Trichinella: Advice for butchers selling feral pig or wild boar meat
If you are a butcher selling feral pig or wild boar meat, it is important that you know the risks associated with Trichinella, and take appropriate steps to ensure that the meat you sell is safe for human consumption.
What is Trichinella?
- Trichinella refers to several species of parasitic roundworm that cause trichinosis.
- Humans can become infected by Trichinella through eating raw, undercooked, or processed meats from pigs, wild boar, horses, or game which contain these microscopic larval worms.
- Trichinella is rare in the UK, but testing is still important to prevent infected meat entering the food chain.
Symptoms of Trichinosis
Symptoms include: diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and sickness. In certain cases it can cause fever, muscle pain and headaches, and in very severe cases vital organs may be affected which can cause meningitis, pneumonia or can even prove fatal.
All swine, domesticated or wild and intended for human consumption, should be tested for Trichinella unless reared on farms (in relation to domesticated swine) operating controlled housing under retained regulation 2015/1375. It is strongly advised that feral pigs or wild boar carcasses are tested for Trichinella to prevent consumption of food which is injurious to health and to ensure all stages of production are safe.
Advice for Butchers
- There are serious risks associated with selling pork of a doubtful origin or which hasn't had the proper testing to assess that it is safe for human consumption.
- There may be instances where local hunters offer to sell you wild boar meat. If this meat is untested then it may contain Trichinella, and this could cause illness in your customers and presents a risk to their health. These symptoms range from mild to severe, and in some cases may be fatal.
- The best way to prevent illness from Trichinella is by ensuring that infected meat doesn't reach the consumer in the first place.
- In the event of a person becoming infected with Trichinella from this purchased meat, your business would likely be negatively affected, and would be subject to further audit and scrutiny.
- To avoid an incident of this nature, the best preventative action is to only buy meat from hunters if it has tested negative for Trichinella.
To protect your business from being the source of infection, make sure that the pork products that you purchase or stock have been tested for Trichinella.
A similar leaflet is available for hunters and provides more information on how to test for Trichinella.
The Animal Health and Plant Agency (APHA) has developed guidance for hunters on testing feral wild boar for trichinella that explains how samples should be taken. To find out more visit: Food Standards Scotland
For more information on Trichinella testing please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency at: NRL.Parasitology@apha.gov.uk