Punishment for the DeCosters

Oct 31, 2014

Austin "Jack" DeCoster


An attorney for Austin “Jack” DeCoster has pleaded for a lenient sentence for his clients Jack and son Peter.  Both have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of “introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce”.  The penalty may include a year in jail.  At issue is the Federal charge that the DeCosters company, Quality Egg (an oxymoron if there ever was one!) deliberately placed false processing and expiration dates on labels and bribed a USDA-AMS grader.

Deception in labeling is illegal and unethical.  As a crime this misdemeanor relates to quality.  Under the circumstances however the present case incorporated a public health component. The DeCosters knew that their flocks were infected with Salmonella Enteritidis over many years.  It was also known at the time that the longer eggs were stored the greater would be the proliferation of the pathogen within the egg and hence the greater the potential infectivity of the product.  The possibility of infecting consumers would be increased even more if eggs were subjected to thermal abuse which may have occurred or if hens were force molted or subjected to stress.


Egg Industry News


Passing of Dr. Duane Olsen

Oct 30, 2014

Dr. Duane Elliot Olsen, a retired poultry veterinarian and a resident of Long Beach, WA. passed away on October 24th after undergoing declining health for a few years.  He was active in the Washington State Veterinary Association and was a long-standing member of the AAAP.  

Duane graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1973 and was involved in poultry production through his professional career which was spent on the West Coast.

His professional appointments included work with Fors Farms a Franchisee of Hubbard and with Foster Farms in flock health. He served as a poultry practitioner in the Central Valley during the mid-90s. He spent the last 13 years before retiring in 2013 as the General Manager of the Briarwood Division of Valley Fresh Farms, located in Rochester, WA.

Duane was a congenial colleague always willing to share his wide experience and practical knowledge. He was a good motivator and mentor of subordinates and trained a number of supervisors and managers.  


Kemin Announces New Appointment

Oct 29, 2014

Dr. Chris Rude has joined Kemin as a Poultry Technical Service Manager.  He graduated from Kansas State University with a Baccalaureate Degree in Animal Science and then earned his Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Poultry Nutrition. Formerly Dr. Rude was affiliated to a major turkey producer in Minnesota.

For further information contact Nichole Peckumn Marketing Communications Manager nichole.peckumn@kemin.com.        


AGs of Midwest States Appeal California Verdict

Oct 29, 2014

Predictably the Attorneys General of six states have appealed the ruling of a Federal Judge upholding the California Housing and Food Safety Regulations, which mandates a minimum floor area for hens roughly conforming to the requirement of Proposition Number 2.

In the October 2nd ruling, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Muller stated that the six states lacked legal standing and therefore could not sue on behalf of their citizens.  Muller maintains that the Attorneys General represented the “economic interest of egg farmers rather than a substantial segment of their populations”.


Howard Magwire Receives UEP President’s Award

Oct 29, 2014

Howard Magwire who served as Vice President of Government Relations for the UEP from 2004 until 2014 received the UEP President’s Award at the recent annual meeting of the organization in Albuquerque, NM. 

Prior to his retirement from the USDA in 2004 after a distinguished and productive career, Magwire served as National Supervisor of the USDA Egg Product Inspection Program.


Confidence in Egg Consumption 

Oct 29, 2014

Dr. Mitch Kanter, Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center expressed confidence in future increases in egg consumption.  Quoted in the October 24th on-line edition of Food-Navigator USA,  Kanter addressing the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Atlanta, stated, “it’s a good time to be in eggs where there is a big opportunity right now for protein, since refined carbohydrates are getting beaten up.  Eggs are a great source of natural protein and nutrition for a small amount of calories.

”He added “I think consumers are also much more positive about eggs than they were five to ten years ago as the message is getting across that dietary cholesterol and serum and cholesterol are two different things.” He alluded to a meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal in 2013 concluding that higher consumption of eggs is not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke.


AEB Promotes Egg Attributes

Oct 29, 2014

In the Media Update circulated by Ashley Richardson, Director, Industry Communications, the AEB cites articles promoting the attributes of eggs.  These include:-

  • High protein content of eggs with balanced amino acid ratios in the Arizona Daily Star
  • Eggs provide an economical choice for protein in the Wahpeton Daily News
  • Satiety from consuming eggs for breakfast in the  Medical Express
  • Eggs as a source of lutein in the Sun Sentinel
  • Egg dishes are promoted in the New Republic
  • Higher protein intake appear to reduce hypertension in the  Science Blog
Additional information, references and reprints can be obtained from Ashley at the AEB arichardson@aeb.org

Promotion of GMOs

Oct 29, 2014

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded the Cornell Alliance for Science with $5.6 million to “depolarize the charge debate around agriculture biotechnology”.  The grant will be used to develop on-line information and training programs to convey the potential contribution of GM technology to consumers.

