Restrictions on feeding meat and food waste to pigs
Illegally imported meat may harbour important exotic epidemic diseases such as foot and mouth disease (FMD) and the swine fevers. Feeding such meat to pigs can spread these diseases. For example, feeding contaminated food waste to pigs is considered to be the most likely cause of the 2001 FMD outbreak in the United Kingdom.
Despite border control measures to manage the biosecurity risks associated with importing meat products into New Zealand, unauthorised meat and meat products could potentially enter the country. To supplement the border control measures the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) developed the Biosecurity (Meat and Food Waste for Pigs) Regulations 2005.
What is "meat"?
The regulations define “meat” as any material taken or derived from an animal, with the exception of egg, milk and rendered material. Egg and egg products, milk and milk products, and rendered material (such as tallow, blood meal, meat and bone meal) don't need to be heat treated.
If you feed food waste to pigs
All food waste that contains meat or has come into contact with meat must be treated before it is fed to pigs. This means either heating it to 100°C for one hour, or treating it to a standard approved by MPI’s Director-General and notified in the Gazette.
The treatment requirement applies to all food waste that contains raw or cooked meat or has come into contact with raw or cooked meat. It applies to both commercial food waste and household food waste.
The easiest way to do this is to boil the untreated food waste for one hour while stirring frequently; the temperature must be maintained at boiling point for the whole one hour. By treating food waste according to these rules, any disease-causing bacteria and viruses present will be destroyed.
The regulations grant power to MPI’s Director-General to approve alternative treatment options. Please contact the Animal Imports Team for more information on this (contact details given below).
Food waste from trade sources
If you collect food waste from a trade source (such as a hospital, a school, a supermarket or a food business) the supplier may ask for written confirmation that you will use the food waste according to the rules. The supplier may ask you to do so even if the food waste does not contain meat or has not come into contact with meat. The supplier may pass on your contact details to MPI. Having a register of all parties involved in the food waste supply chain allows MPI to provide updates and information on the food waste feeding rules.
Default is to heat treat food waste
If you are not sure what is in the food waste, or unsure whether it has been heat treated, you must consider it as containing meat, and it is your responsibility to treat it according to the rules before feeding it to pigs. Alternatively, you may ask for a declaration from the supplier that the food waste was either treated according to the rules or that it does not contain meat or has not come into contact with meat.
This video provides a brief outline of the types of food waste you can feed to pigs in New Zealand while staying within the law.
This factsheet provides more details on the rules for feeding food waste to pigs.
If you supply food waste for feeding to pigs
You must either:
- exclude from the waste any meat and all items that may have come into contact with meat. This meat-free waste can be fed to pigs without further treatment; or,
- treat according to the rules the food waste that contains meat or has come into contact with meat before supplying it to the person feeding the food waste to pigs.
If you do not treat food waste that contains meat or has come into contact with meat, you must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person you supply it to will treat the non-compliant food waste before feeding it to pigs. In this case, we recommend that you obtain an undertaking from the person you supply the food waste to, stating that it will be treated according to the rules before it is fed to pigs. The undertaking is not a regulatory requirement, but having one would ensure you meet your responsibilities under these regulations.
You can use this template (196 KB) for the undertaking.
This factsheet provides details on the rules for supplying food waste to pigs.
So that your staff are aware of these regulations you may print this A4 poster and fix it at positions where it would be most visible.
Feeding non-compliant food waste to pigs, or allowing non-compliant food waste to be fed is an offence - you may be fined for doing so
For individuals the fine can be up to $5,000, while corporations can be fined up to $15,000.
Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility
If you suspect someone of breaching these regulations then please report it to MPI (contact details are given below). Your details will be kept confidential.
You can also play a role in stopping the spread of disease by reporting any unusual symptoms in your animals to your vet or the Emergency Pest and Disease Hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
Animal Imports Team
The Food Waste Feed Regulations are managed by the Animal Imports Team at MPI. They can be contacted by emailing email@example.com or phoning 04-894 0100.
- The Biosecurity (Meat and Food Waste for Pigs) Regulations 2005 can be found at www.legislation.govt.nz (external link).
- Feeding of Food Waste to Pigs – MAF Discussion Paper No. 01/26 (2001) (255 KB)
- Review of Submissions on MAF Discussion Paper No. 01/26 on Feeding of Food Waste to Pigs (2002) (159 KB)
Page last updated: 8 November 2013