BPEX gives interim guidance on controlled housing for trichinella

Guidance for producers concerning how to decide whether or not their pigs are being kept in non-controlled housing conditions, and must therefore be tested for trichinella, has been drawn up by BPEX.

Having worked on the issue in conjunction with the NPA and the Food Standards Agency, however, BPEX points out that this is still an interim document and that producers will be given official guidance in the New Year.

The key points are as follows:

  • Pigs that have some access to outdoor facilities could now fall under the umbrella of controlled housing conditions subject to a risk assessment carried out by producers.
  • At present there is no official guidance that provides a framework for the risk assessment. In the meantime FSA advises farmers to use their judgment to decide if their pigs come from controlled housing.
  • FSA’s position is that pigs that spend their entire life outside such as free range pigs are very unlikely to meet the definition of controlled housing conditions.
  • Once the FSA risk assessment framework and guidance becomes available, producers who need to revisit their assessment will receive no penalties against them, as long as reasonable judgement has been used to qualify ‘controlled housing’ in their case. 

As for possible classifications, rated on a yes, likely and unlikely basis concerning their controlled housing status, the guidance document states:

  • Fully housed – pigs that are born, reared and finished indoors – yes.
  • Outdoor bred – pigs that are born outside, in fields where they are kept until weaning – yes.
  • Outdoor reared  – pigs that are born outside in fields, where they are reared for approximately half their life (defined as at least 30kg) – likely.
  • Free range and organic – pigs that are born outside, in fields and remaining outside until they are sent for processing – unlikely. 

The document can be downloaded via the link below:

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