Case Study: Consumers in Poland protected from trichinosis through accreditation

Consumers in Poland protected from trichinosis through accreditation

Pork and venison produced in Poland are covered by the Trichinella monitoring programme. In accordance with the legal requirements, species susceptible to trichinosis infection are subject to mandatory testing – in addition to swine and wild boar meat, this also concerns, among others, horse meat.

In Poland, the vast majority of laboratories involved in trichinosis diagnostics are accredited to the requirements of the PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard for this specific test. The laboratories which are accredited for this scope fulfil the accreditation requirements, including the requirements of PN-EN ISO/IEC 17025 and the legal regulations in force in Poland. Currently, 352 field trichinosis diagnostics laboratories are accredited in Poland.

Accreditation of laboratories involved in trichinosis diagnostics makes it possible to obtain reliable test results, and the procedures developed and implemented by the laboratories not only provide greater confidence in the results obtained, but also help ensure their comparability. The standardised digestion method implemented in the laboratories increases the sensitivity of the test. For over 14 years, no case of trichinosis in persons eating meat tested by the digestion method has been reported in Poland, which demonstrates, on the one hand, the validity of the performed testing and, on the other hand, the effectiveness of the applied safety system.

Additionally, the laboratories that test meat for trichinae participate in obligatory national proficiency testing (PT) organised by the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), which allows for comprehensive monitoring of the quality of the test results, including the proficiency of the personnel who carry out the tests.

Accreditation of testing, supporting confirmation of food safety for many companies from the “meat sector”, is increasingly becoming a bargaining chip and companies’ showpiece in trade negotiations; moreover, it enhances importers’ and consumers’ confidence in manufacturers of meat and meat products. The accreditation certificate is already widely perceived as confirmation and guarantee of food safety. It should be remembered that infection with trichinae can be a cause of serious diseases, which frequently end in dangerous complications and, in some cases, may even result in the patient’s death. Treatment of patients is long and costly, often ending in damage to health, as well as awarding and payment of a lifetime pension to the infected person. Therefore, accreditation of trichinosis diagnostics laboratories – through its preventive effect – translates directly into a real increase in safety, as well as savings in state budget expenditures related to treatment and healthcare.

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