In this paper we present a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method for detecting meat and bone meal (MBM) in compound feedingstuffs. By choosing adequate DNA targets from an appropriate localisation in the genome, the real-time PCR method developed here proved to be robust to severe heat treatment of the MBM, showing high sensitivity in the detection of MBM. The method developed here permits the specific detection of processed pig and cattle materials treated at 134 degrees C in various feed matrices down to a limit of detection of about 0.1%. This technique has also been successfully applied to well-characterised MBM samples heated to as high as 141 degrees C, as well as to various blind feed samples with very low MBM contents. Finally, the method also passed several official European ring trials.