ALEXANDRIA, VA. — Kevin Custer has been recognized with the North American Renderers Association (NARA) 2021 Don Franco Distinguished Service Award for his longtime leadership and commitment to the rendering industry. Custer was presented with the award in October during NARA’s Annual Convention in Greensboro, Ga.

Custer joined the rendering industry in 1988 after nearly 10 years in the animal agriculture industry. He is a member of The Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (PFRF), NARA’s industry research foundation.

Custer also contributed to the foundation of the Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI) organization, which works to promote training and biosecurity programs in the protein industry. APPI became a non-profit organization in 1994 under Custer’s leadership.

Additionally, Custer played an integral role during the first mad cow disease (BSE) outbreak in the United States. He joined other NARA members in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a strategy to contain and manage the outbreak, including the establishment of good manufacturing practices that are still employed today.

The Don Franco Distinguished Service Award is “NARA’s highest honor,” according to the association. Franco was a former vice president of scientific services at NARA and president of APPI. He also served as one of the editors of The Original Recyclers, a 1996 NARA publication, and was a contributing author in Essential Rendering in 2006. Franco died in 2015, but the rendering industry continues to benefit from his work, NARA stated.

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