultry industries used in conventional feeds. These include:

  • Blood meal—Whole blood meal is produced by spray-drying at low temperatures the fresh whole blood from animal processing plants.
  • Feather meal—Feather meal is produced by hydrolyzing clean, non-decomposed feathers from slaughtered poultry. Hydrolysis is accomplished with steam and pressure, which breaks the keratinous bond and increases the digestibility of the protein in the feathers.
  • Meat meal—Meat meal is produced by cooking (rendering) byproducts from the animal slaughter industry and includes the edible parts such as organs, fetuses, and certain condemned carcasses.
  • Meat and bone meal—When bones are added to meat meal it becomes meat and bone meal.
  • Poultry byproduct—Similar to meat meal, but derived specifically from the poultry industry.

Fishmeal—Fishmeal may be used in organic poultry feeds to meet the nutritional requirements of the flock. Fishmeal is an excellent source of protein (usually about 60-70% protein), energy, minerals, and vitamins for the birds. Fishmeal is susceptible to oxidation and rancidity. Commercially, ethoxyquin is added to fishmeal to maintain quality, but ethoxyquin is not allowed in organic poultry feeds. Natural substances and substances on the National List (United States Department of Agriculture, National Organic Program [USDA-NOP],2000) for use in livestock feed, can be added to fishmeal as a preservative.

An example of a natural antioxidant is Naturox®, which contains:

  • A blend of tocopherols (vitamin E) and rosemary extract to counter the free radicals that start the oxidation process causing fishmeal to go rancid
  • Lecithin, a chelator that helps prevent the formation of free radicals

References and Citations

Published November 6, 2013

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.