“To what temperature must you heat beef in order to kill the prion that causes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)?” I’ll take Animal Diseases for $200, Alex!

No, this isn’t a “Jeopardy” question…it was a truth or dare question on a primetime comedy show on a major network. Huh? What? Really?

Not sure how or why the writers of “The Big Bang Theory” came up with this question for a nerdy female scientist on the show to ask her attractive aspiring actress friend while experiencing a girls’ night slumber party. No answer was given…the friend explained that questions asked while playing truth or dare had to be personal. But why would BSE even be addressed? And in a comedy show? Okay, I get the analogy with the scientist, but the character is a nuclear physicist, not an animal scientist.

More than likely most viewers glazed right over the reference, but it shows that BSE is still on the minds of some, even though not a single case has been diagnosed in the United States since March 2006. And of the two cases found in native cattle, one was determined to be an atypical case of BSE (the third, or first, case in 2003 was diagnosed in a cow imported from Canada).

A more recent incident in where a newspaper reporter asked if BSE was the reason “cattle is not fed to cattle” is a reminder that a few pivotal key messages are not getting out, those being: (1) Rendered proteins are safe feed ingredients; and (2) BSE does not exist in the United States. It was explained to the reporter that ruminant proteins are not fed to ruminants in the United States because of federal regulations put in place as a safeguard after the situation developed in the United Kingdom. It was also emphasized to him that ruminant proteins are an excellent source of energy and permissible and highly used in feed for other livestock such as swine and poultry.

But this is just one individual. From one city. The rendering industry’s messages must reach a broader audience, and be repeated, and repeated, and repeated, so eventually they get heard!

Rendertorial – April 2011 RENDER | back