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Feeding food waste to pigs could save vast swathes of threatened forest and savannah - new research by Erasmus zu Ermgassen

last modified May 16, 2016 04:24 PM

Feeding food waste to pigs could save vast swathes of threatened forest and savannah

New research suggests that feeding our food waste, or swill, to pigs (currently banned under EU law) could save 1.8 million hectares of global agricultural land – an area roughly half the size of Germany, including hundreds of thousands of acres of South America’s biodiverse forests and savannahs – and provide a use for the 100 million tonnes of food wasted in the EU each year.

"It is time to reassess whether the EU’s blanket ban on the use of food waste as feed is the right thing for the pig industry" - Erasmus zu Ermgassen

A new study shows that if the European Union lifted the pigswill ban imposed following 2001’s foot-and-mouth disease epidemic, and harnessed technologies developed in East Asian countries for ‘heat-treating’ our food waste to safely turn it into pig feed, around 1.8 million hectares of land could be saved from being stripped for grain and soybean-based pig feed production – including over quarter of a million hectares of Brazilian forest and savannah.

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Erasmus zu Ermgassen’s research is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Erasmus K.H.J. zu Ermgassen, et al. "Reducing the land use of EU pork production: where there’s swill, there’s a way" Food Policy Vol 58 (January 2016).
DOI:10.1016/j.foodpol.2015.11.001