New EFSA safety advice: freezing meat kills tapeworms

January 20, 2005, as reported by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released new safety information including a preferred method for killing tapeworms and their eggs in slaughtered meat and a new test for detecting Taenia saginata cysticercosis, a particularly hard to diagnose strand of tapeworm.

EFSA’s BIOHAZ panel says freezing pig, wild boar or cattle carcasses at -10°C or lower for ten days or longer kills these ‘cysticerci’. This “provides a basis for the prevention and control of human taeniosis” caused by tapeworms taenia solium, saginata and saginata asiatica.

The panel also called for the speedy official validation of new diagnostic meat tests detecting the pathogen Taenia saginata cysticercosis. This is often missed by standard meat inspections, where existing incision tests can cause cross-contamination. Blood sample analyses awaiting EU approval “appear particularly promising.”