Feeding food waste to pigs and preventing disease
If you feed food waste to pigs, or supply food waste to be fed to pigs, you must meet certain requirements to reduce the risk of spreading unwanted diseases. Find out what you need to do.
Why rules are needed
Despite our strict border controls, unauthorised meat products could potentially get into New Zealand. This illegally imported meat could contain diseases like foot-and-mouth disease or any of the swine fevers. Feeding it to pigs could spread these diseases.
To reduce this risk, you must meet certain requirements if you supply food waste for feeding to pigs. This includes:
- pig owners and farmers
- food manufacturers, food service operators, butchers, and food retailers
- hospitals, schools, and households.
Make sure food waste is safe to feed
If you supply food waste for feeding to pigs – either to someone else or directly to your own pigs – you must make sure:
- the food waste doesn't contain meat and hasn't come into contact with meat (meat-free waste can be fed to pigs without further treatment)
- if the food waste does contain meat, or has come into contact with meat, it's treated before being fed to pigs. Treatment involves heating the food waste to destroy any disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
How to treat food waste
Treat food waste by heating it to 100°C for 1 hour. An easy way to do this is to boil the food waste for 1 hour while stirring frequently. Make sure you keep it at boiling point for the whole hour.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can approve alternative treatment options. For more information about this, email email@example.com
What does "meat" include?
"Meat" includes any material from an animal – except for eggs and egg products, milk and milk products, and rendered material (such as tallow, blood meal, meat meal, and bone meal). These "non-meat" products don't need to be heat-treated before feeding to pigs.
Video – Feeding waste food to pigs (1:17)
New Zealand is free of many of the diseases that trouble pig farmers around the world.
Our disease-free status is like money in the bank.
And to keep our country this way, rules are in place to restrict the kinds of food scraps you can feed to pigs.
The reality is that by feeding meat to pigs you run the risk of diseases like Foot & Mouth establishing and spreading in New Zealand if they were ever introduced here.
For this reason feeding meat scraps to pigs is a no go.
Meat free food scraps like bread, vegetables, and dairy products are all perfectly good feed options for pigs as long as they haven't come into contact with meat.
If you can't be sure scraps are meat free, they need to be heat treated before you feed them to your pigs.
The rules say you must cook them at 100 degrees for an hour.
This heat treatment will kill off any bacteria and viruses that could potentially cause illness.
So remember, if food waste is on your pig's menu, make sure they're meat free, or that they've been treated to eliminate the risk of illness.
What to do if you supply food waste to others
If you supply untreated food waste that contains meat (or has come into contact with meat) to someone else, you must have reasonable grounds to believe they will treat it before feeding it to pigs.
We recommend you get a written statement from them confirming:
- the food waste will be treated according to the rules
- that you have permission to forward their details to MPI.
We recommend you get this statement even if you're supplying food waste that hasn't come in contact with meat.
We provide a template that you can use to record this statement:
Undertaking for food waste supply and collection [PDF, 201 KB]
Email completed statements to firstname.lastname@example.org
What to do if you get food waste from a supplier
If you get food waste from a supplier – such as a hospital, school, supermarket, or food business – they may:
- ask you to provide written confirmation that you will use the food waste according to the rules
- pass on your contact details to MPI.
The Undertaking for food waste supply and collection template can be used for this as well.
If in doubt, treat food waste
If you are not sure what's in food waste, or whether it has been heat-treated, you must treat it before feeding it to pigs. Alternatively, ask for a declaration from the supplier that the food waste:
- was treated according to the rules, or
- doesn't contain meat or hasn't come into contact with meat.
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 and food waste supplier to MPI. Your details will be kept confidential.
MPI regularly visits farms to check that pig owners (and food waste suppliers) are complying with the rules.
If you feed non-compliant food waste to pigs
The Biosecurity (Meat and Food Waste for Pigs) Regulations 2005 set out the rules around food waste for pigs, to reduce the risk of spreading unwanted diseases.
Under these regulations, you could be fined up to $5,000 for an individual, or $15,000 for the business if you:
- feed untreated food waste to pigs that contains meat or has been in contact with meat
- allow someone to feed untreated food waste to pigs that contains meat or has been in contact with meat.
Find out more
Fact sheet: Supplying food waste for feeding to pigs [PDF, 838 KB]
Poster: If you supply food waste for pig feed [PDF, 457 KB]
Fact sheet: Feeding food waste to pigs [PDF, 338 KB]
Feeding food waste to pigs survey report [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 email@example.com
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