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Detection and Analysis of Animal Materials in Food and Feed

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Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) belongs to a group of progressively degenerative neurological diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) associated with a variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. TSEs are fatal diseases caused by prions (proteinaceous infectious particle) and are characterized by an incubation period that may range from several months to several years, depending on the host. Because BSE is spread through animal feed, the main strategy for preventing the establishment and spread of BSE is to prohibit the use of proteins derived from mammalian tissue in feed for ruminant animals. Enforcement of these regulations relies on the ability to identify the presence of prohibited proteins in ruminant feed. The methods to detect bovine products in rendered and cooked materials are based on analyses of DNA, bone, or protein. In this article, we discuss the current methodology as well as other potentially useful methods of analysis of animal material in food. While methods are generally useful, none specifically distinguish between prohibited bovine material and allowable bovine products, such as milk or blood. Furthermore, all these methods are hampered by the fact that the rendering process involves heat treatment that denatures and degrades proteins and DNA. There is a need for improving existing methods and developing new methods to overcome these two limitations.

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Center of Veterinary Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland, USA 2: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington, D.C. 20204, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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