Biosecurity SA Alert

Don’t let your food waste become illegal pig feed – biosecurity alert for food outlets, food retailers and supermarkets

Biosecurity SA is urging food outlets, food retailers and supermarkets in South Australia to dispose of food waste appropriately, noting that the consequences of incorrect disposal can have serious biosecurity and animal health risks.

The alert comes after Biosecurity SA discovered an instance where food waste containing meat products from a food retailer was being used for pig feed.

The practice has ceased and Biosecurity SA is working with the operator on a compliance program.

It is against the law in Australia to allow pigs to eat meat or meat products or anything that has come into contact with meat or meat products. This food is prohibited pig feed known as swill.

Anyone caught feeding or supplying pigs with prohibited pig feed can face a $10,000 fine under the Livestock Regulations 2013.

Feeding prohibited feed to pigs such as food waste has been linked to outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (FMD) and other livestock diseases overseas including African swine fever and Aujeszky’s disease.

Currently none of these diseases are in Australia.

Businesses that prepare and sell food such as supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, butchers, hotels, fast food outlets and hospitals, have a responsibility to dispose of food waste appropriately via their local council or commercial waste collection service for disposal in landfill or composting at a recycling facility.

Pies, sausage rolls, bacon and cheese rolls, pizza, deli meats, table scraps, household, commercial or industrial waste including restaurant food and discarded cooking oils are all examples of prohibited pig feed.

It is also illegal to supply any food that has been in contact with prohibited pig feed via collection, storage or transport in contaminated containers such as meat trays and take-away food containers.

Biosecurity SA Chief Veterinary Officer Roger Paskin said: “Most people will remember the devastating outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 which is thought to have resulted from pigs being fed waste containing illegally imported meat products carrying the FMD virus.

“Foot and mouth disease is a serious and highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals including pigs, sheep, cattle, goats, deer, alpacas, llamas and camels.

“If an FMD outbreak was to occur in Australia it is estimated that it could cost the Australian economy more than $52 billion in lost revenue over a decade and the flow-on effects could also have a major impact on the viability of food outlets.

“It’s still fine for food outlets and food retailers to supply items like lettuce leaves for pet rabbits but if in doubt as to how your food waste will be used by the person who has requested it or if you suspect it will be used to feed pigs, do not supply it to them.”

If you suspect pigs are being fed prohibited pig feed call (08) 8207 7900 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

These rules apply to all pigs including pet pigs and pigs kept on a property for personal consumption.

For more information, visit

Fact Sheet - Pig Swill(166 kb)

Swill Feeding - Its Illegal(1783 kb)


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