For more than 80 years, all Danish slaughter pigs from the export slaughter-houses have systematically been examined for trichinae (a special type of parasite) without any infection having been found. Danish pigs slaughtered at the export slaughter-houses are still examined since many export markets require this.
Trichinae have not been found in Danish domestic pigs since 1929.
The trichina is a parasite (a larva) that lives and grows in the intestines in mammals. The infection is normally transmitted by dead animals with trichinae being eaten by carnivorous animals. Humans can be infected through meat that has not been thoroughly cooked.
Each year at least 15 million pigs are checked for trichinae in Denmark
In the past 25 years, approx. 15-20 million pigs have been checked each year for trichinae in Denmark since all pigs at the export slaughter-houses are examined. In this period, no humans have been infected by trichinae from Danish pigs.
According to the EU rules on trichinae, pigs from populations with controlled stalling conditions are exempt from the trichinae control. In the Danish pig production, all pig populations also comply with the requirements for declared free-range populations and organic populations for controlled stalling conditions. Due to the requirement in relation to export to third countries, also all pigs slaughtered at the export-authorised abattoirs are examined.
Pork and horseflesh are the most common sources for infection in humans but also various types of game can be infectious. Thorough cooking and cold storage will kill the larvae.