Trichinella: Advice for hunters selling feral pig or wild boar meat
If you are a hunter 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 provide 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.
How to test for Trichinella
- It is quick and easy to test meet for Trichinella and is free of charge. You can order your free sampling kit from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or make an enquiry at NRL.Parasitology@apha.gov.uk
- To test, you need to send 60-100g of diaphragm meat in the bags provided in the kit. You can refrigerate samples for a few days if need be, but do not freeze them.
- Samples are tested on the day they arrive at the lab, with results sent out on the same day of the test.
- Whilst waiting for your results you should refrigerate the carcass at a temperature below 7°C. Meat can enter the food chain if the test result is negative.
- 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
Advice for Hunters
If you are hunting wild boar or feral pigs to supply meat for human consumption, we strongly recommend you have the meat tested prior to consumption, and consider the risks from untested meat.
- In supplying untested meat for human consumption you could be presenting a risk to human health, which could result in mild to severe symptoms in those consuming the meat, or could even be fatal to them.
- By testing, you are protecting others from potentially consuming infected meat. This information will also be useful in providing national surveillance data relating to infection in wildlife.
- You are also maintaining a reputation as a reliable seller with those buying meat from you.
For more information on Trichinella testing please contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency at: NRL.Parasitology@apha.gov.uk