Farmers who feed leftover food waste to pigs have been warned the illegal practice could see an influx of swine flu and foot-and-mouth.
The National Pig Association (NPA) jumped into action after The Great British Bake Off star Prue Leith confessed she used to pack up the baker’s leftovers and take them home as a treat for her neighbour’s pigs.
Speaking to the Telegraph, she said: “My neighbour keeps pigs, so they got the most amazing cakes and bread.
“Anyway the vet has banned that practice and said the pigs were getting too fat. They were already huge pigs.
“So now there is no more cake. But one of the cameramen has pigs and his vet has not said no.”
The NPA warned there was huge risk when feed catering waste, including leftovers with no meat, to pigs after previous incidents prompted linked to outbreaks of foot-and-mouth, Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and African Swine Fever (AFS).
The European Commission said the spread of ASF posed a ‘very serious risk to the European pig meat market’ and the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) singled out ASF as its biggest exotic disease concern.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “We simply cannot stress enough the risk posed to the pig industry by the feeding of waste food to pigs.
“The reality is that this is the most likely route for devastating diseases like ASF to get into our domestic pig population. An outbreak of ASF, or other diseases circulating around the world like FMD or CSF, would be catastrophic for the pig industry and the wider farming community.
“Most commercial farmers understand this, but as Prue Leith’s comments highlight, the message still is not getting through to members of the public, including those who keep small numbers of livestock and apparently their vets.”