Conclusions and future trends

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The processing of red and white meat results in the generation of large volumes of waste material. This review has examined the various approaches that a modern meat processor should consider in 'managing' this waste material, including its minimization, responsible diposal and value-addition. All can play a part, either in isolation or in combination, in improving processing efficiency and effectiveness, addressing legislative requirements and enhancing the financial, social and environmental outcomes for a processor. In particular, this review has highlighted modern approaches to clean water and energy conservation, minimization of odours and high-BOD effluent streams (and their disposal), responsible management of high-risk waste materials and, perhaps of most importance, adding value to by- and co-products. It is this latter area that the authors believe could be the most lucrative for the processor, driven by the large and burgeoning biotechnology and functional foods markets. In terms of trends, financial, legislative and community pressure will continue to be applied to meat processors for acceptable management of waste streams, and the industry must focus on solutions that provide 'triple bottom-line' (profit, people, planet) benefit for long-term sustainability.

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