As part of the National Trichinae Research Project, a certification program has been developed to move U.S. domestic pork products closer to carrying a “trichinae-safe” label.

You can gain more insight into the effort and what’s involved by turning to the Perspective column on page 46 of this issue.

A significant component for pork producers will be the voluntary Trichinae Certification Program. Within that program will be an auditing process, which will help ensure that your herd is trichinae-safe and it will verify that status to pork’s customers at home and abroad.

Veterinarian Dave Pyburn is the National Trichinae Coordinator for USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service. He offers the following outline of the Good Production Practices involved with the program. They will be the basis for the on-farm audit. The GPPs are designed to eliminate the possibility for swine to become infected with Trichinella. 

1.  All non-breeding swine greater than 5 weeks of age that are transported to the site must originate from a certified pork production site. This information needs to be documented in the site’s animal-movement record.

2.  Feed or feed ingredient sources must meet Good Manufacturing Practices or quality assurance standards recognized by the feed industry. Verification documentation must be available at the production site.

3.  Feed supplies must be prepared, maintained and handled such that the feed is protected from possible rodent or wildlife exposure and contamination. The site must have an up-to-date rodent-control logbook documenting these practices.

4.  Rodent and wildlife exclusion and control measures must be of a level that fresh signs of activity are not observed in the swine unit as well as the feed preparation and storage areas. You will need to maintain an up-to-date rodent-control logbook with coordinating site diagrams or maintain comparable records from a Pest-control Operator. All records are updated at least monthly.  Domesticated animals, including pets shall be excluded from the swine unit and feed preparation and storage areas at all times.

5.  Wildlife carcasses are not intentionally fed to swine.  Swine must not have access to wildlife harborage or carcasses on the site.

6.  If meat-containing waste is fed to swine, the pork production site must hold the appropriate state license. Cooking times and temperatures must be consistent with state and federal regulations. Up-to-date records of waste feeding and cooking practices must be available on site. Cooked waste products that are stored prior to feeding must not be contaminated with uncooked material. Uncooked household waste can not be fed to swine.

7.   Procedures are established and implemented for the prompt removal and proper disposal of swine carcasses found in pens. This is to eliminate the opportunity for cannibalism, as well as to prevent attracting rodents or wildlife.

8.  The production site’s general hygiene and sanitation protocol must be such that rodents and wildlife are not attracted. This includes such practices as:

  • Solid waste must be contained in covered receptacles and regularly removed from the site.
  • Spilled feed must be regularly removed and disposed of properly.   

9.   Animal arrivals and departures must be documented in an animal-movement record. This must take place in a manner that ensures swine can be traced to/from each particular certified production site.

10.  All records required under the Trichinae Certification Program must be up to date and readily available for inspection at the enrolled or certified pork production facility.