Editorial

 

FDA to Delay Compliance Inspections for FSMA

Aug 25, 2017

Richard Sellers

 

    

According to a posting on the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Agency has delayed inspections of feed plants to ensure compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act. Inspections scheduled for 2017 will be delayed until the Fall of 2018 according to Dr. Steve Solomon, Director of the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine. This will also delay inspections under the Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

The move was enthusiastically endorsed by the American Feed Industry Association. Richard Sellers, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Education commented “Producing safe, nutritious food and compliance with the law is the animal food industry’s number one priority.

However, given FSMAs far-reaching and expensive regulatory impact that extends into all areas of our members’ business operations, we have been asking the Administration and Congress to provide a reasonable timeframe so that our members can conduct the necessary action they need and dedicate new resources to come into full compliance with the law.”

  

The action by the FDA is an indication of their deficiencies in planning and execution. The egg industry will recollect the problems associated with introduction of on-farm inspections required under the Salmonella Prevention Rule. There was little coordination among regions carrying out inspections, personnel were totally ill-equipped and untrained to evaluate farms or to appreciate the realities of commercial egg production.

Inspectors who had spent the majority of their careers in pharmaceutical plants were confronted with farms with high-rise houses, six feet of manure and mice. Initially the inspections were time-consuming and laborious since farmers, their Veterinarians and quality assurance personnel had to virtually train and instruct the FDA inspectors. The program only gathered speed when the USDA delegated responsibility for farm inspections in a number of states to respective department of agriculture in major egg-producing states including Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, California and Iowa.

In advance of a FMSA debacle, the FDA would be well advised to step back, ensure that guidance documents are provided for review and comment by the industry. Inspectors must be trained as to what might be considered acceptable and normal and to realistically evaluate deviations from standard procedures. If FSMA degenerates into a paperwork exercise, the value with respect to prevention of food-borne infection will be lost.

The underlying message for FDA is that they should communicate with industry organizations and specialists in both industry and academia to establish standards and to ensure that personnel are appropriately trained before embarking on a national inspection program.

The Salmonella Prevention Program was incubated and hatched entirely in isolation by the FDA without consulting the industry. Within three months of inception of the program, individuals associated with the rule were still trying to obtain information on the efficacy of vaccination which had already been adopted by the U.S. industry as a standard and had proven effective in the E.U. for over a decade prior to 2010. The guidance documents were only available after initiation of the program.

Egg Industry News

 

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, August 16th 2017.

Aug 18, 2017

    

Hen Numbers Increase by 0.4 Million; Prices Recede After a Modest Upward Move.

OVERVIEW

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on August 16th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down 5 percent and 4 percent respectively from the previous week. The market will be influenced mainly by hen inventory on the supply side of the equation. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

  

The August 11th USDA Egg Market News Report documented a USDA Combined Region value of $0.91 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week, and can be compared to a trailing peak price of $2.20 per dozen in late November 2015.  The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $0.85 per dozen.

At the high end of the range, the price in the Southeast and South Central Regions, attained $0.94 per dozen. The current USDA Combined Price was approximately 65 cents per dozen below the corresponding three-year average. During the second Quarter of 2016 the average was inflated by the rise in prices attributed to the post-HPAI shortage of shell eggs and breaking stock.

The number of producing hens this week was 0.4 million higher at 305.4 million consistent with retention of flocks into the second cycle and by pullets placed six months ago attaining production. The hen population is high level relative to current consumer and industrial demand. The total egg-flock comprises 312.6 million including hens in molt and small flocks, approximately 0.6 million more than last week.

Generic shell-egg stock fell by 1.0 percent compared to an increase of 0.2 percent for the previous week suggesting a balance between supply and demand albeit at a low price. Dried-egg inventory amounted to 27.9 million pounds (12,682 metric tons) as of July 31st 2017. The National stock of frozen egg products as reported on July 24th attained 41.7 million pounds (18,960 metric tons) on June 30th.

 

  
 

USDA Projections for 2017 and 2018 Egg Production

Aug 18, 2017

    

The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated August 15th record of egg production in 2016, an update for 2017 and a forecast for 2017.

Values are compared to 2015 which was impacted by the Spring outbreak of HPAI in the upper-Midwest.

 

 

Parameter

2015 (actual)

2016 (actual)

2017 (forecast)

2018 (Projection) ’17-‘18

EGGS

 

 

 

 

Production (m. dozen)

     6,938*

7,435

7,568

    7,765             +1.3%

Consumption (eggs per capita)

         256*

          275

           276

       278             +0.7%

 

New York price (c/doz.)

