FBS & Global Biological Risk

Posted by Leanne Kodsman on

You may be familiar with the terms "traceability" and "origin" in reference to fetal bovine serum (FBS), but how do these topics really impact the use of serum in cell culture? "Origin" is simply the country in which the raw material was collected. "Traceability" refers to the documentation roadmap that connects serum origin to final manufacturing and distribution.


So, Why Is Origin Important?

As viral patterns shift around the globe, the supply and quality of bovine products such as FBS are affected. One of the most recent issues to alter the global supply-and- demand dynamic is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as "mad cow disease." BSE is a chronic, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of cattle. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) only permits the importation of bovine products from those countries that are considered to be at low risk for BSE. The spread of BSE, therefore, limits the global supply of FBS, driving up demand for serum from the low-risk countries and linking FBS prices to perceived BSE risk; the lower the BSE risk, the higher the cost of serum.
FBS & Global Biological Risk

Where Is The Risk?

Some countries, such as those within the European Union, are considered to present a very high risk of BSE and are not allowed to import bovine products into the United States. On the other end of the spectrum, are those countries that present no demonstrable risk at all. For example, New Zealand has never reported a single case of BSE. Due, in part, to its geographic isolation, New Zealand is perceived to be the safest current source for FBS.

As indicated on the map above, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recognizes for risk categories for BSE:

  1. Risk Confirmed
  2. Likely Risk
  3. Unlikely Risk
  4. Highly Unlikely Risk

Innovative Research sources all fetal bovine serum from the lowest risk categories.

Our US Origin FBS comes exclusively from the United States, while our other FBS products (such as BenchMarkTM and FoundationTM) are sourced only from category 4 (lowest risk) countries. Well-documented traceability ensures the lowest risk.

Innovative Research collects raw serum only from countries that have been declared by the USDA to be free of specified bovine viruses, such as BSE. Each lot of our fetal bovine serum is fully documented and certified as to its country of origin. We work in close cooperation with the USDA to monitor FBS health and quality, employing an aggressive viral testing scheme to deliver only the safest and most well-characterized products to our customers.

    Innovative Research was established in 1998 after the realization that dependable, high-quality, and affordable research materials were hard to come by. Starting with core products like human plasma and serum, Innovative Research has grown to be a trusted supplier of all lab reagents, including human biologicals and ELISA kits. Today, we manufacture and supply thousands of high-quality human and animal biologicals including plasma, serum, tissues, and proteins.

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