Greens call for ban on pig swill
Green Party Safe Food spokesperson Sue Kedgley is supporting a call for an immediate ban on the feeding of uncooked garbage to pigs.
"At present there are no regulations whatsoever governing the feeding of restaurant and industrial waste material to pigs," Ms Kedgley said.
"This is a serious concern when we know that meat that has not been heated to 100 degrees C for at least one hour could be a source of transmission of diseases such as foot and mouth."
"We know that the foot and mouth virus entered England via the feeding of improperly cooked smuggled meat to pigs," she said. "In our totally unregulated New Zealand environment, the same thing could easily happen here - in particular by small 'backyard operators' who may not bother to heat the garbage they feed to their pigs.
"Nobody knows - not even our own Ministry of Agriculture - whether or not farmers who feed garbage to pigs are heat treating it beforehand, to eliminate the possibility of disease transmission," said Ms Kedgley.
Until a few years ago, New Zealand had Garbage Regulations in place which required all farmers who fed garbage from prison, restaurant or hospital kitchens to pigs to be registered with MAF. MAF inspectors inspected the farms of all registered pig farms to ensure they heated the garbage properly.
These regulations were tossed out when MAF decided that the risk of introducing exotic disease through garbage feed was low.
"Clearly with the new threat of Foot and Mouth disease the risk is high, and we need to introduce urgent measures such as the banning of feeding uncooked garbage to pigs to reduce the biosecurity risk in this country," said Ms Kedgley.