6 t h e s e r u m s p e c I a L i s t



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6

T h e   S e r u m   S p e c i a l i s t

Since FBS is initially a non-

utilized byproduct available from 

slaughterhouses worldwide, 

the global supply of FBS has 

permanently exceeded global 

demand. Today, conditions are 

favorable for uniform and stable 

purchasing and sale prices at 

more affordable levels. The 

problem has been barriers to 

trade and the lack of scientific 

information to FBS users. This 

has generated a fragmentation 

of the serum world, with different 

supply/demand constellations 

in different segments, and price 

differences between origins 

sometimes exceeding 1,000%.

If FBS is dealt with in a 

transparent, customer-

friendly, scientifically-correct 

way and trade barriers and 

misinformation are eliminated, 

FBS will be more abundant 

and less expensive, and there 

will be no economic incentives 

for criminal activities. This 

is how it should be. Instead, 

historically, the serum industry 

has occasionally interrupted 

collection, creating shortages

objected to opening imports of 

FBS into the USA from South 

America as proposed twice by 

the USDA; and misinformed 

serum users and regulators 

Future,

Moving Forward 



AS LONG AS IMPORT RULES ARE DIFFERENT BETWEEN 

COUNTRIES, AND RESULTING SERUM PRICES VARY BY 

UP TO A FACTOR OF 10, TRACEABILITY-RELATED CRIMES 

CAN OCCUR. ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES MUST BE STOPPED 

BECAUSE THEY NOT ONLY NEGATIVELY AFFECT SERUM 

USERS AND THE IMAGE OF THE SERUM INDUSTRY, BUT 

THE LONG TERM VIABILITY OF FBS AS A PRODUCT. 

ISIA MUST INTENSIFY EFFORTS TO EDUCATE AND TO 

PROMOTE THE HARMONIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL 

IMPORT RULES.



FETAL BOVINE SERUM HANDOUT TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

7

about the safety of different 



sources. The concept that 

Oceania is safer is still part of 

some marketing campaigns, 

even after BSE has been found 

to be a spontaneous event in all 

cattle populations (Nobel Prize 

winner Stanley Pruziner), and 

it has been determined by OIE 

not to be transmitted by blood 

products.

Cases of FBS fraud can be 

elaborate, with an extremely low 

probability of being detected.

This type of activity can only 

be eradicated by eliminating 

economic incentives, via 

science, education, and 

harmonization.

The damage done to researchers 

and other serum users includes 

inexact or invalidated results in 

research and diagnostics, virus 

risks, product recalls, etc. From 

a financial viewpoint, losses 

include costs of lost research, 

plus the difference between 

FBS prices actually paid and 

the much lower prices that 

should have been paid for the 

same product if it had been 

justly declared. The damage to 

competitors consists of lost FBS 

business and the cross-effects 

on sales of media, reagents, 

plastics, and equipment.

The vast majority of serum 

companies have always worked 

legally, taking traceability 

compliance seriously and 

controlling their supply chain. 

With the traceability laws that 

have been implemented by 

the EU and other countries, 

as well as the new ownership 

of companies historically 

associated with questionable 

practices, illegal schemes are no 

longer likely to happen. Today, 

all serum companies adhere to 

strict codes of ethics. However, 

the risk of misrepresentation 

still exists in cases where the 

product goes through a chain 

of intermediaries. To eliminate 

potential illegal activities, 

economic incentives must be 

attacked at the root, by the 

harmonization of import rules 

and the education of serum 

users and regulators, based on 

science.  

Fut


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AUTHOR : OLE BODTKER NIELSEN, CEO - BIOWEST THE SERUM SPECIALIST




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