News last update:6 Aug 2012

Expansion plans: Renderer faces opposition

Plans to nearly double the capacity of Darling International's Fresno, California rendering plant is on hold for at least another month. Neighbours complained about odours and the effect on proposed development.

Darling has 44 plants across the nation. The plant in Fresno processes 385 tonnes of by products a day, mostly from food processors that include beef and poultry slaughterhouses. It is seeking to process an additional 340 tonnes a day.
The plant removes moisture from animal material and turns fats and oils into tallow, much of which goes to animal feed. The cooking oil also is processed into animal feed and into compounds ultimately used in products that include cosmetics, tires and soap.
Foul smell
Citizens said the rendering plant already gives off a horrible smell and they don't want the stench to get worse. "I think every resident is entitled to breathe clean air, and just because we're in a low-income area doesn't mean we should be dumped on," a spokesperson said.

An official with Darling defended the planned expansion, saying it could result in fewer hours of plant operation and would likely reduce traffic in the area.
Increase in equipment
"This would allow us to process what is brought in and not have to ship to our other locations," said Bill McMurtry, vice president of environmental affairs for the company.

McMurtry said improvements at the plant already have been made that would enable it to process more material. The increase in capacity at the plant does not involve additional buildings. It comes with the addition of equipment.

Those improvements, in addition to equipment to reduce emissions of odours, have cost nearly $750,000 and were made in the past two years, he said.

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