         182*

            86

             87

         90              +3.5%

 

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook – August 15th 2016

*Impacted by Spring 2015 HPAI outbreaks. Consumption in 2014, 267 eggs per capita

Subscribers to EGG-CITE are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices and

 

Twinpack EGGSCARGO® System introduces Protector to prevent transport damage”

Aug 18, 2017

    

 

 

  

Watch the Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43nmhCvTfH8&feature=youtu.be

 

Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-June 2017.

Aug 18, 2017

    

USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing the first half of 2017 with the corresponding period in 2016:-

 

U.S. EGG EXPORTS FOR JANUARY-JUNE 2017 COMPARED WITH THE CORRESPONDING MONTHS IN 2016

    PRODUCT

  Jan.-June 2016  

Jan.-June 2017

   Difference

Shell Eggs

 

 

 

Volume (m. dozen)

  58.1     

     55.7

 - 2.4      (-4.1%)

Value ($ million)

  59.0

     54.2

 - 4.8      (- 8.1%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)

    1.02

      0.97

  -0.05    (- 4.9%)       

Egg Products

 

 

 

Volume (metric tons)

  10,372

 21,658

 +11,286  (+108.8%)

Value ($ million)

     31.3

     55.6

    +24.3   (+77.6%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)

   3,018

   2,564

    -454     (-15.0%)

Source USDA-FAS/USAPEEC

  
 

Dr. Paul Tillman Recognized with PSA Distinguished Poultry Industry Award

Aug 18, 2017

    

Dr. Paul Tillman received the 2017 Poultry Science Association Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award sponsored by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

John Starkey, President of USPOULTRY stated “We are pleased to honor industry leaders embodied by Dr. Tillman.

  

He is widely recognized for his many years of work and contribution to poultry nutrition within the industry.” Starkey added, “It is this kind of service and commitment that has helped make the poultry industry one of the most efficient and productive segments of modern animal agriculture.”

Dr. Tillman received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Georgia, and completed a Ph.D. in poultry nutrition in the laboratory of Dr. Park Waldroup, Novus Distinguished Professor at the University of Arkansas. He has held a number of technical service positions at Roche, Alpharma, Ridley Feed Ingredients and Ajinomoto Heartland.

Since his retirement, Tillman has operated a consulting poultry nutrition practice, Poultry Technical Nutrition Services, LLC. During his career, Dr. Tillman has authored 30 peer-reviewed articles and numerous abstracts and invited papers at national and international conferences.

 

Sodexo Adds Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs to Cage-Free Sourcing

Aug 18, 2017

    

Sodexo, a multinational food service company and an early advocate of cage-free sourcing, has committed to purchasing hard-cooked peeled eggs to the company program. Previously Sodexo announced that 70 percent of shell eggs and liquid would be obtained from cage-free flocks by spring 2018.

 

Jim Pazzanese, Vice President of Supply Management, stated “As a large food service provider, this is the right decision for us.” He added “these changes will have a positive impact on our organization, the environment and ultimately on our business.”

It is noted that Sodexo supplies universities and institutions and caters to a market which is less price-sensitive than distributors dealing with supermarket chains.

 

Camelina Modified to Express DHA

Aug 18, 2017

    

Genetically engineered Camelina sativa, an oilseed has been developed as a potential livestock ingredient. The cultivar will contain relatively higher levels of EPA and DHA compared to canola and will have a correspondingly lower Omega- 6 content.

Since the product will be GMO, incorporation in diets will be limited to cage-free and conventional eggs.

  

 

Hampton Creek Intends Launching Vegetarian Scrambled Egg Product

Aug 18, 2017

    

Hampton Creek has announced that its vegan egg substitute “Scramble” will debut “in coming months.” Hampton stated that mung bean will be incorporated into the formula to provide texture.

   
 

Mintel Examines Restraints to Expanding Organic Consumption

Aug 18, 2017

    

A recent Mintel report on attitudes towards organic products suggests development areas which must be addressed by producers and certifiers of organic products. Only one quarter (26 percent) of consumers trust organic food labels and only 13 percent consider that there is adequate regulation. Perceptions of healthfulness are relatively weak with 33 percent of respondents stating that they would purchase more organic foods if they were proven to be healthier or stayed fresher for a longer period.

