Standard Article

Animal Fats

  1. Michael J. Haas

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047167849X.bio028

Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products

Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products

How to Cite

Haas, M. J. 2005. Animal Fats. Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products. 1:5.

Author Information

  1. Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


The depot lipids of land animals have long been used by humans in edible and industrial applications and as ingredients for animal feeds. They differ from the lipids of temperate region plants in that they are solid at room temperature (and are therefore termed fats). This solidity is largely a result of their relatively higher content of saturated fatty acids and reduced content of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fatty acid contents and the arrangement of these constituent fatty acids within the acylglycerols of animal fats confer distinctive properties that lend these lipids to various applications. The major industrial animal fats are tallow, which is obtained from cattle (Bos taurus) and sheep (Ovis aries), and lard, which is produced by pigs (Sus scrofa). In some countries, poultry fat, obtained primarily from chickens (Gallus gallus), is also produced in substantial quantities. Finally, greases, which can be a lard product, consist of spent deep fat fryer lipids, or be derived from other types of waste lipids, are another major class of fats with industrial applications. Annual global production of tallow, grease, and lard was estimated at about 15 million metric tons at the turn of the millennium, with an annual rate of increase in production of approximately 1.5%. This constituted about 14% of the global total lipid production of 105 million metric tons. This chapter provides an overview of the structures, properties, types and classes, and industrial processing technologies of animal fats. Contemporary issues relating to and impacting animal fat usage include (1) concerns for their contribution to coronary disease when consumed as a dietary lipid, (2) their use as feedstocks for the production of diesel engine fuels (biodiesel), (3) the recent appearance of bovine spongifiorm encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and its spread to humans, and (4) the discovery of the beneficial effects of the consumption of conjugated linoleic acid.


  • animal fat;
  • biodiesel;
  • bse;
  • conjugated linoleic acid;
  • edible oils;
  • fat processing;
  • edible fats and oils;
  • fat production;
  • grease;
  • margarine;
  • poultry fat;
  • shortening;
  • tallow;
  • trans-fatty acid