The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has designed a field trial for a proposed rapid BSE detection test for live animals, that could - if approved - significantly reduce the amount of culling (and associated supply and price problems) following an outbreak.

EFSA's Scientific Expert Working Group on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) wants to add a rapid live test to five rapid post mortem tests.

A report on the trial said: "An accurate live animal test might offer the possibility to reduce the number of culled animals after the detection of one positive animal."

The key, it said, was ensuring any new rapid live BSE test was not "statistically inferior" to post mortem tests.