FAD Transmission Greater in Garbage-Fed Swine

The U.S. pork industry has come a long way in its focus on disease-risk mitigation. However, 28 states still allow some type of garbage feeding to swine. It is currently deemed acceptable by the USDA’s Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service when strict protocols are followed. However, there is a potential risk of foreign animal disease transmission with this practice. Dave Pyburn is senior vice president of science and technology for the Pork Checkoff. He says the practice of garbage feeding pigs in the U.S. is a holdover from the past. “We used to feed many more hogs this way than we do now,” he says. “The important thing is that if a producer does decide to do this type of feeding where it’s allowed, they must do so by strictly sticking to the guidelines from APHIS. Pyburn says there are three key practices that can help reduce the risk of disease spread. Producers should make sure the cooked and the uncooked product is kept separate so there isn’t cross contamination. Producers need to make sure the equipment used for the cooked product is not contaminated with the uncooked product. They must ensure that all garbage is heated up to a treatment level of 212 degrees Fahrenheit (boiling) for 30 minutes. Pyburn says the pork checkoff would like to see garbage feeding to swine done sparingly. “From a disease standpoint, it’s critical that anyone who is using this feeding method do so with the utmost attention to the exact regulations. It could mean the difference between keeping the country free of foreign animal disease or not.”