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Testing for trichinella in pigs

The way pigs must be tested for trichinella before entering the food chain.

All breeding pigs (sows and boars) must be tested for trichinella. If you are not raising pigs in controlled housing then these must also be tested before they can go into the human food chain.

Self testing and self-testing labs

The rules for the trichinella testing of pigs are set out in retained EU law, regulation 2015/1375.

Controlled housing sets out standards such as pest control and safe feed storage to reduce the risk of pigs getting trichinella.

UK law allows your businesses to set up a self-testing lab. This means you can test the pigs yourself to make sure they do not have trichinella.

As a self-testing slaughterhouse you will have more control over the timescales for testing that suit you better.

Testing can be carried out on the day of slaughter. If trichinella is not found, the carcases can then be released.

You can set up a laboratory within your slaughterhouse but you will need to pay the set up and running costs.

To set up a self-testing lab you have to take part in:

  • training on trichinella testing provided by the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for parasites
  • our Quality Assurance scheme


View Animal and Plant Health's National Reference Laboratory for Trichinella and Echinococcus 

Testing services

For businesses who are not self-testing, we have a lab in place that can carry out trichinella testing.

We provide the testing service that includes the sampling kit and the courier needed to get samples to the testing lab. The service is called the FSA Quality Assurance Scheme.

If the pigs are not for export, we will pay for the:

  • courier
  • sampling kit
  • testing

The pig carcases must be held until the test shows the pigs don’t have trichinella.

Samples can be collected on the day the pig is slaughtered if contacted in advance. The results will then be sent back by 6pm on the following day.

Using other testing labs

You can use an existing self-testing lab in another slaughterhouse but this will be a private arrangement between businesses.

The Official Vet at the self-testing slaughterhouse will have to agree with this to make sure that all of the samples are maintained and traceable. The official vet will also be checking that compliance with the FSA Quality Assurance Scheme continues.

The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents at both slaughterhouses need to include this information.

If you use another self-testing lab you will be responsible for providing:

  • the sampling kit
  • transport of testing
  • cost of testing 

A slaughterhouse can also set up a private testing arrangement with other UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited testing lab. Again, you will be responsible for the:

  • costs of the sampling kit
  • transport
  • testing

Subsidy for testing

We will subsidise the trichinella testing for sows and boars and pigs not raised in controlled housing if you are not using our contracted testing lab. We will not subsidise testing that is not required in the UK, such as additional testing that may be required for export.

For a lab within the slaughterhouse, we will pay 60p per sample tested for your own animals only.

When you are using an existing self-testing lab in another slaughterhouse or UKAS accredited lab this is a private financial arrangement between your businesses. We will pay 60p per sample tested to the slaughterhouse providing the samples only.

If you would like further information on any of the testing options provided above, please email the SLA and Contract Team.