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Trichinella

Trichinosis is a disease caused by the larvae of a small parasitic worm which can affect both animals and humans.
Last updated

How you are infected

People become infected by eating raw, undercooked or processed meat from pigs, wild boar, horses or game animals that contain the parasite.

The infection can cause symptoms of:

  • diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps
  • general feeling of illness

If it is not treated it can cause:

  • fever
  • muscle pain
  • headaches

In severe cases it can affect vital organs and even lead to death.

How animals are infected

Animals become infected when they ingest meat containing the parasitic worm.

In pigs, the sources of infection can happen when feed has been contaminated with dead wildlife such as rodents.

There are requirements for testing trichinella in pigs set out in law.

To prevent infected meat from pigs and other relevant species entering the human food chain, testing is required in the UK.

Trichinella in feral wild boar

Wild boars that are not farmed are classified as ‘feral’.

When wild boar scavenge for food, the food they eat could be contaminated with trichinella increasing the risk of infection.

Feral wild boar that have been shot by hunters and are supplied directly to consumers or local retailers, need to be tested for trichinella.

Testing helps protect consumers from eating infected meat.

We supply guidance and technical information for hunters on testing feral wild boar for trichinella that explains how samples should be taken and sent.

 

Important

EU references in FSA guidance documents

The FSA is updating all EU references, to accurately reflect the law now in force, in all new or amended guidance published since the Transition Period ended at the end of 2020. In some circumstances it may not always be practicable for us to have all EU references updated at the point we publish new or amended guidance. 

Other than in Northern Ireland, any references to EU Regulations in this guidance should be read as meaning retained EU law. You can access retained EU law via HM Government EU Exit Web Archive. This should be read alongside any EU Exit legislation that was made to ensure retained EU law operates correctly in a UK context. EU Exit legislation is on legislation.gov.uk.  In Northern Ireland, EU law will continue to apply in respect to the majority of food and feed hygiene and safety law, as listed in the Northern Ireland Protocol, and retained EU law will not apply to Northern Ireland in these circumstances.