February 27, 2024 | Business+Finance, Food Waste, Markets

Recycled Household Food Scraps Get Animal Feed Distribution Green Light

Top: Mill kitchen bin with dried and ground food scraps. Photo by Nora Goldstein, inset courtesy Mill

Mill Industries received formal approval in early February from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to distribute its recycled chicken feed ingredient in Washington State, marking the first time a chicken feed ingredient made from recovered household food scraps has been approved for commercial distribution in the United States. Mill launched its in-home food scraps dry-and-grind system in January 2023. As part of its subscription service, households can send back Food Grounds™ (the dehydrated food scraps) to Mill’s facility in Washington State where the Food Grounds are further processed into an ingredient for chicken feed.

Mill’s feed license comes following a landmark vote from membership of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the applicable animal feed ingredient definition for Dried Recovered Household Food in late January and after a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last summer. Although Mill is currently the only system that complies with the new animal feed ingredient definition, the AAFCO decision enables other circular systems to follow in Mill’s footsteps and holds broad implications for resource recovery and sustainable agriculture. After prevention and recovery of edible food for humans, diverting food waste to animal feed is ranked third in terms of highest and best end use, according to U.S. EPA’s new Wasted Food Scale. “At Mill, we believe in a future centered around strong local food systems and community networks that keep food out of landfills,” says Matt Rogers, Cofounder and CEO of Mill. “We give a lot of credit to regulators at AAFCO, FDA, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture for their diligence throughout this process and recognition of the growing urgency and momentum behind reducing food waste and need for food recycling. We’re excited about what the ability to transform household food scraps into resources for farmers means for Mill, and we’re optimistic about the additional innovation this can unlock.”

Adds Derek Sandison, Director of WSDA: “We’re fortunate to have a food recycling company like Mill set up shop in Washington. Throughout their certification process, Mill collaborated with WSDA staff, as well as our USDA federal partners, to ensure their product met animal feed regulations. Retrieving and reusing household food waste as animal feed is an innovative concept, and I appreciate the diligence they exercised to ensure the safety and quality of their product.”

Sign up