Brussels, 17 Sep 2004
Summary of the Report
The European Food Safety Authority and its Scientific Expert Working Group on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) Testing were asked by the European Commission (EC) to take over the mandate of the former Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) for the scientific evaluation of rapid TSE/BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) tests. At present 5 rapid BSE test kits are approved by the EC for the routine post mortem testing of slaughtered cattle over 30 months of age in accordance with the TSE Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 . Following a call for expression of interest in the Official Journal of the European Union (No C15) on 22 January 2003, several parties indicated their interest in participating in an EC evaluation exercise of their newly developed rapid BSE post mortem and live animal tests.
It has been recognized that the availability of a rapid test for live cattle would be a major advance in dealing with the problem of BSE and TSE in general, but particularly with regard to epidemiological screening. In the long term an accurate live animal test might offer the possibility to reduce the number of culled animals after the detection of one positive animal.
A rapid BSE test for live cattle could be approved for the purpose of consumer protection, for epidemiological screening or for both. For the purpose of consumer protection any new rapid BSE test including tests for live animals should not be statistically inferior to that of the currently approved post mortem tests.
This report provides a protocol for the design of a field trial protocol for the evaluation of BSE tests for live cattle for the purpose of consumer protection only.
Publication date: 17 September 2004
Adopted on 1 July 2004 (Question N° EFSA-Q-2003-084)