  

Cost is an important deterrent to purchasing. Almost two-thirds of respondents stated that they would purchase more organic foods if they were less expensive and only 20 percent accept that organic foods are worth the extra cost. Skepticism of organic claims and costs are limiting increased purchases even among established consumers with 34 percent indicating that they are buying more organic foods this year compared to 2016.

It would appear that branding is an important motivator to purchase since only 14 percent of respondents accepted that an organic claim is more important than a specific brand.

In attempting to evaluate motivation to purchase organic food, Mintel determined that 28 percent agree that “they feel better about themselves when buying organic foods.” Among the committed purchasers, half consider organic foods are better for their health. It would be an interesting exercise to correlate disposable income, health status and age demographic with motivation to purchase organic food.

Benny Roberts, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, stated “While consumers overall may be unaware of organics’ traits or the precise benefits of eating organically, the products do enjoy a positive reputation and generally appear to make consumers feel good about their purchase, even if it comes at a higher cost.” He added “While consumers pay attention to brand names, in their eyes, there is little difference between national brand and store-brand organic options. As such, a considerable price difference could compel consumers to turn away from national brands in favor of a comparable option with an organic claim.”

The Mintel Report Natural/Organic Food Shopper U.S. 2017 is available for purchase from Mintel.

 

Sysco Reports on Q4 and FY 2017

Aug 18, 2017

    

In a press release dated August 14th Sysco Corporation (SYY) announced results for the 4th Quarter and Fiscal 2017 ending July 1st 2017.

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as $ x 1,000 except EPS)

  

  
 

Sprouts Farmers Market Searching for Suitor

Aug 18, 2017

    

According to Supermarket News, Sprouts Farmers Market is an acquisition target based on decisions by the Board to seek an alliance with a larger company. The decision was made prior to the recent announcement of the acquisition of Whole Foods Market by Amazon. Potential purchasers include the Kroger Company which owns Lucky’s Market, currently a competitor of Sprouts, in addition to their Main & Vine concept, which was intended to compete directly with Whole Foods Market.

  

Alternative suitors include Target Corporation and Albertson’s Safeway, since the fresh image would benefit both large chains. Analysts including Chuck Cerankosky cited in a Supermarket News article opined that a merger between FreshThyme Farmers Market and Sprouts would be mutually beneficial and represent a good fit. FreshThyme is supported by Meijer Inc. and would provide both volume and image to the regional operator of Midwest Supercenters.

Fort the most recent 2nd Quarter ending July 2nd 2017 the Company posted a net profit of $41.0 million ($37.2 in Q2 FY 2016) on sales of $1.184 B ($1.032B) with an EPS of $0.29 ($0.25)

Same store sales guidance for FY 2017 is projected to be 1.5 to 2.0 percent.

 

Chick Fil-A® Debuts Breakfast Bowls

Aug 18, 2017

    

Chick-Fil-A® has initiated a national launched of the Hash Brown Scramble, the first of a series of breakfast bowls. This menu item comprises scrambled eggs, tot-style hash browns, a blend of Monterrey- jack and cheddar cheese and either chicken nuggets or sausage.

Amanda Norris, Senior Director of Menu Development said “At Chick-Fil-A®, we understand the importance of breakfast and want to provide a wider range of options to our guests who are looking for a fast and delicious breakfast.”

  

She added “we have definitely seen an increase in popularity for breakfast bowls and the Hash Brown Scramble combines two favorites, our chicken nuggets and hash browns.” The Hash Brown Scramble bowl has 450 calories and 30 grams of protein and will be offered at $3.49.

 

Profit at Dean Foods Down by 50 Percent

Aug 18, 2017

    

In a release by Dean Foods Company dated August 8th, net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2017 attained $17.6 million compared to $33.4 million in the corresponding second quarter of FY 2016.  Net sales were virtually constant at $1.93 billion.  EPS declined from $0.36 for the second quarter of 2016 to 0.19 for the most recent quarter. 

  

Dean Foods was impacted by lower demand for milk due to consumer rejection of cereal and competition from milk substitutes.  The company representing the Nation’s largest dairy supplier has also encountered pressure from major store chains to reduce the price of milk marketed under store brands.  Wal-Mart stores has announced that it will open a milk processing plant in the U.S. to reduce reliance on a single large supplier.

