A new testing regime, applying to all pigs from non-controlled housing, is due to be introduced at the end of this month as part of EU controls related to the parasitic roundworm, trichinella.
Although the last case involving trichinella in meat produced in Great Britain was in 1977, the new regime will add to testing pressures for organic and free range systems, potentially having an impact on sales and marketing opportunities for producers in these sectors.
According to NPA chief executive Dr Zoe Davies, this is “EU legislation gone mad”, largely because there are no free range or outdoor pigs in most of Europe so “they don’t know how to deal with it and don’t understand how they work”.
“We’ve been trying to convince the European Commission that free range pigs are actually controlled because they can’t have access to infected meat and that this is how trichinella is spread,” she told Pig World. “We’ve also had these systems for a long time and we’ve not seen trichinella in humans since the 1970s.”
For the moment, however, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is working on guidelines for producers to identify whether or not pigs come from non-controlled housing. The result of that work isn’t expected until next year. In the meantime, according to the FSA, producers must “come to their own decision on the issue”.