Are Your Leftovers Fit for a Pig?

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Feeding food waste to pigs could result in sicker pigs -- and sicker humans. Photo: MorgueFile/RicoRocks

Feeding food waste to pigs could result in sicker pigs — and sicker humans. Photo: MorgueFile/RicoRocks

Pigs and slop have gone together like ham and eggs for many years, but today there are debates about the age-old practice of feeding food waste to pigs. While the practice has its benefits — such as keeping food out of the landfills — it also has raised concerns about how healthy it is for the pigs.

“It’s a loaded argument,” says Bob Bard, an organic farmer and author of two books on healthy living. “If people were only eating healthy food and if the leftovers were cooked, I could agree with this. But pigs are already unhealthy because of the GMOs (genetically modified organisms) they are being fed along with massive amounts of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals. Feeding them food waste makes the pigs even more unhealthy, if that is possible.”

Today, most pigs raised for food production are housed in CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, according to Bard. Feeding them food waste exposes the animals to bacteria and other waste chemicals that their immune systems are not healthy enough to fight.

“They have no resistance to even normal bacteria,” he says.

Before food waste could be considered a viable alternative for feeding livestock, Bard says that humans would first have to improve their eating habits.

“If the food being eaten and wasted by people was healthy and non-GMO, without massive sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, drugs and heavy metals, then it might be a good idea,” he says.

“All this does is give us sicker pigs and even sicker people.”

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