[Translate to english:] Trichinen


Investigation of meats for trichinella:

Trichinella (nematodes of the Trichinella genus) are nematodes that can occur as parasites in the flesh of animals such as domestic swine, wild boar, foxes and other animals. They can also be transmitted to humans by the consumption of insufficiently cooked meat. This can lead to serious health consequences. For weakened patients, infestation of the heart muscle could lead to death. 

In Switzerland, investigation for trichinella is a component of the official meat inspection in accordance with Article 31 of the VSFK (Ordinance over the Slaughter of Livestock and Meat Inspection). In the VSFK, Article 49 stipulates that the analyses may only be carried out in accredited laboratories. 

For meat exports in the EU, the Ordinance (EG) No. 2075/2005 regulates that all slaughtered pigs must be inspected for trichinella. 

Are you looking for an accredited Swiss contract laboratory to test the safety of your pork? 

We will analyse your samples quickly, competently and reliably. 

Do you have any questions regarding the examination for trichinella in the import and export of meats? Would you like to know how to get your samples to us as quickly as possible or what quantity of samples you should send to us?

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Your contact person
Head of Order Management Food & Feed Services

Sascha Theobald

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The appearance and proliferation of trichinella

The classical transmission path for trichinella is the pig. The occurrence of trichinella in pig meat is however very much dependent on the land of origin.

In Switzerland, there has not been a known case of trichinella infection for more than a century. The population of domestic pigs and wild boars is free from trichinella, but lynxes and foxes are heavily infected.

In the surrounding countries, individual cases of trichinella infestations occur, and cases of infection are particularly frequent in the countries of Eastern Europe and in Spain.

Pig breeding: Investigation for trichinella as a component of official meat inspection
Pig breeding: Investigation for trichinella as a component of official meat inspection

Analytical evidence of trichinella

Detection of parasites in meat is performed in most cases by a digestion of the muscles of the diaphragm with hydrochloric acid and pepsin.

In this process, pooled samples (samples from 35 pigs of 1 gram in automated digestion methods) are analysed. The indigestible larvae remain behind, are filtered and can be identified microscopically.

How sensitive are the detection methods?

The sensitivity of the detection methods using digestion is around one trichinella larva per gram of muscular tissue. In the case of positive findings, the final validation and identification of the type is performed using PCR.

Measures to be taken for meat safety

The number of cases of trichinellosis has declined considerably wherever systematic measures have been implemented. In accordance with the prescribed meat hygiene regulations, the investigation for trichinella in pigs, wild boar, horses, bears and coypu is legally mandated. Trichinella infested animal carcasses are classified as being unfit for human consumption. For other animal species which are potential carriers of trichinella, it is recommended to carry out testing corresponding to the level of risk.

Special regulations for meat for export or that has been imported

Meat that is intended for export to other EU countries must be fully verified. 
Imports from non-EU countries require caution as no obligatory meat inspections take place for home-based or one-off slaughterings. If necessary, an inspection from the Veterinary Office of the respective administrative authority should be performed and is also recommended.


Our services in detail:

  • Consultation on trichinella identification
  • Trichinella identification
  • Additional services are according to the directory of services or upon request.
Trichinella: Nematodes under the optical microscope
Trichinella: Nematodes under the optical microscope

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