ARCHIVE: BSE: Disease control & eradication - TSE testing programme

UK TSE testing programme

EU Member States are required to undertake active surveillance for TSEs in cattle, sheep and goats. These requirements are laid down in Commission Regulation 999/2001 (PDF 311 KB) (as amended).

TSE Testing in Cattle

The UK is required to test cattle for BSE as outlined in the table.

Country of birth

Eartag country code

Age over which all cattle require BSE testing

Healthy slaughtered

Emergency slaughtered or ‘sick at ante-mortem’
(fit for human consumption)

Fallen stock (not for human consumption)

Austria AT








72 months








48 months








48 months

Belgium BE
Cyprus CY
Denmark DK
Finland FI
France FR
Germany DE
Greece EL
Ireland IE
Italy IT
Luxembourg LU
Netherlands NL
Portugal PT
Slovenia SI
Spain ES
Sweden SE
UK (including Channel Islands and Isle of Man) UK
Czech Republic CZ
Estonia EE
Hungary HU
Latvia LV
Lithuania LT
Malta MT
Poland PL
Slovakia SK
Bulgaria BG




30 months




24 months




24 months

Romania RO
All other countries UK (unless slaughtered within 20 days imported. Import information is shown on the inside back page of the cheque-book style passport)

Livestock keepers must ensure that fallen cattle which require BSE testing are disposed of to an approved BSE sampling site. Guidance is available in English (PDF) and Welsh (PDF).

Sheep and goat testing

EU Member States have been required to undertake active surveillance for BSE in sheep and goats since 2002. The following categories of sheep and goats must be tested for TSE in the UK:

  • 10000 sheep per year, which die or are killed other than for human consumption (fallen stock (3) aged over 18 months;
  • 500 goats per year, which die or are killed other than for human consumption (fallen stock (4) aged over 18 months;
  • 10000 sheep per year, slaughtered for human consumption aged over 18 months; and
  • Sheep and goats from scrapie-infected flocks

[ (3)Carcases are randomly selected for sampling at relevant animal by-products plants, based on quotas provided by Animal Health. Samples are also taken during routine inspections by Animal Health. Defra fund sampling, transport of samples and laboratory analysis. Further details are available on the Animal Health website.]

[ (4)The obligation under the TSE Regulations for farmers to notify fallen goats to the TSE Helpline, ceased on 31 December 2010. The TSE Regulations will be amended in due course.]

See also

Page last modified: 22 July, 2011