Knowledge for better food systems

Experts say leftovers can be safely fed to pigs

Image: K-State Research and Extension, Pigs, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Experts agree that feeding properly treated food waste to pigs can be done safely at scale, according to a seminar report by FCRN member Karen Luyckx of food waste charity Feedback (our thanks to FCRN member Jessica Sinclair Taylor, also of Feedback, for bringing this research to our attention).

The report presents the results of an expert seminar of veterinary epidemiologists, microbiologists and pig nutritionists. The seminar examined the viability of feeding treated surplus food to pigs and chickens, the hazards and risk factors, and the environmental benefits. The panel concluded the practice is viable provided certain safety measures are enforced involving a combination of heat treatment and acidification and a system to prevent cross-contamination (including measures such as zoning, one directional process flows and dedicated sealed storage). A crucial next step identified by the panel is investigating the business case of this practice to ensure it is economically feasible for the EU context.

Feeding surplus food to pigs is promoted by Feedback’s campaign The Pig Idea as a way of reducing the land used to grow animal feed. The Pig Idea hopes to overturn the EU’s current ban on feeding catering waste to pigs. For more information, see Karen Luyckx’s blog post for the FCRN: Using food waste as pig feed.

Read the full report here. See also the Foodsource chapter Focus: the difficult livestock issue.

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