Protect New Zealand – don't feed pigs untreated meat waste
Feeding untreated meat waste (often known as "swill") to pigs, could introduce serious animal diseases, costing billions of dollars to New Zealand's economy.
New Zealand’s layered biosecurity system works to prevent the introduction of diseases, and we have strict rules that control the importation of meat.
Illegally imported meat can introduce exotic diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and African swine fever (ASF). Feeding this meat to pigs can spread these diseases. Untreated meat waste being fed to pigs is believed to be the cause of the 2001 FMD outbreak in the United Kingdom.
If you collect or supply any food waste intended to feed pigs, you must follow the regulations.
Dispose of your food waste responsibly
If you want to recycle your food waste, first discard all food containing meat or any food that has come into contact with meat. You can treat the food waste or get assurance that it has or will be treated.
But the easiest way to make sure you're not breaking the law is to safely discard anything you're unsure about.
Treating food waste for pig consumption
If you're not certain what's in the food waste or if it's been heat treated, don't risk it. Any food waste or swill not discarded that contains meat or has come into contact with meat, must be treated before it can be fed to pigs. This will ensure your food waste is compliant and any disease-causing bacteria and viruses are destroyed.
To treat food waste:
- boil it for an hour
- stir frequently
- keep it at boiling point the whole hour.
This will ensure your food waste is compliant and any disease-causing bacteria and viruses are destroyed.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can approve alternative treatment options. For more information about this, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting assurance food waste is compliant
If you are supplying food waste to someone to feed to pigs, you also have a responsibility under the regulations to ensure it is compliant.
Discard it, treat it yourself, or get a written assurance from the person you are supplying that your food waste will be treated according to the rules.
If you do not treat food waste that contains meat or has come into contact with meat before supplying this to someone, then you must have reasonable grounds to believe that they will treat it before feeding it to pigs.
Having a written assurance ensures you are able to meet your responsibilities under the regulations. It could also include permission for you to send their contact details to Biosecurity New Zealand at email@example.com
This enables Biosecurity New Zealand to stay in touch with all parties involved in the food waste supply chain.
What does "meat" include?
Under the regulations, "meat" includes any material taken or derived from an animal. This excludes eggs and egg products, milk and milk products, and rendered material (such as tallow, blood meal, meat and bone meal) – these don't need to be heat treated before being fed to pigs.
If you're not 100% sure – heat it
If you're not certain what is in the food waste or if it's been heat treated, don't risk it. Dispose of it or heat it according to the regulations. Individuals that fail to comply can be fined up to $5,000, and corporations can be fined up to $15,000.
Report non-compliant food waste
If you suspect untreated food waste that contains or has been in contact with meat is being fed to pigs, report the pig owner or the food waste supplier to Biosecurity New Zealand. Your details will be kept confidential.
Freephone 0800 00 83 33
Biosecurity New Zealand regularly visits farms to check that pig owners (and food waste suppliers) are complying with the rules.
Find out more
Fact sheet: Supplying food waste for feeding to pigs [PDF, 334 KB]
Fact sheet: Feeding food waste to pigs [PDF, 379 KB]
Feeding food waste to pigs survey report (2014) [PDF, 1.5 MB]
Making food for animals [PDF, 267 KB]
Who to contact
If you have questions about feeding food waste to pigs, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you notice unusual symptoms in your animals, report them to your vet, or to MPI's Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66