EPA Guidance on the disposal of pork contaminated with PCBs

Date released: Dec 10 2008

The EPA has issued guidance on the disposal options for contaminated pork due to recent contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  This guidance  gives information on disposal options acceptable to the EPA to ensure that there is not an impact on the environment or on public health.

The recommendations for householders, retailers and processors are as follows:

Householders:

  • Householders should place any pork goods purchased between September 1st 2008 and Monday 8th December 2008 in their black bin and send it for disposal in the normal manner.  This material should not be disposed of in brown bins and is not suitable for composting, due to the potential contamination of the resulting compost with PCBs.

Pork goods in the commercial chain and on farms:

  • The EPA recommends disposal by rendering of contaminated pork goods in the commercial chain.
  • Contaminated pork goods in the retail system should be returned to the processor of origin.
  • All contaminated pork goods being held by processors should be sent for rendering at one of the four facilities licensed by the EPA, and permitted by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, to process Category 1 material.
  • Contaminated pork goods should only be landfilled in those limited circumstances where the options to render or incinerate the affected material are not available, and only with the specific approval of the EPA and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
  • Meat & bone meal produced during the rendering of the affected meat goods should only be disposed of by incineration or by combustion in a WID  compliant process.
  • Tallow oil produced during the rendering of the affected meat should only be disposed of by incineration or by combustion at a temperature of 850oC for two seconds.
  • Waste water treatment plant sludges produced in rendering facilities which process the affected meat should be monitored for the presence of PCB contaminants, and should only be landspread where there is no risk of exceeding safe levels of PCB in soil.
  • Treated effluent from the waste water treatment plant of any rendering facility used to process the affected meat should be monitored to ensure that discharges do not cause pollution of the receiving environment.
  • Where Thermal Oxidiser abatement units are used to treat off-gasses from the cooker in rendering facilities used to disposed of the affected meat, these units should be operated at a temperature greater than 850oC.