MAF to reassess feeding food waste to pigs

29 March 2001

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, together with the Pork Industry Board is re-assessing the risks and management of feeding food waste to pigs.

The UK Government has banned the feeding of food waste to pigs as it has been identified as the key link in the spread of the foot and mouth disease in that country. The infection is believed to have come from illegal meat brought into the country, which ended up as food scraps fed to pigs.

The practice of feeding food waste to pigs has not been directly regulated in New Zealand since 1998. When MAF reviewed the then regulations it concluded that exotic disease risks (including foot and mouth) posed by illegal smuggling of meat products into New Zealand, were more effectively addressed through investment in tighter biosecurity measures applied at the border, rather than maintenance of ineffective regulations.

At that time there were 685 permit holders able to feed garbage to pigs to stated conditions. The permit holders follow safe practices. The regulations applied to feeding pigs were not managing the risks of smuggled meat ending up as pig feed effectively. The risks came from backyard piggeries without permits and there was no effective way of finding those who did not seek permits.

At that time, MAF concluded that the risk from illegally imported and infective animal products was more effectively managed at the border, where sniffer dogs and organic x-ray machines were introduced to supplement the quarantine awareness strategy and the risk profiling already taking place.

Food waste from aircrafts and ships is incinerated on arrival by MAF under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and we achieve 100 percent compliance with this.

For further information contact:

Brian Milne, Chief Executive officer, New Zealand Pork Industry Board. Telephone: 04-385-4229
Derek Belton, Director, Animal Biosecurity, MAF. Telephone: 04-474-4155

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