PARMA, Italy – The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced a new laboratory protocol for investigating cases of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The agency said information about atypical BSE is limited, and the new protocols are aimed at filling knowledge gaps. The protocols include the minimum number of cattle to be tested, processing and preparation of tissues and methods used to identify abnormal prion proteins.

The European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) collected reference materials from studies in which cattle were experimentally infected with atypical BSE. “EFSA was therefore asked to propose a laboratory protocol to perform new studies aimed at investigating the presence, distribution and relative level of infectivity of Atypical BSE [H-BSE and L-BSE\,” according to EFSA. “EFSA was also expected to reflect on whether the tissues available from the EURL study are sufficient for the purpose and/or suggest that investigations on other tissues might be possibly needed.”