The woes of Dean Foods as reflected in a 20 percent drop in the price of their shares following the second quarter release may have a message for egg producers. Companies heavily committed to Wal-Mart Stores are vulnerable to pressure from their major customer.  House brands are inexorably edging national brands. The 2015 HPAI outbreak demonstrated that the food and bakery industries were able to find substitutes for liquid egg following unprecedented escalation in price.  The egg industry has yet to reclaim all of the lost markets or to develop innovative applications for yolk, white and whole egg either in the domestic or export sectors.

 

Egg Nutrition Center Posts “Heart-Check Certified” Recipes

Aug 18, 2017


    

The American Heart Association® has certified a range of recipes using eggs. Dr. Tia Rains, Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center commented, “This is exciting because the American Heart Association now allow recipes with whole eggs, providing the opportunity to be certified as “heart-healthy.”

The certified recipes conform to limits on calories, saturated fat, trans-fat, sodium and added sugar as mandated by dietary recommendations issued by the Association.

  

Recipes include spicy siracha baked avocado eggs, stuffed quinoa peppers with eggs, zucchini noodles with poached egg topper and Mexican rice and bean with baked eggs.

Recipes can be downloaded from the Egg Nutrition Center website enc@eggnutritioncenter.org

 

CDC Awards Grants to Enhance Food Safety

Aug 18, 2017

    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is awarding $32 million to states and cities to improve detection, investigation and reporting of food-borne disease outbreaks.

Funding for the grants is derived from the CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement.

  

Specific funding will included:

  • Expanding the OutbreakNet sites to allow for 44 centers
  • Assigning $10 million for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.  This component will increase the number of whole-genome sequencing procedures
  • $6 million will be assigned to train state and local public health workers to detect and respond to outbreak of food-borne infection including application of PulseNet.  The designated Integrated Food Safety Centers of Excellence will receive funding to train epidemiologists, application of whole-genome sequencing and investigations of outbreaks.

Food-borne infections whether from produce, dairy, poultry or eggs will come under increased scrutiny. By applying whole genome sequencing, it will be possible for CDC to identify the source of infection in outbreaks.

 

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch for Franklin County, PA. to Proceed

Aug 18, 2017

    

According to the August 9th edition of Public Opinion, a local newspaper, the Montgomery Township Board of Supervisors has approved the Herbruck’s development plan subject to a highway occupancy permit. The Company is in the process of submitting a fourth plan to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  A route for wide trucks has yet to be identified which will facilitate transport of feed and eggs.

  

The proposed project will comprise eight poultry houses with a total capacity of 2.4 million hens which would represent approximately 10 percent of the current total output of the State.

The project will generate 190 jobs and will involve $100 million in direct investment.

 

 

 

Fipronil Contamination of Eggs in South Korea

Aug 18, 2017

    

Following the concern over Fipronil contamination of eggs in 17 nations in the E.U., it is evident that regulatory authorities worldwide are now assaying for the insecticide in eggs and poultry meat. A news report dated August 15th reproduced on FoodMarket.com documented an emerging crisis in South Korea.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs found that a farm located in Gyeonggi Province with approximately 30,000 hens delivered eggs with detectible Fipronil. The farm owner apparently used the insecticide presumably to control mites. A second farm in the same province used Bifenthrin, a commonly used pyrethroid insecticide to control ants and flies.

  

The Ministry has initiated a crash program to assay eggs from large farms and has commenced an inspection of all units. Based on consumer concerns, all the major retailers have ceased selling eggs. The largest food retailers include E-Mart, Home Plus, Lotte Mart and Hanaro Mart in addition to convenience stores including 7-Eleven have pulled eggs from shelves. It is absolutely unprecedented for all stores to simultaneously cease selling eggs even if only for a week during which assays can be performed.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has initiated a program of trace back and will recall eggs associated with the index farm and any others that may have misused insecticides.

The Korean Poultry Association will institute a program of education to update farmers on the correct use of insecticides with specific concentration on following label instructions.

 

SE from Small Farm in Michigan

Aug 18, 2017

    

According to press reports, a limited of outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis has occurred in the upper peninsula of Michigan involving eight contiguous counties. The Sault News of Sault, Ste. Marie, MI reports that the source was the LaBar Poultry Farm located in Manistique. The unit has approximately 2,500 hens and presumably is not subject to the requirements of the FDA Salmonella Prevention Rule.

