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Turning Surplus Mussels into Sustainable Feed

Due to the implementation of new EU legislation, organic farmers must from 2019 use organic feed in the production of organic livestock. The National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, DTU FOOD, has been studying a new innovative way that can turn surplus mussels into sustainable, organic feed.

From the 1st of January 2019, a new set of legislation from the EU will come into force that requires organic farmers to use organic feed in their production of livestock. For a country like Denmark, it forces several farmers to find new types of organic feed. This also reflects a larger picture where several farmers around the world are focused on finding new, innovate ways of feeding their livestock in a sustainable way.

Research project to create new feeding solutions

Because of the new legislation, researchers from DTU FOOD have developed an innovative solution that can turn mussels that are too small to be used as food for humans into a sustainable and organic animal feed. The solution includes a process where the surplus mussels (including the shells, which are all rich on vitamins and protein) go through a meat grinder and then in a compact filter that splits the mass into a solid and liquid substance. Some of the mussels are the size of a sunflower seed and all of the mussels are a maximum of 4.5 centimetres long. If they are longer than that, they are considered eligible for human consumption.

This causes high utilisation of what was otherwise a residual product and lays the ground for a more sustainable, organic production.

Circular economy is important in a sustainable production

The research is part of a larger project lead by the National Institute of Aquatic Resources, DTU AQUA, and symbolises the way Denmark is at the forefront of creating new ways of thinking agricultural production. By using waste products, DTU FOOD and DTU AQUA, together with the rest of the project partners, thus helps to obtain a more sustainable production pattern, which is an important approach to reach the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Denmark is already developing an innovative solution that extracts the protein from green herbage so it can be used as feed for pigs and poultry