Skip to content

What not to feed your pigs

Some food materials are "prohibited substances" and it is illegal to feed them to pigs. The feeding of food wastes to pigs has traditionally been called swill feeding.

"Feeding "prohibited substances" to pigs has been implicated in major outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in overseas countries including the devastating outbreak in the United Kingdom in 2001.The regulations prohibiting the feeding of this material exist to keep Australia free from FMD and other exotic diseases", said Lucienne Downs, District Veterinarian with Central Tablelands Local Land Services. 

FMD has been identified as the single greatest disease threat to the Australian livestock industry and an incursion would have severe economic and social impacts. Economic losses as a result of an FMD outbreak in Australia have been estimated between $7 billion (3 month outbreak) and $16 billion (12 month outbreak). 

  "The devastation to the rural communities and the impacts on the individuals farmers affected is not something I want to see in Australia. Seeing the convoys of trucks and plumes of smoke from burning carcases was a stark reminder of what can happen as a result of feeding a few pigs prohibited products" said Tim Seears who spent a month in the UK assisting control the 2001 outbreak.

In addition to FMD, there are more than one hundred exotic diseases that would have varying degrees of economic and public health effects if they were introduced to Australia. This is why the feeding of prohibited substances is banned in all States and Territories. 

Significant penalties apply for those who are convicted of supplying and/or feeding prohibited substances to pigs. If you are involved in a business that generates food wastes or you own and feed pigs, it is vital that you know what food waste is permitted to be fed to livestock. 

The following food wastes are prohibited substances:

  • Any meat product (pies, bacon, pizza, salami etc),
  • any carcase (mammal or bird),
  • the excreta or droppings of any mammal or bird,
  • household, commercial or industrial waste,
  • used cooking oil or fat or any substance that has been in contact or in the same container or storage facility as any of the prohibited substances.

These restrictions apply to all pigs, including pets. 

You can feed milk or milk by-products of Australian origin or legally imported into Australia, eggs, tallow, gelatine, manufactured dry dog or cat food, non-meat bakery waste, fruit, vegetable or cereal waste and vegetable oil or oilseed waste. 

Local Land Services Biosecurity Officers carry out regular inspections of piggeries and DPI Regulatory Officers inspect sources of food wastes to ensure compliance with these regulations and to provide education and advice. 

Your local Council, LLS or NSW DPI office can supply you with detailed information about how you can comply with the prescribed legal national standards on feeding prohibited substances.

If you see something unusual in your livestock, please report it to your private veterinarian, district veterinarian or phone the national Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline number 1800 675 888.

Media contact: Kylie Krause 0439 608370 | kylie.krause@lls.nsw.gov.au