Could a 400-μm mesh size sieve be used for Trichinella inspection at the slaughterhouse laboratory to facilitate pork export to third countries?

Franssen, Frits
Swart, Arno
van der Giessen, Joke
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Trichinellosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the nematode Trichinella through ingestion of raw or undercooked meat. In the European Union, the magnetic stirrer method (EU reference method, EU-RM) according to European regulation EC 2075/2005 is used for individual carcass control for Trichinella in pork. This method has been validated for the detection of live Trichinella muscle larvae (ML) and critical control points are well described. In international pig trade, different parts of the same carcass are shipped to countries both within and outside the EU. For export to countries outside the EU (third countries), meat producers may have to comply with regulations according to the food safety authorities of those countries, including the mandatory use of alternative equipment, such as a 400-μm mesh size sieve (sieve400), instead of a sieve with a mesh size of 180 μm (sieve180).

In its supervising role on the quality of Trichinella inspection at the slaughterhouse laboratories, the Dutch Reference Laboratory for Parasites (NRL-P) was asked to advise the Competent Authorities on the test sensitivity of a sieve400, the performance of which is currently unknown. We evaluated the performance of a sieve400, compared to a sieve180, using spiked pork samples (0 - 10 Trichinella muscle larvae per analytical portion) in three evaluation experiments.