The EFSA Journal. May (2006) 359 p 1 – 14.
“Quantitative assessment of the Human BSE Risk posed by Bovine Vertebral Column including Dorsal Root Ganglia”
If surveillance of cattle and meat processing continues at its present level and accuracy there is no justification for restrictions of the use of cattle bones in the production of tallow and gelatine.
Inclusion of vertebral column in the raw materials used to produce tallow and gelatine from bones or a mixture of tissues (meaning bone and nerve) increases the level of human exposure by ~ 3-10 fold. However, the levels of residual BSE risk for these products calculated in the Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) are low and the increased risk factor due to inclusion of vertebral column is unlikely to translate into further cases of vCJD in the population. Therefore, in the case of tallow and gelatine, there appears to be no rationale for imposing an age-limit above which to exclude vertebral column from the batches of raw materials used to produce these by-products.
Specified risk materials (other than vertebral columns) should continue to be excluded from the food
vCJD cases in the UK are compensated via a government sponsored scheme, the Board is not consulted on prevention issues such as these.
Relaxation of restrictions on animal processing should be accompanied by specific evaluation of management practices. It is possible that changes such as these could lead to unforeseen risks and risk related behaviours. Standards of meat hygiene in the UK are generally reported (in English language publications) to be higher than anywhere else.