Fertiliser end points for animal by-products – understanding the regulations

The EU Commission has recently published amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 regarding the end points of animal by-products (ABPs) used in fertiliser. But further regulatory changes are needed to open new markets for most ABPs as fertilisers.

“This is only the first step, the animal by-products regulations have been changed; however, step two is more important, it concerns changes to the fertiliser regulations.”

Dr Martin Alm, EFPRA Technical Director

He points out that there is a distinction between different animal by-products. Category 2 and 3 ash, and residues from biogas plants are considered to have reached an end point as organic fertilisers or soil improvers. Hence, there is no requirement for further processing or inclusion within a fertiliser product.


But other ABPs must be part of a fertilising product hence they must comply with the Fertilising Products Regulation. Specifically, safety and agronomic performance is needed to complete ‘Component Material Category 10’ (CMC10) of the regulation. CMC 10 is the section of the fertiliser regulations concerned specifically with ABPs.

“DG-Grow took the decision to conduct their own studies into safety and performance of ABPs rather than reuse the data created to amend regulation 1069/2009. This is a thorough approach but unfortunately it does mean that we will have to probably wait another year for CMC10 to be updated. We have asked the Commission to include additional ABPs in the study to speed up any future amendments.”

Current guidance

As such, it is best to view the inclusion rates and usage guidance given in the animal by-product regulations as provisional at this time. The results of the studies to complete CMC10 could change the overall guidance for using ABPs. Nevertheless, it is worth reviewing what the updated animal by-products regulation say. The following animal by-products have inclusion limits depending on how the product is packaged and sold:

  • Glycerine of Category 2 and 3 materials
  • Category 2 meat and bone meal
  • Category 3 Processed Animal Proteins
  • Category 3 blood products
  • Hydrolysed protein
  • Dicalcium and tricalcium phosphate
  • Horns, horn products, hooves and hoof products

These are considered to have reached an end point of organic fertilisers and soil improvers if they are used in EU fertilising products in not more than 5% by volume.

The 5% inclusion limit can be exceeded if they are packed in ready-to-sell packages for use by the end-user, labelled in accordance with labelling requirements for the EU fertilising products containing derived products laid down in Part I of Annex III to Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 and comply with the conditions laid down either in the following point (1) or in point (2):

  1. The packages weigh no more than 50kg; or
  2. The packages weigh no more than 1000kg of which at least 10% in volume is one of the following: lime / mineral fertilisers / derived products referred to in Article 3 (compost, ash and processed manure & frass)

National rules

The introduction of this regulation does not affect existing practices for using ABPs in fertiliser according to national fertiliser rules in combination with the animal by-product regulation. Although this means no end point, it guarantees full traceability of ABP until its final use at farm level. Unless national rules are changed, this opportunity will continue as an alternative after the change of the fertiliser regulation.