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Feeding swill is a ‘pig’ deal

22 Jun 2018

Whether you’re a commercial enterprise or own just one pig, you have an important role to play in protecting your property and Australia’s pork industry from biosecurity threats.

One of the easiest ways you can do this is by feeding your pigs the right feed and ensuring they don’t eat anything that contains or has come into contact with meat, said Dr Rob Barwell, Animal Health Australia’s Senior Manager Biosecurity.

“Food waste that has come into contact with meat or contains meat must not be fed to pigs. This type of food waste, known as swill, could contain viruses that are not found in Australian livestock such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which can be passed onto your pigs if they consume the infected food waste.

“The virus can then spread to other animals such as cattle and sheep, which would have significant implications not only for your own property but for the entire Australian livestock industry.”

“A commercial pig feed is the best choice for your pigs. However, some pig producers choose to reduce food waste by feeding it to their pigs. This is okay, as long as you feed them appropriate recycled foods such as fruit, vegetables and bread, which haven’t come into contact with meat,” said Dr Barwell.

It is believed that swill fed to pigs may have caused the outbreak of FMD in the UK in 2001, which had a devastating impact on farmers and the wider community.

“Prevention is always better than cure. A large outbreak of FMD in Australia could cost $50 billion over 10 years, so taking simple precautions, such as feeding your pigs the right feed is crucial,” said Dr Barwell.

Swill feeding is also illegal, with significant penalties involved, so it really isn’t worth the risk,” said Dr Barwell.

For more information about what is and isn’t safe to feed your pigs, visit


Last reviewed: June 22, 2018

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