Swine Disease

Last Modified: April 06, 2024
A large pig sits on top of hay in a fenced enclosure.

We prevent and control swine diseases to protect the health, quality, and marketability of U.S. pigs.

Swine Health Services and Activities

Biosecurity is a vital part of keeping your animals healthy. It reduces the chance of infectious disease entering or spreading on your farm.

There are actions you can take to protect pigs with outdoor access from diseases such as African swine fever:

  • Keep pigs healthy: Make sure your pigs are properly fed, have access to fresh water and clean sleeping areas, and vaccinated.
  • Buy or borrow from disease-free herds.
  • Keep pastures, housing, and your farm clean.
  • Keep wildlife and insects under control.
  • Don't carry disease home: Make sure visitors, pigs, and yourself are free of disease before entering your farm.
  • Write a farm biosecurity plan: Use it, review it, and update it.

Learn More

Garbage feeding has caused swine disease outbreaks in many countries around the world, which negatively impacted swine health and were costly to control. Congress passed the Swine Health Protection Act in 1980 to better protect our country’s swine herd.

APHIS works with States to enforce the Swine Health Protection Act, which provides rules for feeding human food waste to pigs. This practice, known as "garbage feeding," can spread harmful diseases to swine, including foreign animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever, and classical swine fever.


Under the Swine Health Protection Act, owners must be licensed in order to feed their pigs human food waste that contains or has had contact with meat, poultry, or fish. The requirement applies to all garbage collected from food production establishments like restaurants, school cafeterias, and food processing plants.

To kill any harmful viruses or bacteria, this food waste must be cooked to 212 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes before feeding it to the pigs. Licensed producers receive routine inspections from APHIS or State employees to make sure garbage fed to swine undergoes proper cooking and handling to prevent possible disease transmission.

Getting a License

The Swine Health Protection Act allows each State to determine whether garbage feeding is allowed within their State. Many States do not allow garbage feeding.

If a State allows garbage feeding, each producer must obtain a license before feeding any human food waste to their pigs. The licensing process requires the pig producer to demonstrate appropriate cooking and handling of garbage used to feed swine. The State also develops the structure for enforcing the Swine Health Protection Act in their State. In some States, this is handled by State employees. In other States, APHIS and State employees work together to enforce the Swine Health Protection Act.

View our map to check enforcement status by State (1.54 MB)

APHIS Wildlife Services conducts surveillance and research on dozens of wildlife diseases, including diseases associated with feral swine. For more information, visit our National Wildlife Disease Program and National Wildlife Research Center.

Our National Feral Swine Damage Management Program also offers related resources.