Natural health Petition would allow transportation of hides; remove ‘inedible’ from definition

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USDA has received a petition for the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center, (FAPC), on the Oklahoma State University campus. The petition requests that FSIS amend 9 CFR 325. 19(e) to remove “hides” from the articles considered naturally inedible by humans that are not subject to the federal meat inspection transportation requirements.

FaPC is collaborating with an entrepreneur in order to create an edible beef hide product. The raw material for the process is the hides harvested from the on-site beef cattle harvest. According to the petition, the current regulations that prohibit the transport of inedible products for further processing make it impossible to fully use the hide. According to the petition, removing hides from 9 CFR 325. 19(e) is needed to remove a barrier to product development.

According to FSIS, the request is being considered as a petition for rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(e)), USDA’s administrative regulations (7 CFR 1. 28), and FSIS’ regulations on petitions (9 CFR part 392).

The OSU petition has been referred to the Office of Policy and Program Development for review and has been assigned petition number 21-03. As provided in 9 CFR 392.6, the petition ix available to the public in the FSIS docket room and will be posted on the FSIS Website.

The Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center on the Oklahoma State University campus is asking for the modification of the current policy that prohibits beef hide transport due to inedible status.

Current Agency policy states under 9 CFR 325. 19 “Provisions inapplicable to specimens for laboratory examination, etc., or to naturally inedible articles. The provisions of this part do not apply: (a)…(e) To articles that are naturally inedible by humans, such as hoofs, horns, and hides in their natural state.”

FAPC operates UDSA establishment #526 for the purposes of educating students about animal harvest and fabrication, as well as assisting entrepreneurs in the food industry with establishing value added products.

Since 2019, FAPC has been working with an entrepreneur to develop a process for an edible beef hide product using the hides from on- site beef harvest as the raw material. This entrepreneur needs to get a USDA-inspected facility to process the hides. We are currently submitting a protocol to be approved for transporting the hides between facilities.

A process and HACCP plan to remove hair, foreign material and filth were created within the establishment. The client’s cultural experiences have helped to develop processing techniques that were successful. The finished product was marked as passed and inspected. The hide product’s marketability and reputation have been boosted by the inspection mark. The product’s existence filled a niche in ethnic food category that was being occupied by uninspected, similar products.

Furthermore, OSU research into the current hide market has proven the hide is considered a waste. The hide is worth 4.8 percent of the animal’s life, and the processors are not paid any monetary compensation. In 2015, the AMS estimated a hide to be worth $6. 96 for a typical steer. This OSU petition is expected to decrease the amount of hides sent to landfills and allow the slaughterhouse to reduce the amount of material that goes to waste.

The OSU petition says that when the basis of the policy in 9 CFR325. 19(e) was originally formed, there did not exist an edible beef hide product market in the United States. This petition has requested that the policy be changed to reflect the development of this method to use a portion of the live animal to meet strong market demand.

The definition of an inedible product currently covers hides. However, recent developments have proven that edible hide products can be made. Although the current process can be performed in a slaughterhouse, regulations prevent the transport of inedible products for further processing.

The OSU request was submitted on Nov. 12 by Andrea Graves, business planning and marketing specialist at the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. On Nov. 18.

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