The Pigs and Bacon Act provided for the regulation of the business of the pigs and bacon industry.

Registers of minor curers and pork butchers were established.  The premises and persons undertaking the business were to be registered. Conditions are imposed on registration. Fees are payable in respect of registration.

Returns were required.  Premises were subject to inspection, and records must be kept.  Provision was made for a change of legislation on the death or transfer of a business.  The licences could be cancelled on certain bases.

The Act provided for the licensing of persons and businesses engaged in curing bacon and slaughtering.  There are conditions concerning cleanliness, structural suitability of the premises, facilities, equipment, appliances, et cetera.


The premises must be situated in such a position and used in such a manner as to prevent exposure of pig’s carcasses or bacon to any effluvium or source of contamination.  The premises must be structurally suitable for their purpose and have adequate facilities for veterinary examination, antemortem and post-mortem.

There must be facilities for the penning and resting of pigs before slaughter, and prescribed plant and equipment facilities for the proper disposal of blood.  Persons must be employed who are skilled in relation to the slaughtering of pigs.

There must be suitable and adequate facilities for the proper disposal of washings waste and effluent.  There must be an adequate supply of good and wholesome water.  There must be suitable and adequate facilities for the veterinary examination of carcasses.

Certificates, marks, records and equipment must be secured.

Licences Transfer & Records

Licences may pass on death or by transfer.  There are provisions for revocation of licenses on various grounds, including cessation of use, failure to comply with conditions, and insolvency of licence holder. There were fair procedure provisions in relation to the procedure for the determination of licenses.

License holders are required to make returns and keep records.  The records and licences were to be published, including details of changes in the register.


Inspectors have wide powers to inspect licensed premises, cold stores, warehouses,  et cetera.  Inspectors may inspect bacon which has been consigned.

Premises are open to inspection by the department inspector, veterinary inspectors and examiners at all reasonable times.  Inspectors may inspect unlicensed premises. Officers of the sanitary authority are entitled to access to licensed premises at all times.

Notices can be served to require rectification works in respect of the failure of compliance by the premises, methods, operations, et cetera.  Where the notice requires certain work, the license holder is authorised to undertake the works notwithstanding the breach of a lease, license, et cetera.

Persons who are carriers of diseases may not be employed on the premises.  The legislation provided that workmen at the premises should not be paid lower than the generally recognised rate.

It is an offence to cure bacon or sell it unless one is a license holder. Provision is made for the manner of the slaughter of pigs and the production of bacon at the premises.  This may specify details as to the m manner of slaughter and disposal of offals, dressing of bacon et cetera the method of curing and treating carcasses, use of preservatives may be specified.


Regulations can be made in relation to the packing of bacon and its transportation. Provision is made for the veterinary inspection and certification of pigs, carcasses and bacon.  The minister appointed veterinary surgeons and inspectors.The Minister prescribes details of the veterinary examination requirements.

There are regulations for the marking of carcasses and bacon by veterinary examiners.  The marking certifies compliance and fitness for human consumption and confirms conformity with the regulations and various other matters.

Regulations may be made for the classification and grading of carcasses.  Marking instruments and consignment certificates must not be interfered or altered.

Carcasses and bacon found unfit for human consumption must be disposed of. Veterinary surgeons must notify diseases.

There are regulations for marking of bacon by licensees. There is a provision for grading bacon products in licensed premises.  Grading marks may be applied.


The Department may require a consignment certificate to accompany bacon certifying issued by the veterinary examiner certifying particulars of the lot. Bacon may not be received into licensed premises unless consigned from another licensed premise or from a cold store.

Bacon may not be exported unless exported from licensed premises, cold stores, sealed containers, certain small lots or under a separate licence.  Bacon may not be consigned from licensed premises unless it complies with regulations and has been marked by the veterinary examiner,  graded and accompanied by a consignment certificate.

Carriers who breach the conditions are guilty of an offence unless they have no reasonable means of knowing.  The provisions of the customs act are applied in respect of the exportation of bacon as aforesaid.

Control of Market

The original legislation provided for the control of the market and the imposition of quotas, subsidies, bounties et cetera to regulate the market. The Pigs and Bacon Act 1937 made further provisions for the regulation of the market, including penalties for underproduction and overproduction quotas, penalties or breaching quotas.

Later legislation in the 1950s, the Pigs and Bacon Act Amendment Act 1950, confirmed powers to set minimum and maximum price orders.


The original legislation provided for the establishment of a Bacon Marketing Board and the Pigs Marketing Board.  The Bacon Marketing Board has powers to undertake research, and promote pigs and bacon.  The Boards were financed by levies on carcasses.

The Pigs and Bacon Act 1939 established the Pigs and Bacon Commission.  It abolished the Bacon Marketing Board and the Pigs marketing board and transferred their assets to the commission.

Levies were payable to the Commission.  The Commission paid license holder subsidies on export.  It had the power to fix different rates of subsidy and prices. The Commission was given powers to require returns by license holders.

Later Developments

The Pigs and Bacon Amendment Act 1961 provided regulations for the pre-packaging of bacon and other pig meat for sale by retail.  It provided for the granting and revocation of pre-packaging licenses, attachment of conditions, and description of the method and manner of pre-packaging bacon, including wrapping materials.

The Commission was given further powers in relation to developing markets for bacon and other pig meat products.  It had the power to provide assistance financial or otherwise towards the promotion of pig meat.

Effect of EEC

In Pigs & Bacon Commission v. McCarren & Co. the European Court decided,  having regard to the provisions of the Treaty relating to the free movement of goods, Regulation No. 2759/75 must be interpreted as meaning that a national system is incompatible with the common organization of the market in pigmeat where the object of that system is to permit a central marketing agency vested by law with the power to charge a levy on the whole of the production of a commodity coming under the common organization of the market, such as pig carcasses intended for the production of bacon,
(a) to effect, from the proceeds of the receipts from the levy, the payment of bonuses for certain products intended to be marketed in the Common Market or exported to non-member countries;
(b) to inflict a financial disadvantage on any producer, who is compelled to pay the production levy, by reason of the fact that he effects his sales directly without availing himself of the intermediary or of the services of the central marketing agency.

The levy demanded within the framework of a marketing system having the above-mentioned characteristics is not due from producers to the extent to which it is devoted to purposes incompatible with the requirements of the Treaty on the free movement of goods and with the common organization of the market.


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