  

The outbreak was traced back to the farm following investigation of a cluster of cases in the area. The vehicle of infection in one case comprised uncooked, unpasteurized raw eggs used to prepare Hollandaise sauce for eggs Benedict. Trace- back disclosed environmental contamination with SE in the environment of the LaBar farm operated by Jeff and Heidi LaBar. This is reminiscent of the Boston “Talk of the Town” case which initiated concern over SE emanating from the DeCoster complex in Turner, ME. during the 1980s.

 The LeBar operation came to the attention of EGG-CITE in 2014 when Jeff won a $3 million Michigan lottery. Despite his windfall, LaBar has continued producing eggs, possibly until his winnings are all used up. LaBar has a checkered past, having been convicted of drug dealing for which he served seven years of a 10 to 20 year sentence before adopting religion as his life guide. Up until the time of his lottery win, he was faced with financial problems including the imminence of foreclosure. Operating a single barn with outside access for flocks, LaBar stated “I’ve always liked chickens, and I would like to do that for a living, but up here we’re so far from any population that would buy the needed amount to sustain or to make a living, so it has never really panned out.”

Next time Jeff was in the house and remembered to look, he glanced at his lottery slip

 

YUM! Brands Reports on Q2 of FY 2017

Aug 18, 2017

    

In a press release dated August 3rd Yum! Brands (YUM) announced results for the 2nd Quarter of Fiscal 2017 ending June 30th 2017.

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as $ x 1,000 except EPS)

  

  
 

PMI Bulldog Egg Carton Separator for Six-Pack Cartons

Aug 17, 2017

    

PMI Machine and Supply Company of Lakeland, FL have developed and refined the Bulldog Carton Separator to split a conventional fiber or PVC carton into two six-egg packs.

Designed by Michael Greeson in response to requests by supermarkets and packing plants, the Bulldog replaces knives, scissors, hotwires and other makeshift methods of dividing cartons.

The Bulldog receives cartons traversing a conveyor belt. The rapidly rotating blade slices through the point of separation producing two clean-edged six-pack cartons without damaging the contents. Cartons exit the separator cleanly without adherent foam particles, fiber dust or deposits.

The Bulldog Separator is recommended by Dolco Packaging since it is compatible with deep-V cartons.

  

Features of the Bulldog Separator include:

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Compatibility with Diamond-Moba or Staalkat packers
  • Early modes in operation since 1994
  • Can separate either open or closed cartons

The clip demonstrates operation of the Bulldog Carton Separator with both input and exit views.

The installation is available from PMI Machine and Supply Inc. at a cost of $1,875 per unit plus shipping and handling. Discounts offered for the purchase of more than one machine.

For further information contact Michael L. Greeson:  pmimachine@verizon.net or at (863) 944-4201

View the video of the Bulldog Carton Seperator in Action at http://egg-cite.com/specialedition/pmi.wmv

 

CME Prices

Aug 16, 2017

    

According to the August 10th WASDE release, 83.5 million acres of corn will be harvested to yield 14.15 billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.38 billion bushels from 88.7 million acres harvested.

 

On Friday August 11th at close of trading on the CME, the following rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal were recorded, together with the bracketed value for the previous week.

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

Sept. ’17   361     (367)     

Dec. ’17     375      (381)  

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Aug.  ’17   935     (949)    

Nov. ’17    945      (957)  

Soybean meal ($per ton)

Aug.  ‘17   299     (304)

Dec.  ’17    305      (310) 

 

Changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal this week were:-

  • Corn:                     Sept. quotation down by 6 cents.                    (-1.6 percent)
  • Soybeans:            Aug. quotation down by 48 cents                    (-1.5 percent)
  • Soybean Meal:    Aug. quotation down by $5/ton                    (-1.6 percent)                                  

 

For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn :-

  • The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen
  • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

 

For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

  • The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen
  • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

See posting on the August 11th edition of CHICK-CITE (enter WASD in SEARCH block) summarizing the August 10th USDA-WASDE Report #568, for a review of price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced during the 2017-18 season.