The Gates Foundation obviously recognizes the need to implement advanced technology to alleviate hunger especially in the developing nations.  Opponents of GM technology indulge in sophistry and disseminate false information which influences both consumers and regulators.  The grant will help to counter adverse publicity based on anecdotal reports and distortion of science.


Study Cited on Dr. Oz Program Repudiated

Oct 29, 2014

A bogus study apparently used to validate claims for a product to reduce weight as promoted on a Dr. Oz program has been repudiated by the researchers involved in the questionable research.

At issue is the promotion of green coffee extract.  Oz claimed that the product would be beneficial in reducing weight and promoting health.

In the past, Dr. Oz in his quack-TV shows has criticized both red meat and eggs in his promotion of veganism, introducing guests with questionable credentials and knowledge who invariably oppose GM technology and intensive livestock production.

Oz, who was the subject of a Congressional review has been consistently proven incorrect in his assertions and claims to support sales of products and off-the-wall pseudoscience.


Internal EPA Validation of WOTUS

Oct 29, 2014

The controversial proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule by the Environmental Protection Agency has been validated by an intramural report. The panel recommended “the report should also clearly indicate that the definitions applied to rivers, streams, and wetlands are scientific, rather than legal or regulatory in structure”.  In justifying the proposed rule, the Panel concluded “relatively low levels of connectivity can be meaningful in terms of impacts on the chemical, physical and biological integrity of downstream waters”. 


E-Verify System Reviewed

Oct 29, 2014

A report entitled “Findings of the E-Verify User Survey” prepared by a consulting group for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was released on October 15th

According to the report, 92% of users of E-Verify accept that the system is effective in preventing unauthorized employment.  The vast majority (97%) of users accept that the system is user-friendly.  House Bill H.R.1772 and the Senate counterpart (S.744) will  mandate the system for all employers nationwide.


Dunkin’ Brands Posts Increased Profits

Oct 29, 2014


Dunkin’ Brands (DNKN), parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts posted increased sales and earnings for the third quarter ending September 27th.  The chain has concentrated on breakfasts with an innovative range of egg and sausage menu items. Obviously with a growing number of locations and a demonstrated increase in same-store sales Dunkin’ Donuts is drawing traffic from McDonald’s.


Olymel to Expand Processing Plant

Oct 29, 2014

Olymel, a Quebec-based Cooperative will invest $10 million for an expansion of their plant in Saint-Hyacinthe.  The project will include an expansion of 15,000 square foot and will incorporate a third cooking line, warehouse, loading docks and a de-boning operation.  The planned expansion will increase capacity for cooked products including breaded portions to be marketed under the Olymel Brand and for private label sales.


USDA Layers 2013 Report, Part III

Oct 29, 2014

EGG-CITE has previously commented on the first two parts of Layers 2013 compiled by the National Animal Health Monitoring System. It is reiterated that the survey comprised 328 farms of which 152 comprised more than 100,000 hens and 114 responding farms fewer than 30,000 hens.  The response rate for the 692 eligible farms selected for the survey was 47 percent.  Accordingly there are some questions as to the relevance of the survey especially with regard to large in-line integrated operations producing a high proportion of U.S. table eggs and liquid. Data as presented relates to numbers of farms.  It would be more helpful to also express responses as a proportion of total hens since 53 percent of the respondent farms had less than 100,000 layers.

The following points summarize the major conclusions for Part III dealing with aspects of health and management with specific reference to Salmonella Enteritidis (SE).

  • The proportion of flocks yielding Salmonella Enteritidis on environmental testing over the period June 1st 2012 to May 31st 2013 attained 1.2% as reported by the responding farms.  This compares to approximately 7 percent of houses with at least one positive SE environmental swab culture as ascertained from the Layers 1999 survey covering May 3rd to October 22nd 1999. The question arises as to whether managers of farms with known SE-positive flocks declined to participate thereby underestimating the prevalence rate. If the 2013 survey is representative there has been a reduction in SE among U.S. flocks. This may be attributed in large measure to the elimination of positive flocks since 2011 and implementation of effective control measures by the industry including vaccination, biosecurity and monitoring.

