Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Trichinella spiralis is a parasitic nematode (roundworm) which is found in many warm-blooded carnivores and omnivores, including pigs. Trichinella spiralis has a long standing association with pork products, not only in the U.S. but around the world. The concept which many people have about the need to cook pork thoroughly is based on the risk of becoming infected with this parasite. Despite the historical problems of trichinae and its association with the pork industry, major changes have occurred in the last 50 years. The dramatic declines in trichinae in pigs reflect changes in the industry. Recent research efforts and pilot studies involving the National Pork Producers Council, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the Agricultural Research Service and private industry and packer groups have resulted in development of a model for herd certification. This model includes certification of production practices which eliminate or minimize risk factors for transmission of trichinae to pigs along with systematic monitoring of the product (trichinae-free pigs). Today, with a small effort on the part of producers, packers and government, it may be possible to put this issue to rest.