Microbiological risks in food
Many microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, parasites) are able to contaminate foodstuffs and cause a variety of illnesses. Measures implemented by health authorities and practitioners have resulted in a significant reduction in the main diseases caused by food. However, recent episodes of contamination in Europe, especially related to fresh produce, call for vigilance with regard to microbial hazards. The Agency is actively involved on this topic, which was one of the priorities of its Work Programme in 2012.
Trichinella spp. is a microscopic parasite of certain monogastric mammals. It lives in the striated skeletal muscle cells of its host animal, causing trichinellosis, an animal disease which can be transmitted to humans. The disease contaminates humans through the consumption of raw or undercooked meat from contaminated animals. ANSES’s Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health is the National Reference Laboratory for trichinellosis (NRL for foodborne parasites). As such, it coordinates the network of laboratories in charge of surveillance, develops detection methods and directs research on Trichinella spp. and trichinellosis. ANSES has published a series of opinions and expert assessment documents in order to evaluate the risk associated with Trichinella spp.
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