The world of animal fats (part 1)

The world of animal fats (part 1)

Monthly bulletin on Oils & Fats by Aveno
11th February, 2020

Animal fats and oils are lipid material coming from animals. Just like vegetable oils & fats, animal oils are liquid at room temperature while fats are solid and both are composed of triglycerides. It is important to understand that most of these oils and fats are a by-product from the meat industry. This means that, except for butter and fish oil, there is no initial intention to produce these products.

Also, important to know are the different qualities (categories):
  • CAT 3 is the biggest part and fit for human FOOD and animal FEED
  • CAT 1 and 2 fats are from fallen stock or specific risk material and NOT FIT for FOOD nor FEED

There are oils and fats from LIVE ANIMALS

Milk, eggs, honey and beeswax are products of live animals just like wool is a fiber of animal origin. Beeswax (wax esters, fatty acids and hydrocarbons) is the substance bees use to build the cells in beehives and can be used as a lubricant, a waterproofing agent, a polish for wood and leather, for candle making, as an ingredient in cosmetics etc. It is edible and approved for food use as E901.

There is also wool grease or lanolin which is obtained from the water used to degrease the wool or from the wool itself by means of a solvent. Lanolin is purified wool grease and used in cosmetics and health care but can also be found in specialty lubricants, rust-preventive coatings and shoe polish.

Butter is a product obtained from mainly cowmilk.

There are oils and fats from dead MARINE ANIMALS

Oil from fish and marine mammals are extracted from the body or liver. Sea fish will store omega 3 rich fish oil in the liver (e.g. cod liver oil) or in the body (e.g. oily fish like salmon, halibut, herring etc.).

Spermaceti is a waxy substance from the spermaceti organ in the head of “whale like mammals” and was so called in the mistaken belief that it was the semen of the whale. The very fine and stable oil was used mainly in pharmaceutical ointments, cosmetic creams, for candles, pomades, textile finishing and lubrication of clocks and watches. A whale’s head can contain up to 3 tons of spermaceti!

There are oils and fats from DEAD land ANIMALS

Slaughtered animals fit for human consumption and fallen animals (e.g. dead from disease) and parts of slaughtered animals not fit for human consumption are all sources of animal fats. Before using any animal fat to cook with, it has to be rendered. This is heating the fat so that it melts and separating impurities. Most oil & fats come from rendered fat tissue obtained from livestock animals like pigs, chickens and cows. But there are other fats on the market as well coming from other animals like: goose fat, camel fat, sheep, goat and so on.

Pure single animal fat, like lard, can easily be obtained at a slaughterhouse dedicated to pigs. Same goes for beef tallow and poultry fats that are removed in the course of “dressing the carcass” (separating from the meat). But if the fats are extracted from mixed slaughter offal’s from butcher shops, including bones of all kinds of animals, the obtained product will be a mixed animal fat.

A special one is called degras which is a residue from tanning leather that is obtained either by pressing or by extraction with solvents and is used in technical applications.

About 50% of CAT 3 fat is multispecies fat because the butcher shops can’t keep their offal segregated by sort and there is no specific collection! There is reasonably pure poultry fat on the market because a lot of the processing is done separately from other animals. Also lard, pig fats and pigskin fats can be very pure. And eventually beef tallow coming from slaughterhouses (premier jus, dripping of beef tallow etc.).

Next time will dive into the market and look at production numbers and market trends.

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Unless otherwise mentioned the crude oil values quoted in these documents are prices landed in EU without import duties, handling, storage, financing, refining, packing, transport or any other cost related to bring the product to market. They are used as market trend illustration. Substitution of oils is possible but different oils have different fatty acid profiles and are not all interchangeable for all applications. One can make biodiesel from all oils and fats but one cannot make mayonnaise from coconut oil. This document is exclusively for you and does not carry any right of publication or disclosure. This document or any of its contents may not be distributed, reproduced, or used for any other purpose without the prior written consent of AVENO. The information reflects prevailing market conditions and our present judgement, which may be subject to change. It is based on public information and opinions which come from sources believed to be reliable; however, AVENO doesn’t guarantee the correctness or completeness. This document does not constitute an offer, invitation, or recommendation and may not be understood, as an advice. This document is one of a series of publications undertaken by AVENO and aims at informing broadly a targeted audience about the edible oils & fats market. AVENO’s goal is to keep this information timely and accurate however AVENO accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to the given information.

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