Uncooked meat a potentially deadly threat to pigs

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Making sure that pigs are not fed uncooked meat waste is a vital part of keeping diseases such as foot-and-mouth and swine fevers out of New Zealand.

"Recent outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Europe and China make this issue very topical and relevant", says Howard Pharo, manager of import and export animals for the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

"ASF, which isn't harmful to humans but is fatal for pigs, is spread through contaminated pig products.

"If ASF were to reach New Zealand, pigs on infected premises would need to be culled to prevent further spread of the disease.

"Despite our border control measures to manage biosecurity risks, unauthorised meat products could still potentially enter the country.

"It's timely to remind people how important it is to follow the regulations."

The Biosecurity (Meat and Food Waste for Pigs) Regulations 2005 sets out the rules for feeding meat or food waste containing meat to pigs. These rules apply to pigs that are destined for the dinner table and pet pigs alike.

All food waste that contains meat, or has come into contact with meat, must be heated to 100°C for 1 hour to kill off any bacteria before feeding to pigs.

The regulations define "meat" to mean all animal products (including fish) but not milk and milk products, egg and egg products, and rendered materials (such as meat and bone meal, blood meal, tallow).

Although not a regulatory requirement, MPI recommends food waste suppliers getting written confirmation from those collecting food waste to help to ensure responsibilities under the regulations are being met.

Supplying food waste that doesn't comply with the regulations is an offence that can land individuals a fine of up to $5,000, while corporations can be fined up to $15,000.

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