Scientific Opinion on Composting and incineration of dead-on-farm pigs


Panel on Biological Hazards
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2012;10(2):2559 [11 pp.].
Panel Members
Olivier Andreoletti, Herbert Budka, Sava Buncic, John D Collins, John Griffin, Tine Hald, Arie Havelaar, James Hope, Günter Klein, Kostas Koutsoumanis, James McLauchlin, Christine Müller-Graf, Christophe Nguyen-The, Birgit Noerrung, Luisa Peixe, Miguel Prieto Maradona, Antonia Ricci, John Sofos, John Threlfall, Ivar Vågsholm and Emmanuel Vanopdenbosch

The Panel wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on Assessment of Animal By-Products: Avelino Álvarez-Ordóñez, Reinhard Böhm, John Griffin and Christophe Nguyen-The for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion.

Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
French Competent Authority
Question Number
26 January 2012
Published in the EFSA Journal
13 February 2012
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

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.

Animal By-Products, alternative methods, on-site treatment, composting, incineration, dead-on-farm pigs
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