It is generally accepted that the most likely route of infection of cattle with BSE is by means of feeds containing low levels of animal proteins. Because of this likely route of infection, feed bans were enforced, initially for ruminant feeds, and later for all feeds for farmed animals. Exemptions are made for several specific products such as milk, eggs, blood and gelatine, and their related products, and for fish.
All mammalian proteins are prohibited for feeding to ruminants by the TSE Regulation (EC Regulation 999/2001); permanent ban.
Feeding of by-products to the same species as the source is prohibited by Animal By-Product EC Regulation 1774/2002 (article 22, species-to-species ban), to be replaced by EC Regulation 1069/2009 (article 11) in 2011; permanent ban. The enforcement is not active, since the species-to-species ban is temporarily overruled by the more extensive Extended feed ban. The same article in Regulation 1774/2002 that regulates the species-to-species ban provides the possibility of a derogation for feeding fish material to fish and fur animal material to fur animals after consultation of the appropriate scientific bodies.
Extended feed ban (Annex IV in EC Regulation 1234/2003 and subsequent Regulations) amending the TSE Regulation: all animal proteins from farmed animals are prohibited for feeding to farmed animals again, due to the lack of animal specific detection methods; this feed ban is in force but under discussion. After lifting (parts of) this ban the species-to-species ban will actively be enforced. Then it is still prohibited to feed pig material to pigs and avian material to poultry.
Link to the official website of the European Commission with all relevant legislation EURLEX: eur-lex.europa.eu
Overview of current legislation:
Regulation (EC) 999/2001:
Regulation (EC) 1069/2009:
Regulation (EC) 1234/2003:
Regulation (EC) 1292/2005:
Regulation (EC) 956/2008:
Regulation (EC) 163/2009:
Updated February 2011