§ Mr. Raymond S. Robertson
[holding answer 17 May 1996]: It is a statutory requirement that cattle organs prohibited from human consumption—those which could potentially contain the BSE agent (the head including the brain but not the tongue, the spinal chord, spleen, thymus, tonsils and intestine)—are removed from carcases in the abattoir and stained with a distinctive dye. Such material is then rendered and disposed of at licensed landfill sites. Compliance with this requirement is supervised by the Meat Hygiene Service, an executive agency of the Great Britain agriculture Departments. The State Veterinary Service monitors the effectiveness of those operations on a regular basis to ensure that the statutory controls are being complied with.
§ Mr. Robertson
[holding answer 17 May 1996]: The ELISA test used for the detection of mammalian protein in animal feed is currently not available for use in other laboratories. The purification process for the preparation of samples prior to test has been patented and is available. For the immunological test, however, because of the difficulties experienced with validation and the limited stocks of antisera currently available, it is not possible to make the test more widely available. Nevertheless, materials can be submitted to MAFF for testing at the one veterinary investigation centre that is currently equipped to carry out the test, subject to available capacity.
Commercially available ELISA kits were tested with a view to assisting other laboratories to introduce testing, but these proved not to be sufficiently consistent in sensitivity, specifically for use for statutory purposes.
§ Mr. Robertson
[holding answer 17 May 1996]: During validation of the test on samples collected on farms in Great Britain by the State Veterinary Service, a total of 1,577 samples were analysed between June 1994 and January 1996.