Scientific Opinion on Composting and incineration of dead-on-farm pigs
A method for on-farm processing of Category (Cat) 2 Animal By-Products (ABP) alternative to the ones already approved in the current legislation was assessed. The materials to be treated are placentas and dead-on-farm pigs. The proposed process consists of three sequential steps, i.e. composting, storage of mature compost and incineration of mature compost in authorized plants. The applicant identified the main biological, physical and chemical hazards that could be present in the material to be treated and in the compost substrate. Since the compost is only intended for incineration the applicant considered that the final step of the process would destroy all the relevant microbiological hazards and did not perform an experimental validation. The temperatures reached during composting are not able to inactivate the relevant hazards that could be present in the material to be processed and the compost has still to be regarded as a Cat. 2 ABP material. Therefore, pathogens may be disseminated during composting and storage which are the key steps for risk containment. The alternative method as proposed by the applicant was not performed in a closed system, which implies a risk of dissemination of biological hazards throughout the farm environment. Major deficiencies were noted in relation to the risk containment. Moreover, a formal HACCP plan was not provided, and some deficiencies were also noted in the identification of interdependent processes. Provided that the deficiencies identified are addressed and the composting and storage steps of the proposed process take place in a closed system under supervision, it was concluded that this alternative treatment would not pose an additional risk as compared to the processes currently approved in the legislation.