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Food Safety

Control of Trichinella

Trichinella is a parasitic nematode worm that can cause disease (so-called trichinellosis) in people eating raw or undercooked meat from Trichinella-infected domestic animals or game.

The parasite may infect pigs, horses, wild boar, foxes, wolves, bears, skunks, raccoons, rats and other mammals including sea mammals and carnivore birds.

EU legislation establishes special rules for the control of trichinellosis including the requirement for systematic tests for Trichinella in all slaughtered pigs, wild boar and horses, except in pigs from holdings or compartments officially recognised as applying controlled housing conditions.

Regulation (EU) No 2015/1375 lays down specific rules on official controls for Trichinella.

Guidance on analytical methods can be found on the website of the EU Reference Laboratory for Parasites. The most important guidelines are:

In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 2016/1843, laboratories carrying out official Trichinella control might be derogated from accreditation under certain conditions. This derogation is made permanent from December 2019 on in accordance with Article 40(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) 2017/625, but guidelines on minimum recommendations for (derogated) official laboratories have been agreed on.

The following countries or regions may apply derogation from Trichinella testing in domestic pigs:

  • coming from a holding or compartment officially recognised as applying controlled housing conditions, based on

    • historical recognition as free of Trichinella in accordance with Article 3 (3)(c) of Regulation (EU) 2015/1375: Belgium and Denmark

    • compliance with the conditions laid down in Article 3 (3)(a) or (b) of Regulation (EU) 2015/1375: Finland, Italy and Northern Ireland*

  • complying with the conditions laid down in Article 3(2) of Regulation (EU) 2015/1375: Northern Ireland*

  • Switzerland in accordance with the specific conditions in Appendix 6 of Annex 11 to the Agreement of 21st June 1999 between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on trade in agricultural products (OJ L 114, 30.4.2002, p. 132).

* In accordance with the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 5(4) of the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland in conjunction with Annex 2 to that Protocol, for the purposes of this Annex, references to Member States include the United Kingdom in respect of Northern Ireland.