The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will phase out the practice of its sanitation teams collecting kitchen refuse as feed for hog farms beginning Jan. 1 next year, EPA Minister Chang Kuo-lung (
Chang said the decision was made at the request of the Council of Agriculture as a measure to prevent possible swine diseases from spreading.
EPA statistics show that the nation's 25 counties and cities generate about 45,000 tonnes of kitchen refuse, of which 70 percent is fed to pigs and the remaining 30 percent becomes compost to be used as fertilizer.
Chang said that although the refuse is pasteurized with high temperatures before being fed to pigs, there is no guarantee that the method can prevent all hog-related diseases. He said Taiwan's NT$40 billion (US$1.23 billion) hog-raising industry cannot afford the outbreak of a swine plague.
Chang admitted that the nation's 21 compost-processing plants, with a combined handling capacity of 450 tonnes a day, cannot cope with the 1,400 tonnes of kitchen refuse collected each day. It is, therefore, unlikely that the EPA will impose a total ban on swill feeding.
But he said the practice will be phased out eventually, with kitchen refuse to be recycled as compost.
This, however, does not affect contracted collection by private sanitation companies, he said.
Swill feeding of swine is popular in many countries as a way to lower production costs, but the practice is known to be a risk that can cause diseases such as hoof and mouth, African swine fever and classical swine fever.