Testing for Trichinella in pigs

Information for businesses on testing for Trichinella in pigs.

About the regulation

EU regulation 216/2014 that came into force in June 2014, bringing changes to the number of pigs tested for Trichinella and how these tests may be carried out has been superseded by EC 2015/1375.

We intend to continue to work with food business operators to get systems in place for the Trichinella testing regime described on EC 2015/1375, and expect the UK industry to become compliant with the new regulations.

Definition of controlled housing (See EC 2015/1375 Annex IV Chapter 1)

There is a useful degree of flexibility in the definition of controlled housing. Beside the general requirements relating to issues such as pest control and secure storage of feed, which carry over from the previous regulation, there is scope for pigs to have some access to outdoor facilities provided that the FBO can prove that this does not pose a danger for introducing Trichinella in the holding.

This means the food chain information accompanying the animals from the farm to the slaughterhouse will need to capture whether the pigs come from a controlled or non-controlled housing holding. The nature of the holding will then determine the testing requirements at the slaughterhouse. 

 The previous legislation has been brought together in one document EC2015/1375

Testing options for Trichinella

Businesses are able to choose between having the tests carried out by FSA-contracted suppliers, and setting themselves up as a self-tester.

FSA contracted suppliers

The FSA have contracts in place to carry out the laboratory testing of Trichinella, provision of the sampling kit and courier of the samples to the lab. For businesses choosing this option, the FSA pay for the cost of courier, kit and testing, but the carcases must be held pending a negative result. If the kill date of the animals can be notified to the courier the day before kill, then the samples will be collected and delivered and the results received by 6pm on the following day.

Setting up as a self-tester

If your business chooses to set itself up as a self-tester, you will have more control over the timescales for testing and courier. There are currently three ways of achieving this:

  • You can set up a laboratory within the slaughterhouse. You will pay the associated set up and on-going running costs, and the FSA will pay you 60p per sample tested. This option requires participation in the FSA's Quality Assurance scheme. However, the testing can be carried out on the day and if the results are negative, the carcases can be released a lot quicker.
  • You can use an already established self-testing laboratory in another slaughterhouse. This will be a private arrangement between yourself and the FBO of the slaughterhouse. You will be responsible for providing the sampling kit and the transport of the samples between the abattoirs. The existing self-tester will need to amend their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in agreement with the Official Vet to ensure that traceability of all the samples is maintained and will need to be able to demonstrate compliance with the FSA Quality Assurance Scheme. The FSA will pay you 60p per sample tested. Again, this may offer a quicker turnaround on testing and release of carcases than using the services provided by the FSA.
  • You may also set up a private arrangement with other United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited testing laboratories to carry out Trichinella testing. You will be responsible for the testing costs, sampling kit and transport of the samples to the lab. The FSA would pay 60p per sample tested. Again, this may allow a quicker turnaround of testing and carcase release that using the services provided by the FSA.

60p testing subsidy – an explanation

  • Option 1:  FBO 1 sets up a laboratory within the slaughterhouse. FBO 1 will pay the associated set up and on-going running costs, and the FSA will pay FBO 1, 60p per sample tested for their own animals only.  This option requires participation in the FSA's Quality Assurance scheme. However, the testing can be carried out on the day and if the results are negative, the carcases can be released a lot quicker.
  • Option 2: FBO 2 can use an already established self-testing laboratory in another slaughterhouse (FBO 1). This will be a private (financial) arrangement between FBO 2 and FBO 1 which may, or may not, be more than 60p per sample tested. FBO 2 will be responsible for providing the sampling kit and the transport of the samples between the abattoirs. The existing self-tester (FBO 1) will need to amend their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in agreement with the Official Vet to ensure that traceability of all the samples is maintained and will need to be able to demonstrate compliance with the FSA Quality Assurance Scheme. The FSA will pay FBO 2, 60p per sample tested. Again, this may offer a quicker turnaround on testing and release of carcases than using the services provided by the FSA.

Designated laboratory training requirements

Businesses hoping to become designated laboratories are required to undergo training on trichinella testing and compliance, as directed by the UK National Reference Laboratory (NRL) which is the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The NRL will perform an on-site assessment of lab facilities and the technical staff to ensure compliance and competence. You can find a process chart for the designation of self-testing labs in related items at the bottom of this page.

If designation is given, it is mandatory that the laboratory participates in and successfully completes the quarterly APHA Quality Assurance Units Proficiency Testing Scheme for Trichinella

If you would like further information on any of the options provided above, please email the SLA and Contract Team on sla.contracts@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk or call 01904 232093

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