Tenacity of Alaria alata mesocercariae in homemade German meat products.
A renewed interest in the pathogenic potential of Alaria alata mesocercariae emerged over the last 10 years as a result of increased findings of this parasite in feral pigs during official examination for Trichinella spp. Cases of food associated human alariosis in North America suggest that a risk associated with the consumption of traditional raw cured products from infected wild boar meat cannot be neglected because the commonly applied preservation techniques may not necessarily kill the mesocercariae. In addition, changes in consumer behavior and new preparation methods for game meat (e.g. pink roasting and grilling) may increase the risk for food-associated parasitic infections. Thus, there is a strong need for the evaluation of the tenacity of A. alata mesocercariae against different physical and chemical influences as pertaining to common preservation and preparation techniques. Against this backdrop the aim of our work was a sound analysis of the survivability of A. alata mesocercariae during curing, fermentation, cold smoking and drying in raw cured meat products. Eighty three samples of traditional German meat products were prepared from naturally infected game meat and partly spiked with additional vital mesocercariae to achieve an adequate dose of infection. The resultant products were examined chronologically for dead and viable A. alata mesocercariae with the Alaria mesocercariae migration technique. After 24 h of production, vital A. alata mesocercariae were still found in raw type sausages but no vital parasites were detected in the final products. Based on these results a possible risk for the consumer for an infection with A. alata mesocercariae through the consumption of contaminated raw cured products can be largely ruled out if the respective food technological procedures are carried out properly. However, a risk for the consumer cannot be excluded in cases of very early consumption of these products.