Animal Proteins

RIKILT is a National Reference Laboratory for animal proteins. Inspections for the presence of animal proteins in feed are important because these proteins can cause BSE.


Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, Mad cow disease) is generally considered to be caused by recycling animal by-products as ingredient in animal, especially ruminant, feed. Feed bans were enforced to minimise the risk of infections, and monitoring programs were effectuated to check for compliance with the ban.

Detection methods

There are several different methods which can be used to detect the presence of animal proteins in feed. The only official detection method is visual (microscopic) examination for the presence of animal proteins. Inspections primarily focus on the presence of bone fragments, but muscle fibres, hairs, feather filaments, and fish bones are targeted as well. In addition to microscopy, DNA detection and identification (PCR) and protein detection (immunoassays) are also applied.

Member of scientific advisory board

RIKILT is a member of the scientific advisory board of the EU-RL. The tasks which are executed by RIKILT are in compliance with the additional requirements set out in Regulation (EC) No152/2009 (technical method description) and in Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 (ban).

RIKILT is the only laboratory in the Netherlands to test for the presence of animal proteins. It therefore does not carry out all the tasks stipulated in Regulation (EC) No 882/2004.