Feed safety platform

Strategies and methods to detect and quantify mammalian tissues in feedingstuffs

Type of the activity: research project

European Community under the ‘Competitive and sustainable growth’
Programme (FP5). Project G6RD-CT-2000-00414

Duration of the project:
01/2001- 06/2004


The STRATFEED project was proposed within the framework of the Topic II.14 of the Growth-Dedicated calls-10/99 entitled « New methodologies for the detection and quantification of illegal addition of mammalian tissues in feedingstuffs ». This topic is directly related to the R & D activity Fight against Fraud under the Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme (1.1.3). It falls under the generic activity 1.1.3-6 Measurement and Testing. Specifically, it is related to the Objective 1.1.3-6.2 Methodologies for Measurement and Testing.

The STRATFEED project contributes to the implementation of the Commission Decision 94/381/EC of 27 June 1994 amended for the second time by Decision 99/129/EC of 29 January 1999. They state the prohibition of the use of proteins derived from all mammalian tissues in feedingstuffs destined for ruminants. It is a direct consequence of the “mad cow” epidemic which emerged in 1986. Conjointly to the Commission Decision 96/449/EC of 18 July 1996 about the heat treatment system for processing animal waste, Commission Decision 94/381/EC was vital to eradicate BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and to avoid the possible risks to human health. As stated in the supporting document of the Topic II.14 as well as in the Report of the International Scientific Conference on Animal Meal organised under the aegis of the Scientific Steering Committee of the European Union, the legislators should have adequate sensible and reliable methods to permit the application of the regulations. So, the ban on the use of mammalian proteins in the feeding of ruminants calls for validated methods able to prove the absence or presence of animal meals in feedingstuffs.


Project description

The STRATFEED project is centred on two main objectives:

  1. Harmonisation and efficiency improvement of the control by classical microscopy. The project includes the creation of highly valuable tools (sample bank, database, Expert System) to reinforce the control of feedingstuffs by classical microscopy.
  2. Development and validation of new methodologies based on alternative techniques. The Classical microscopic method has some limitations such as the time by analysis, the need of skilled staff, the high cost, the great difficulties to differentiate species, the inaccurate quantification of illegal MBM (Meat and Bone Meal) addition. The STRATFEED project aims at developing analytical methods for the control laboratories in help to the classical microscopy.

These new methods are based on alternative techniques that permit the rapid control of a high amount of samples, the species differentiation and the reliable quantification of the addition of meat and bone meals.
The techniques of molecular biology (Polymerase chain Reaction – PCR), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and near-infrared microscopy (NIRM) were used to develop new methods for rapid detection, species identification and quantification of MBM in feedingstuffs.

Project outcome
The main achievements of this project are:

  • the European bank with more than 2500 feed samples spiked or not with MBM and the database as well as the explorer tool (STRATFEED explorer),
  • the validation of the enhanced method in classical microscopy and the Decision support system (ARIES, CD release and STRATFEED DSS, internet release),
  • the development of new methods in support to the official method providing the speed (NIRS), the species identification even with MBM heat-treated at 141°C (PCR) and the reliable quantification with few expertise (NIRM). All those alternative methods have to be improved and validated.

The main actions to disseminate the project results are the website STRATFEED, the numerous publications, the training to the new methods and the international symposium organised to close the project, in Namur, on 16th , 17th and 18th June 2004, entitled “Food and feed safety in the context of prion diseases”.
The achievements will allow to implement the European directives and to increase the safety of food supply with respect to the BSE disease.


Main partners

The STRATFEED consortium coordinated by the CRA-W includes 13 partners (official laboratories, research centres, universities and private companies) from 8 EU countries, involved in the control of feedingstuffs, the development of new methods, the validation of the methods and the application of the methods in the industry.


Project team

Dr Pierre Dardenne
CRA-W – Quality Dpt of Agro Food products
Chaussée de Namur, 24
B 5030 Gembloux

Tel: +32 (0)81 62 03 50
Fax: +32 (0)81 62 03 88

Web site: