New Texas Swine Feeding Law

Texas Animal Health Commission
Box l2966 *Austin, Texas 78711 *(800) 550-8242* FAX (512) 719-0719
Linda Logan, DVM, PhD* Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242,
ext. 710,  or

For Immediate Release--
New Texas Swine-Feeding Law Effective September 1;
Intended to Protect Against Foot-and-Mouth Disease

Texas pigs that are fed wastefood are going on a meat-free diet, when a new Texas law goes into effect September 1 that prohibits feeding to swine any waste food that may contain meat or any type of meat scraps.  Furthermore, it will be against the law to provide these products for feeding swine.

"This new law not only affects swine producers in Texas who feed waste food containing meat and meat scraps, but it will also change the way food processors, restaurants, schools, hospitals and other establishments dispose of food scraps, if they have allowed them to be picked up for wastefood feeding," said Dr. Linda Logan, Texas' state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state's livestock health regulatory agency.  She said only fruits, vegetables, dairy products and bakery goods are allowable food items.

"The state legislature's move to ban meat and meat scraps for swine feeding stemmed from the global spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the world's most costly and highly contagious livestock disease," said Dr. Logan.  "Since January 2000, more than 34 countries have battled FMD outbreaks.  The virus is most often introduced into a country by imported infected animals or in uncooked meat products derived from infected animals." (The virus can remain viable in uncooked meat products for long periods of time.)

She noted that the FMD virus does not affect human or horse health.  The virus causes blisters and sores in and around the mouth, teats and hooves of cloven-hooved animals, such as sheep, domestic and wild pigs, cattle, camels and deer.  Affected animals lose body condition and even after sores heal, the virus can remain and can be spread, causing new outbreaks. To eradicate the disease, affected and exposed animals are slaughtered, then buried or burned to prevent spread.

After September 1, no meat scraps will be allowed in waste foods fed to swine.  Allowable waste foods will be restricted to fruits, vegetables and bakery products, will not have to be cooked.  "Wastefood feeding permits and inspections will continue to be required to ensure  livestock health," said Dr. Logan.

In early August, the TAHC had more than 611 swine producers registered to feed waste food.  Of these, more than 69 percent currently feed wastefood containing meat or meat scraps, which, under current TAHC regulations, must be boiled for 30 minutes.  In a cooperative effort involving the TAHC and USDA, animal health inspectors check waste food feeding complexes for regulatory compliance every 30 to 45 days.
On August 22, the 12 governor-appointed TAHC commissioners will propose revised waste food feeding regulations that conform to the new Texas law.  The regulations will include the following long-standing provisions already in place:

1.   TAHC may require testing of all swine for livestock diseases prior to issuing producers a permit to feed wastefood to swine.

2.   Annual surveys will be conducted by a TAHC or USDA representative to determine disease risk on each registered location.

3.   Feral (wild) swine may not be fed at registered wastefood feeding locations.

"Despite the best efforts by federal agencies to inspect incoming luggage, mail and shipments of goods, some contaminated meat items could reach the U.S.," said Dr. Logan. "We needed a fire wall between potentially contaminated products and wastefood-fed pigs."

In Great Britain, animal health workers have slaughtered more than 3.7 million animals on more than 9,000 farms to stop a FMD outbreak that is thought to have started in late February when contaminated, imported meat products were fed to British swine.  Several TAHC veterinarians and a number of other U.S. regulatory, university and private practicing veterinarians have worked month-long stints on the disease eradication effort in Great Britain, through US Department of Agriculture funding.

"We've not had a FMD outbreak in the U.S. since l929, so our national corps of veterinarians haven't seen FMD field cases, unless they've worked in other countries," said Dr. Logan.   "Moreover, fighting FMD in another country is like fighting a forest fire.  You want to stamp it out to protect your own trees."

In case "fire walls" don't hold, Dr. Logan states that the TAHC is now a part of the state's emergency management system, thus enabling the TAHC to call draw on the manpower and resources of more than 30 state and local agencies, in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.  The TAHC has had two simulated exercises to test preparedness; the first in late 2000.  In late June 2001, more than 22 agencies, that are part of the Texas emergency management council participated in a simulated FMD outbreak in College Station.

For more information about waste food feeding requirements, regulations,  or emergency preparedness, contact the Texas Animal Health Commission at 1-800-550-8242.

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This Page was revised Monday, August 27, 2001

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