NPA writes to supermarkets on food waste

The NPA has warned supermarket chiefs that if swill-feeding of pigs is reintroduced in the European Union, sooner or later there will be a breakdown in controls, resulting in a major disease outbreak that will, in turn, have a devastating impact on all actors in the European food chain.

In a letter to the UK’s major multiple retailers NPA chairman Richard Longthorp said that if a sustainable and secure domestic supply of British pigmeat was to be secured, it was essential that high biosecurity standards were.

He urged the retailers to agree and support NPA’s three-point protocol to keep foot-and-mouth, classical swine fever and African swine fever out of the British pig herd.

  1. In-date food that is wasted should be donated to charities such as FareShare and diverted for human consumption.
  2. Food fit for animal consumption but not human that is either produced during product manufacture in a meat-free plant, or that is packaged and handled through a registered Feed Materials Assurance Scheme company can be diverted to pig feed.
  3. Unpackaged food at store level or food that is not fit for consumption should be diverted to anaerobic digestion or in-vessel composting. Such processes provide a useful output in the form of energy (heat and power), remove any undesirable pathogens and convert the final product into a safe and low odour fertiliser therefore reducing reliance on artificial fertiliser.

“As a nation, we must all commit to reducing food waste to a minimum and then to utilising the remaining unavoidable waste appropriately,” Mr Longthorp said.

“The pig industry already uses over one million tonnes of food co- and by-products from the human food chain that would otherwise be destined for landfill or similar on an annual basis, which is all fed in a perfectly safe and controlled manner, mainly in the form of rapemeal, wheatfeed, biscuitmeal, cake, bread, cereal products, starch extraction products and whey.

“Indeed 40-50% of the ingredients used in compound pig feed are by-products from the food and drink industry in one form or another. 

“During the past 10 years we in the pig industry have reduced the inclusion of soya by approximately half via supplementing rapemeal, peas and beans and distillers’ waste and continue to research other protein sources to reduce this further. And we are currently investigating additional safe food waste streams which could be utilised by the pig industry in future.”

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