The efficacy of the procedures in use at the two rendering plants in the Netherlands was assessed on a laboratory.scale using procedures that simulated the pressure cooking part of the rendering process. A pool of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BsE).infected brainstem from the United Kingdom and a pool of scrapie.infected brainstem from Dutch sheep were used to spike the rendering materials. The mixtures were subjected to various time.temperature combinations of hyperbaric heat treatment related to the conditions used in Dutch rendering plants in the early 1990s, and to the combination of 20 minutes at 133°C required by the EU Directive on rendering of 1996. The efficacy of the procedures in inactivating BSE or scrapie infectivity was measured by titrating the materials before and after heat treatment in inbred mice, by combined intracerebral and intraperitoneal inoculations at limiting dilutions. Two independent series of experiments were carried out. The design of the study allowed for minimum inactivations of up to 2.2 log (2.0 in the second series) to be measured in the diluted infective material and 3.1 log in the undiluted material. After 20 minutes at 133°C there was a reduction of BSE infectivity of about 2.2 log in the first series (with some residual infectivity detected), and in the second series more than 2.0 log (with no residual infectivity detected). With undiluted brain material there was an inactivation of about 3.0 log (with some residual infectivity detected). With the same procedure, scrapie infectivity was reduced by more than 1.7 log in the first series and by more than 2.2 log in the second series. With undiluted brain material there was an inactivation of more than 3.1 log. In each case no residual scrapie infectivity was detected. The BSE agent consistently appeared to be more resistant to heat inactivation procedures than the scrapie agent, particularly at lower temperatures and shorter times.