The Swine Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 3801, et seq.), enacted in 1980, regulates food waste fed to swine and helps ensure that it is properly treated to kill disease causing organisms. According to USDA,
The Swine Health Protection Act (SHPA) regulates food waste containing any meat products fed to swine. Compliance with this act ensures that all food waste fed to swine is properly treated to kill disease organisms. Raw meat may transmit numerous infectious or communicable diseases to swine, including exotic animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever, and classical swine fever. In accordance with the SHPA and Federal regulations, food waste containing meat may only be fed to swine if it has been treated to kill disease organisms.
This practice has long been touted as an environmentally friendly way to feed hogs. See, i.e., “Recycled food waste in pig diets can reduce environmental footprint,” published in NationalHogFarmer, April 19, 2018.
As evidenced most recently in Oklahoma, in the wake of concerns about the potential global spread of African Swine Fever, states have increasingly banned this practice—even though the laws mandate cooking to eliminate infectious agents before feeding. The Oklahoma State Veterinarian stated that “[g]arbage feeding increases the risk of foreign animal disease transmission to the swine industry . . . Outdoor domestic swine generally do not have strong biosecurity or fencing. This creates an increased risk for diseases to spread to the feral hog population as well.” See “Swine garbage feeding to be prohibited in Oklahoma starting November 1,” posted 10:44 AM, September 5, 2019, by K. Butcher, updated at 11:21 AM, September 5, 2019.
Historically most swine operations feeding recycled food house hogs outside. New Jersey, one of the states still permitting such practices (though use has declined significantly) requires compliance with strict provisions that keep animals and people safe. See Subchapter 4. Swine Disease Control, which includes the following provisions:
2:2–4.1 USDA Swine Health Protection Act Adopted, Supplemented
2:2–4.2 Compliance with Statute and Rules for License Issuance
2:2–4.3 Minimum Floor Space
2:2–4.4 Drainage of Buildings
2:2–4.5 Facilities for Out-of-State Animal Shipments
2:2–4.6 Water Supply
2:2–4.7 Garbage Truck Specifications
2:2–4.8 Equipment for Certain Operations
2:2–4.9 Size and Construction of Vats, Containers and Covers
2:2–4.11 Period for Accomplishing Heat Treatment of Garbage
2:2–4.12 Holding Areas/Containers for Untreated Garbage
2:2–4.13 Fuel Supply
2:2–4.14 Facility for Temperature Determination and Inspection
2:2–4.15 Garbage Spillage
2:2–4.16 Garbage Feeding on Ground
2:2–4.17 Trash on Premises; Storage; Removal
2:2–4.18 Feeding Platforms 2:2–4.18 Feeding Platforms
2:2–4.19 Solid Waste Disposal
2:2–4.20 Liquid Wastes
2:2–4.21 Dead Animal Removal
2:2–4.22 Rodent and Insect Control
2:2–4.25 2:2–4.25 Premises Concentrating Swine for Public Sales Construed as Livestock Market
2:2–4.26 Quarantine of Premises Suspected of Hog Cholera Infection
2:2–4.27 Notice of Hog Cholera Illness
2:2–4.28 Removal of Swine Dead of Hog Cholera; Construction of Trucks
2:2–4.29 Cleaning and Disinfecting Trucks
2:2–4.30 Investigation of Suspected Hog Cholera; Access to Premises
2:2–4.31 Indemnity for Swine Destroyed by Hog Cholera
2:2–4.32 Swine Consigned to Livestock Markets
2:2–4.33 Quarantine of Swine After Sale
2:2–4.34 Disinfecting Following Sale of Swine
2:2–4.35 Indemnity of Infected Swine in Sale Market
2:2–4.36 Authority of Secretary of Agriculture or His or Her Agents
2:2–4.37 Swine Pseudorabies Vaccination
Feeding swine recycled human food predates the enactment of the Swine Health Protection Act, and the practice was expressly exempted from the prohibitions New Jersey tried to impose on Philadelphia— banning the importation of garbage—held invalid under the commerce clause in City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey, 98 S.Ct. 2531 (1978).
According to USDA, currently 22 states prohibit such feeding practices, but Oklahoma’s News 4 reported that Oklahoma would become the 24th state to ban the practice.
Regardless, this environmentally-friendly alternative appears to be on its way out.