Central Nervous System Tissue in Meat Products: An Evaluation of Risk, Prevention Strategies, and Testing Procedures

M. B. Bowling, K. E. Belk, K. K. Nightingale, L. D. Goodridge, J. A. Scanga, J. N. Sofos, J. D. Tatum, G. C. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Abstract: Since the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom in 1986 and its subsequent link to the human neurological disorder variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), presence of tissues from the central nervous system (CNS) in meat products has been considered a public health concern and, thus, has been banned from entering the human food chain in many countries. Despite this, potential can exist during harvesting to contaminate or cross-contaminate edible meat products with CNS tissue that is designated as a specified risk material (SRM) in many countries. Methods used to detect CNS tissue in meat products vary greatly in their sensitivity, specificity, cost, labor and expertise needed, ease of completion, and type of results given (qualitative vs quantitative) and, within these constraints, appropriate testing methods must be selected to monitor or verify that meat products system controls are effective in removing CNS tissue from the human food chain. The extent to which monitoring procedures are needed should be based on the public health risk of CNS tissue in meat products as determined by each sovereign nation and/or third-party international organizations such as the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Risk associated with consumption of CNS tissue should be estimated by sovereign nations by establishing prevalence of BSE within their borders. Using this information, science-based decisions may guide international policy and trade. Using available scientific information, appropriate testing methods for monitoring or verification, and prevalence information, nations can estimate and reduce, to the extent deemed necessary, the public health risk of vCJD.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Food and Nutrition Research
EditorsSteve Taylor
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2007

Publication series

NameAdvances in Food and Nutrition Research
ISSN (Print)1043-4526


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