International food standards body agrees freer stance on trichinella testing

New guidelines on the control of the parasitic roundworm, trichinella, as it relates to pigmeat have been agreed by the international food standards body, CODEX Alimentarius.

Adopting a risk-based approach to the issue, CODEX has agreed that pigmeat from areas where trichinella presents a “negligible risk” can be traded without extensive testing.

“Laws requiring intensive carcass testing to ensure meat is not infected with trichinella have been part of veterinary public health practices for more than a century,” said CODEX after a major alimentarius commission meeting in Geneva. “However, in areas where the risk of pigs carrying trichinella is negligible, farmers are no longer required to test each individual carcass.”

The organisation, in confirming its adoption of risk-based guidelines to ensure that all pigmeat is safe, added that this would help free up food control resources to be used where they are most needed.

“Pigmeat from negligible risk areas can be traded without extensive testing,” it added, “whereas carcasses from areas where trichinella may infect pigs will continue to be tested rigorously.”

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