 

Status of 2017 Corn and Soybean Crops

Aug 16, 2017

    

The USDA Crop Progress Report released Monday August 14th  recorded progress in corn and soybean development relatively consistent with 2016 indicated in the tables below:-

 

                                                                            WEEK ENDING

Crop

August 6th

August 13th

5-Year Average

Corn Silking

Corn Dough

           93

           42

           97

           61

            98

            62

Corn Dent

             7

           16

            20

Soybeans Blooming

           90

           94

            93

Soybeans Setting Pods

           65                         

           79

            75

                  

Crop

V. Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Corn Condition

     3         

   9

 26

  49

     13

Soybean Condition

     3

   9

 29

  49

     10

 

Parameter

V. Short

Short

Adequate

Surplus

Topsoil moisture:  Past Week

    15

   25

53

 7

                              Past Year

    10

22

59

 9

Subsoil moisture:  Past Week

    14

   26

55

 5

                              Past Year

8

23

63

 6

 

 

How will Amazon Improve Whole Foods Profitability?

Aug 16, 2017

    

Analysts are evaluating possible changes in the structure and operations of Whole Foods Market following the acquisition by Amazon.  At the outset it is this Commentator’s opinion that nothing much will be done unless the current Board and top level of management is replaced. 

Some attempts were made by John Mackey to reduce operating costs and to introduce more efficiency but these efforts did not move the needle and made an acquisition inevitable given shareholder disaffection.

  

As reported by Mark Hamstra in the August 8th edition of Supermarket News, Amazon will have to concentrate on the supply chain.  Since Whole Foods Market created the image of “healthful, fresh and local”, the supply chain to support the company image was expensive, especially with regard to small-farm organic produce.  It is essential for Amazon to reduce the “whole paycheck” image of WFM. This will require restrictions on sourcing of products. 

This is especially important given that Walmart, Aldi, emerging Lidl and even mainstream supermarkets have managed to improve freshness and quality of their produce but have restrained price.  These companies have sharpened their pencils when dealing with suppliers and have introduced private labels where possible to reduce prices into the basket

The obvious challenge facing Amazon will be to improve the profitability of Whole Foods Market but at the same time preserve the image and prevent disaffection by loyal customers – a trend which was evident before the announcement of the acquisition.

 

AEB to Partner with Laurie Hernandez for Back-to-School Promotion

Aug 16, 2017

    

The American Egg Board has announced that it will engage the promotional services of Laurie Hernandez a gymnastic gold medalist to launch a national search for “incredible kids”.  The campaign will highlight high-quality protein including eggs to allow students to achieve their optimal potential.

Parents will be able to submit a photo or video of their child together with a caption explaining the exceptionality.

  

During the contest a winner will be selected each week for a monetary grant and back-to-school themed prize. Laurie Hernandez will visit the school of the grand prize winner.

Hernandez noted, “I am very excited to partner with the American Egg Board to search for incredible kids across the country who are doing amazing things for the lives of others.”  She added “I know first-hand how important it is to recognize children for their accomplishments and look forward to seeing the inspiring stories about remarkable kids submitted to the You’re Incredible BecauseContest.

 

Shane Commentary

 

Recrimination over Fipronil Debacle

Aug 18, 2017

    

Following revelations that authorities in Belgium knew of Fipronil contamination of eggs in early June but only notified the EU in late July, beleaguered officials are now blaming the Netherlands.  The company allegedly responsible for supplying the insecticide cocktail containing Fipronil applied to as many as 200 farms was based in the Netherlands.  Belgium claims that Holland was tardy in their investigation delaying critical information until the end of July.

  

The Minister of Agriculture for Belgium Denis Ducarne addressing a Parliamentary investigation noted “One month without having any information from the Dutch Agency” --presumably the Dutch Food Authority.  Ducarne maintains the Dutch had been aware of Fipronil in eggs since November 2016 without any declaration.

It is significant that no official reports or media articles have actually quoted levels of Fipronil in eggs.  This data would be of interest to actually assess the risk to consumers. Actual assay results will be necessary to reconcile conflicting statements of low-risk made by Dutch, Belgian and U.K. officials in contrast to a more pessimistic interpretation by Germany.

It is hoped that investigations will soon be concluded which will reveal the duration of contamination, the levels in eggs from affected farms and the concentration of residual Fipronil in tissue from culled flocks.  Results from epidemiologic studies involving temporal and spatial considerations included in a comprehensive report should be forthcoming since there are lessons to be learned from this incident which is eerily reminiscent of the dioxin contamination in Germany and the Benelux Nations in 2011.

Agriculture Minister Dennis Ducarne of Belgium
reviewing aspects of the fipronil scandal with the media

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Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
Contact     C. V.

Industry Prices: Tue Nov 14
 Corn3.38 $/bu
 Soybeans9.59 $/bu
 Soybean Meal310.30 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer139  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 125-128 ¢/doz