Low levels of classical BSE infectivity in rendered fat tissue
BSE infectivity in mesentery fat is most likely associated with embedded nervous tissue. To prove this mesentery containing celiac ganglion was taken from oral BSE infected cattle in different stages of the disease and from one control animal. Fat was rendered according to standard tallow production methods and the prion infectivity therein analysed in transgenic mouse bioassay. Rendered fat of the clinical animal revealed low infectivity levels, whereas preclinical and control animals remained negative. This study, although not representative, provides a proof of principle, indicating the potential contamination of melted mesenteric fat by embedded nervous structures during standard tallow production.