China bans feeding of food waste to hogs in provinces with African swine fever

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned the use of food waste as pig feed in provinces that have reported African swine fever outbreaks as well as neighboring regions, the agriculture ministry said on Thursday, the latest measure to try to halt the spread of the disease.

The use of pig blood as a raw material in producing feed for pigs has also been banned, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement online.

The ministry will also require producers of pig feed to submit samples for testing, with any feed testing positive for the virus required to be recalled from the market and destroyed.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that cannot be cured and has no vaccine. It can also be transmitted in pork products, animal feed or by people.

(For graphic on swine fever in China, click

China has reported 13 outbreaks of the disease in six provinces since early August, mostly on small farms. It has banned the transport of live animals from the infected provinces as well as neighboring regions to contain the spread, halting trade across the country and sending prices in some areas soaring.

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It has also shuttered live markets in 16 provinces, which will largely hurt small pig farmers.

Banning the use of kitchen waste for pig farmers would also hurt the small farmers, who often resort to scraps to cut costs, particularly when pig prices are low.

By law, food waste must be heat-treated to kill any bacteria or disease that could infect pigs but that process is often skipped to save costs.

The ministry said that farmers must ensure that all food waste used for pigs in provinces not impacted by the disease be heated before being used.

Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger