Waste food campaign poses disease threat
The National Pig Association (NPA) has warned that recycling human food by feeding it to pigs must take place only under strictly-controlled conditions, otherwise there is a risk of outbreaks of notifiable diseases such as foot-and-mouth, classical swine fever and African swine fever.
The warning comes as “Pig Idea” environmental campaigners are calling for more left-over foods to be fed to pigs as swill.
While feeding pigs properly-treated and tested foods such as unsold bread and vegetables can deliver environmental benefits, NPA reckons that there is always a risk of regulatory breakdown, as happened in the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak, when infected swill was fed to pigs on a Northumberland unit.
Feeding waste food from catering establishments including home kitchens and restaurants — even if it is only vegetables — has been banned since then and the law also covers food waste from other premises, including food factories and distribution warehouses, where it contains or has been in contact with animal by-products such as raw eggs, meat and fish products.
None of these items may be fed to pigs, including pigs kept as pets.
“We appreciate that the Pig Idea campaigners have the best of intentions and have been at pains to explain all the legal issues but we remain concerned that promoting the image of pigs eating waste food is unhelpful,” says NPA general manager, Dr Zoe Davies.