Managing the Swill Feeding Risks through Environmental Health Officers
Environmental Health Officer
The Department has been working collaboratively with Department of Health and Human Services (through Environmental Health Officers) and local councils on an ongoing basis to raise awareness of swill feeding (feeding prohibited food waste to pigs), particularly targeting licenced food premises that have the potential to provide swill to pig producers.
Environmental Health Officers check food outlets to ensure that they are not supplying swill (prohibited food waste) when routinely auditing food outlets and educate food operators about the risks and legislation relating to such practices.
Your role as an Environmental Health Officer – auditor, educator and notifier of suspect swill feeding
The feeding of prohibited food waste, also known as swill feeding, is the act of feeding to pigs food scraps or food waste that contains meat or which has been in contact with meat. Recent surveys in Victoria have shown that about 10 percent of food premises provide food waste to piggeries.
As an auditor of food premises, you play a unique role in educating food outlets of the risks associated with prohibited food waste, through routine audit questions, and the provision of educational material which promotes responsible disposal of food waste. Educational material has been prepared for food outlets in English, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese, which lists practical examples of food that is considered 'prohibited' for feeding to pigs.
Prohibited pig feed information for food outlets fact sheet
Prohibited pig feed information for food outlets fact sheet - Arabic
Prohibited pig feed information for food outlets fact sheet - Chinese
Prohibited pig feed information for food outlets fact sheet - Vietnamese
The practice of swill feeding is illegal and can lead to the spread of exotic diseases in livestock which could devastate Australia's livestock industries. As an Environmental Health Officer routinely visiting food outlet premises you are in a unique position to identify and notify the Department of any food outlets you believe may be supplying prohibited food waste that is intended for pigs.
If you suspect a food outlet is supplying prohibited food waste, please notify the Department by completing the Notification of Premises Supplying Food Waste to Livestock online form. Or Download the Notification of Premises Supplying Food Waste to Livestock PDF form
Notifications will be reviewed by the Department and the risk posed assessed. Departmental officers will investigate instances of high risk activity with a view to enforcement action.
The laws around prohibited food waste
Victoria is committed to achieving harmonised legislation around prohibited food waste with states and territories in order to improve overall compliance and awareness of the dangers associated with swill feeding.
In Victoria, there are strict laws concerning the collection, storage, feeding/ access, and supply of material originating from a mammal or that has come in contact with a mammal (prohibited food waste), and its exposure to pigs. Individuals and businesses that contravene these laws could face fines of up to $18,200 and $54,000 respectively. These penalties apply to a person who supplies swill to another person, who knows it is being used for feeding pigs.
An extract of section 41 of the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 which relates to swill feeding of pigs is provided below. The latest version of the Act can be found on the Victorian Legislation website.
Section 41 of the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994
Swill feeding of pigs
(1) A person must not —
(a) store any material originating from a mammal or that has been in direct contact with material originating from a mammal at premises at which pigs are kept;
(b) collect any material originating from a mammal or that has been in direct contact with material originating from a mammal for use for feeding to any pig;
(c) feed or allow access to, any material originating from a mammal or that has been in direct contact with material originating from a mammal, to any pig; or
(d) supply to another person material that originates from a mammal or that has been in direct contact with material originating from a mammal that the person supplying the material knows is for use for feeding to any pig.
- 120 penalty units, in the case of a natural person
- 360 penalty units, in the case of a body corporate
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to any material which is —
(a) the flesh, bones, blood or offal of mammals slaughtered at an abattoir or a knackery licensed under the Meat Industry Act 1993which is fed to pigs at that abattoir or knackery with the approval of the Secretary;
(b) any material containing flesh, bones, blood or offal of mammal carcases which has been treated by a process approved in writing by the Secretary;
(c) the carcase of a mammal which has been slaughtered at premises for the purpose of feeding it to pigs at the same premises if the premises have been approved in writing by the Secretary;(d) milk;
(e) a milk product or milk by-product from a dairy manufacturing business licensed under the Dairy Act 2000.
If you have a query about prohibited food waste or swill feeding, please email FoodOutletRep@ecodev.vic.gov.au or contact Dr Karin Morgan on (03) 5735 4300.