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Managing Food Waste and the Law

Swill is food waste containing meat or any other mammalian derived products or by-products. Swill feeding refers to the feeding of this waste to pigs. Swill and any food that has come into contact with swill must not be fed to pigs. These foods can contain viruses that cause diseases in animals, such as foot-and-mouth disease, which are not destroyed by chilling, freezing, curing or cooking.

Some examples of food that must not be provided to farmers includes:

  • vegetables, rice, pasta and other food that has been in direct contact with meat or meat products
  • pizza bun rolls, meat pies
  • bacon and cheese rolls, salad rolls containing meat
  • Caesar salad (because it contains bacon pieces)
  • steak, hamburgers, sausages, butcher’s shop waste
  • milk products such as yoghurt, butter and cheese.

Businesses that prepare and sell food, such as restaurants, bakeries, hotels, fast food outlets and hospitals, have a responsibility to dispose of food waste appropriately.

Prohibited food waste should be placed in an appropriate garbage bin for collection by the council or commercial waste service for disposal in landfill or composting at an appropriate recycling facility.

The following activities are illegal and prohibited under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994:

  • feeding prohibited food waste to pigs
  • supplying prohibited food waste to feed pigs
  • collecting prohibited food waste from food premises to provide to a piggery.
More information on these restrictions, included translated factsheets in Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese, is available from the Department of Economic Development.