Turning useless eggs into valuable feed ingredients

Eggs which are unsuitable for either consumption or hatching, do not necessarily have to be rendered. Netherlands based company Schaffelaarbos turns these into a valuable ingredients for animal feed production.

Eggs are eggs, either used for human consumption, or for reproduction. It is a simple definition, but just true. In commercial table egg production, eggs are collected, candled, graded and packed. In the past, cracked eggs were used for bakery purposes. However, due to strict legislation in many developed countries like in the EU, this is no longer permitted. Consequently, cracked eggs are considered offal, rather than a valuable by-product.

The same holds true for hatching eggs. Cracked and too small ones, as well as double yolks, are unsuitable for hatching. And think about hatching eggs for layer production. Currently, male chicks are still culled after hatching. However, in the not too far away future, it is expected that sex of the chick can be determined in the egg already, in an early stage of hatching. Again, half of the hatching eggs will then turn into offal.

Circular production

However, all of this offal, or so called “Category 3” eggs can yet be turned into valuable ingredient for animal feed. This is precisely what Netherlands based company Schaffelaarbos does.

They separate these Cat. 3 eggs into new products for animal nutrition. “Thus, we play an important role and contribute to circular poultry production”, says managing director Mathieu Woltring of Schaffelaarbos.

The advantage for egg packing stations and commercial hatcheries is that they save on expenses for rendering. On the other hand, Schaffelaarbos valorises these products into useful feed ingredients.

Consequently, this is a win-win situation for both parties.

Woltring: “We collect these by-products from hatcheries and egg packing stations across Europe. For that purpose we have our own truck fleet. We install our equipment at the facilities, hatcheries and packing stations”.

Shell and fluid

“Once the eggs arrive in our plant in the village of Barneveld, processing starts”, Mathieu Woltring continues. “In essence we separate the eggs into a solid (shell) and a fluid fraction. Shell is a valuable calcium source, whereas the fluid contains valuable proteins and fatty acids. We dry the fluid into egg powder and either supply it in this shape, or further process it into pellet or crumb, depending on the demands of our customers. Also the shells are converted into valuable ingredients with feed and non-food applications.

The processing in our plant is strictly monitored by the “Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority” (NVWA). Moreover, we are certified by various other bodies in animal feed production. Thus, we are a fully certified supplier of feed ingredients.”

“Currently, we focus on the pet food and aquaculture sectors”, Woltring continues. “However, we also see good opportunities in poultry and piglet feed, such as replacing blood plasma in young animal feed. There is quite some debate going on in the feed industry regarding blood plasma usage. Egg powder does not have the EU regulation difficulties of this ingredient and has comparable immunological properties. Moreover egg powder contains valuable antimicrobial molecules as lysozym and ovotransferrin”.

“All-in all, we are convinced that dried egg is a good alternative in animal nutrition”, Mathieu Woltring concludes. “Hatcheries and egg packing stations, save on expenses for rendering. Moreover it is a good source of excellent protein and energy. Finally, because of its circularity model, we contribute to preserving mother earth. A good by-effect”.

Written by Anouk de Jong VIV worldwide