Meat Notice 2020-05 – Cysticercus ovis disposition - Alignment with Australian Standard 4696:2007

24 September 2020


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Online version

NSFS reference: 16

Issue date: 24 September 2020

Date of effect: Immediate

Review date: September 2022

Contact officers:

Jason Ollington
National Veterinary Technical Manger
Export Meat Program
03 8308 5029

Ed Dunn
Field Operations Manager
Export Meat Program
08 8201 6110


This notice provides export registered establishments with revised requirements for:

  • Identification, segregation and processing of sheep, lamb and goat carcases affected by Cysticercus ovis (C. ovis) to align the disposition of C. ovis affected carcases and viscera at export establishments with the dispositions requirements of the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption 4696:2007.
  • This notice supersedes Meat Notice 2007/16.


This notice applies to all export meat establishments slaughtering sheep, lambs and goats.

C. ovis affected carcases and offal of sheep, lambs and goats have historically been managed at post mortem inspection and subsequent processing by:

  • Condemning C. ovis affected viscera.
  • Examining the carcase, tallying the number of C. ovis cysts in musculature.
  • Condemning carcases with more than five C. ovis cysts found in musculature.
  • Passing for human consumption, carcases with five or less C. ovis cysts found and removed from musculature, conditional upon boning.
  • Identifying and segregating such carcases to ensure they are boned and only exported in the boneless or manufactured form.


The following table defines terms used in this notice.

Term Definition
Cysticercus ovis The intermediate or ‘larval cystic’ stage of the parasite Taenia ovis, a common tapeworm of dogs and wild canine species (primary hosts) with sheep and goats being the intermediate hosts. C.ovis is not transmissible to humans.
C.ovis cysts Can appear as active clear fluid-filled cysts or degenerated firm nodules with scar/calcified tissue. Usually found in the heart, diaphragm, oesophagus, tongue, head muscles and/or in the carcase.


Establishment management:

  1. may amend their approved arrangement to remove the requirement for carcases identified at post mortem inspection with five or less cysts of C. ovis in musculature to be processed only as boneless meat
  2. must submit consequent approved arrangement amendments to their Area Technical Manager for approval

Departmental on-plant officers will:

  1. provide establishment management with a copy of this meat notice as soon as possible
  2. verify the establishment responsibilities and actions of this meat notice (as relevant) have been included in the occupier’s arrangement
  3. verify that post mortem dispositions applied to C. ovis affected carcases and carcase parts are applied in accordance with this notice and such carcases are handled in accordance with the establishment’s approved arrangement.

Area technical managers will:

  1. review the occupier’s arrangement
  2. approve or not approve the arrangement as per their findings
  3. verify through audits the occupier compliance/non-compliance with relevant export legislation, importing country requirements and Australian standards.


When, through routine post mortem inspection, the presence of a C. ovis cyst is detected in the viscera or a carcase, the carcase must have a more detailed inspection for the presence of C. ovis cysts. This detailed inspection must consist of a careful palpation of the muscles of the diaphragm together with visual examination and deep palpation of the muscles exposed during regular dressing (the ventral muscles of the neck and brisket and the medial muscles of the leg etc.).

The Australian Standard requires carcases with a general infestation (more than five cysts found in musculature) to be condemned along with all its carcase parts.

For carcases with a light infestation (five or less cysts found in the skeletal musculature), cysts and surrounding tissue is to be trimmed from the carcase and condemned, with affected viscera also condemned. After removal of the cysts from the carcase, the carcase is passed for human consumption without restriction.

There is no requirement to bone C. ovis affected carcases with five or less cysts identified in the musculature.

This meat notice does not preclude any current procedure that an establishment may have to identify and handle such carcases. Rather, it removes the export requirement to identify, segregate and bone carcases to ensure meat from these carcases is only exported as boneless meat.

Jason Lucas
Director Export Meat Program
24 September 2020

Last reviewed: 24 September 2020
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