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USDA: Trichinae certification programme

The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is amending its regulations to establish a voluntary trichinae certification programme for US pork.

While Trichinella is extremely rare in the United States, APHIS' voluntary certification programme is designed to enhance the ability of producers to export pork and pork products overseas.  The European Union and other foreign markets require Trichinella testing for all imports of fresh pork and fresh pork products.

Trichinella is a parasitic species of worm found in many warm-blooded carnivores and omnivores, including swine. Transmission from one host to another only occurs by the ingestion of infected muscle tissue. The primary vector for Trichinella parasites in swine is the consumption of raw meat waste and, in some cases, the consumption of rodents or other animals.

Under the new programme, APHIS will certify pork production sites that follow good production practices that reduce, eliminate or avoid the risk of exposure of swine to Trichinella parasites. Good production practices include feed integrity (such as a clean and well known source of feed and proper feed storage) as well as facility construction and condition.

This voluntary certification programme offers American producers a set of guidelines to standardise their pork production methods and practices. The programme also offers overseas markets a USDA certification that Trichinella protections are in place at participating US farms without having to test every animal and every product.

Notice of this final rule is scheduled for publication in the Oct. 10 Federal Register and becomes effective Nov. 10.

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