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News article18 December 2023Directorate-General for Environment2 min read

New environmental standards to make food and feed industrial plants greener

New environmental norms adopted under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive will reduce the environmental impact of slaughterhouses. The European Commission Decision ‘BAT Conclusions for Slaughterhouses, Animal By-products and/or Edible Co-products industries’ requires measures to reduce the air and water emissions of some 3000 slaughterhouses and installations processing animal materials and converting them into other products, such as feed products, fats, fish oil or gelatine. The Decision marks another step towards reaching the Green Deal’s objectives, and in particular the Zero Pollution ambition to reduce air, water and soil pollution to levels harmless to human health and the environment. 

The Decision targets over twenty air and water pollutants and will also, for the first time in this sector, include mandatory limits on odour emissions. Other targeted pollutants include total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), ammonia and dust (for emissions to air), as well as organic substances and nutrients (for emissions to water).  

The new standards will also boost action on circular economy, including energy efficiency, water consumption and resource efficiency. They will promote the use of less harmful substances in cleaning and disinfection and a more environmentally sound use of refrigerants for combatting global warming and ozone depletion.  Existing installations will have four years to comply with the new standards to reduce environmental impact, but they will be immediately applicable for all new installations. 


The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) provides a framework for regulating about 52 000 larger industrial and livestock installations across the EU. It requires these installations to hold a permit based on the use of Best Available Techniques (BAT). An EU-level information exchange process results in BAT reference documents and establishes BAT conclusions. 

The process for the drawing up and review of BAT reference documents and their conclusions is led by the Joint Research Centre’s European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Bureau (EIPPCB), based in Seville, Spain, and is known as the “Sevilla process”. 

Best Available Techniques are first proposed by the EIPPCB based on an extensive, inclusive and transparent exchange of information between stakeholders. These are then debated and discussed during several-day meetings between experts and agreed by consensus, before their inclusion in the reference documents on Best Available Techniques (the BREFs), which are used as a reference worldwide. Following this process, Member States vote on the environmental standards resulting from the experts’ discussion and, if a positive vote is achieved, the BAT conclusions are formally adopted by the European Commission. 

These BAT conclusions are the 21st set of BAT conclusions adopted as Commission Implementing Decisions under the IED.


Publication date
18 December 2023
Directorate-General for Environment

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