26 September 2023

PIRSA warns food wasters to take care

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The Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) has called on the food industry and pig owners to take care when disposing waste food to ensure it isn’t eaten by pigs as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and African Swine Fever (ASF) are currently close to Australia’s border.

According to the Department, while Australia is free of the diseases, both ASF and FMD can spread to pigs if the food they eat is contaminated.

It reminded the industry that feeding prohibited pig feed to pigs is illegal with prohibited feed identified as any meat or meat products, or human food waste, including cooking oil, that contains meat or has contacted it.

Chief Veterinary Officer with PIRSA’s Biosecurity Section, Mary Carr said the food industry and pig owners could help ensure animal diseases stay out of Australia.

“The State Government takes prohibited pig feeding seriously,” Dr Carr said, “it is against the law and anyone caught feeding or supplying prohibited feed to pigs can face a $10,000 fine.”

She said FMD and ASF may not be present in Australia at the moment but “they are too close for comfort right now”.

“Foot and mouth disease viral fragments have been found in beef product at Adelaide Airport and in imported pork floss in Melbourne,” Dr Carr said.

“If you prepare and sell food, including restaurants, bakeries, butchers, hotels, fast food outlets and hospitals, you have a responsibility to dispose of your food waste appropriately,” she said.

“Everyone should dispose of food waste safely through your local council or commercial waste collection service for disposal in landfill or composting at a recycling facility.”

Dr Carr said that if someone requests food waste from someone else and the owner is not sure how it might be used, they should not give it to them.

“It is also illegal to supply any food waste that has been in contact with contaminated containers such as meat trays and take-away food containers,” she said.

“Play your part in protecting South Australia’s $499 million pork industry and remember that people food is not pig food.”

She said that if anyone suspects pigs were being fed prohibited pig feed or they notice sick pigs, they should call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

More information about the danger of pig feed can be accessed at this PS News link.

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