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Animal fat spilled into Quincy's Fore River

A rare animal fat called beef tallow was spilled into Quincy's Fore River. (Metro file photo) A rare animal fat called beef tallow was spilled into Quincy's Fore River. Credit: Metro file photo

A rare kind of animal fat has streamed into the Fore River in Quincy after a spill from a barge.

On Sunday, beef tallow – a fatty, wax-like substance – spilled out of a barge owned by Lafarge, a French cement manufacturer, the Patriot Ledger writes. The spill was reported by Weymouth residents who noticed a foul smell coming from an oil-like sheen in the river.

“Our (department) has never seen a spill with this type of material before,” Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the state’s environmental agency, told the Patriot Ledger.

Beef tallow is used to make household items like soap and candles. Joelle Lipski-Rockwood, a spokeswoman for Lafarge, told the Ledger that the company uses beef tallow to prevent the barges from freezing, and that it poses no threat to humans or the environment.

An environmental services company from Norwell called Good Harbors has been hired to clean up the spill, which must be pumped out or scooped up by hand.

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