Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a test that can detect minute amounts of animal protein contaminates in livestock feed.

Because of the possible transmission of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) no ruminant protein, ie blood meal, meat and bone meal etc, can be used in livestock feed. This feed ban has been in place in the United States since 1997.

Current test methods include microscopic analysis or antibody-based tests — both of which have their drawbacks. This new test was designed to overcome those hurdles. The test uses DNA analysis to quickly and accurately determine if any protein from ruminant animals is present in the feed. 

The University of California has applied for a patent application on the new test. It could become commercially available later this year.

University of California, Davis press release