This policy brief outlines the environmental, economic and safety considerations of reforming EU law to enable surplus food containing meat to be fed to omnivorous non-ruminant livestock like pigs, in order to drive food waste valorisation through animal feed.
The EC’s Circular Economy Action Plan sets out to increase the use of surplus from the food chain in livestock feed without compromising feed and food safety. The European Parliament‘s own-initiative report on food waste notes the potential for the use of food and by-products discarded from the food chain, in particular those of animal origin, in feed production.
Building on advice from microbiologists, epidemiologists, veterinarians and pig nutritionists, the REFRESH technical guidelines on animal feed set out the key principles for producing safe feed from surplus food.
To ensure safety, only omnivorous non-ruminant livestock should be allowed feed made from surplus food that may contain meat. Such feed should be sourced exclusively from specialist licensed treatment plants located off-farm and subject to stringent controls regarding heat treatment, acidification, and biosecurity to ensure the feed is free from disease
Surplus food feeds could reduce farmer feed costs, land use for European livestock farming, carbon emissions, and deforestation from soy imports. From a food security perspective, surplus food feeds provide an opportunity to decouple some of Europe’s feed supply from global agricultural commodity prices.
Bowman, M. and Luyckx, K. 2019. “Avoiding food waste through feeding surplus food to omnivorous non-ruminant livestock” EU Horizon 2020 REFRESH.