Read the full article at http://egg-cite.com/articles/single.aspx?contentID=3939


Antitrust Litigation Settlement

Oct 28, 2014

Weinestein Kitchenoff and Asher LLC a legal firm announced on October 27th that a settlement has been reached between Defendants including Midwest Poultry Services LP, National Food Corporation and United Egg Producers/United States Egg Marketers and a series of Plaintiffs. 

The Case #08-md-02002 arises from a claim that the Defendants including Sparboe Farms, conspired to limit the supply of shell eggs and egg products in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  In terms of the settlements the plaintiffs will release all claims against Midwest, National Food Corporation and the UEP against payment of $2.5 million by Midwest, $1 million by the NFC and $500,000 by the UEP/USEM.

Sparboe Farms will not be required to provide monetary relief since they evidently cooperated with the Plaintiffs to resolve the case and achieved an equitable settlement.


Weekly USDA Prices and Inventory

Oct 28, 2014


The USDA Egg Market News Report for Monday October 27th 2014, (Vol. 61: #86) reflected price stability for the major shell-egg sizes, unchanged compared to the previous week.

There was a 4.4 percent increase in the stock of generic eggs but specialty egg inventory declined by 1.1 percent as documented in the following table, listing the “most frequent” range of Midwest values as delivered to warehouses:-

  Current Week    Previous Week
Extra Large   117 –  120          117  –  120  cents per dozen
Large 115 –  118   115 –  118  
Medium 103 –  106   103 –  106  
Certified Organic EL 275 –  310   275 –  310  
Central States Breaking Stock 97 –  99   95 –  98  
Checks 80 –  86   79  –  85  

USDA Crop Progress Report

Oct 28, 2014



The October 27th USDA- National Agricultural Statistical Service, Crop Progress Report reflecting the week ending October 26th denoted a slight improvement in the quality of the corn crop with 80 percent in “Good” to “Excellent” categories. There was no data on the quality of the soybean crop, characterized by a grade of 73 percent for the two highest categories last week. The USDA reported that 96 percent of the corn crop was mature, almost equivalent to the 5-year average of 97 percent.  It is noted that 46 percent of the 2014 corn crop has been harvested compared to 31 percent last week and a 5-year average of 65 percent, confirming delays in transfer from fields to silos and elevators.

As of Sunday 26th 70 percent of the corn crop had been harvested compared to 53 percent last week and an average of 76 percent over five years

The condition of the corn crop was classified by the USDA as:-

  Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
Corn            2% 5% 19% 50% 24%



SIAL in Paris a Success

Oct 27, 2014

More than 6,300 exhibitors from 45 countries participated in the bi-annual SIAL exhibition which attracted 150,000 visitors from more than 150 nations.  The exhibition is billed as the World’s largest food innovation marketplace for buyers and exhibitors representing four continents. 

The event was held at the Parc des Exposition de Paris-Nord Villepinte, from October 19th to 23rd.  SIAL alternates with the ANUGA Food And Beverage Fair in Cologne Germany and the two events represent significant opportunities to generate international trade with the potential to generate export volume for the U.S.



Shane Commentary


Nobel Peace Prize jointly to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi

Oct 29, 2014

The Award of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize jointly to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, a proponent for female education in the third world and to Kailash Satyarthi of India, an activist for children’s rights contrast sharply with the destructive activities of Vandana Shiva who opposes intensive agriculture and especially GMO technology.

Both 2014 Nobelists have made contributions to the citizens of their Continent opposing child labor and discrimination against daughters acquiring an education.  Learning improves productivity, enhances neonatal survival and the quality of life.

World Food Prize Laureate Sanjaya Rajaram an Indian-born scientist now a citizen of Mexico, considers that crop yields and sustainability can be improved by applying GMO technology.


Cornucopia Institute Employs Aerial Surveillance

Oct 29, 2014

The Cornucopia Institute founded in 2004, serves as the watchdog for compliance on behalf of small-scale producers of organic products. The organization is congenitally opposed to what they consider “commercial-scale” organic production especially by corporate entities even though organized as cooperatives or family-held.

Recently the organization carried out aerial surveillance of the Chino Valley organic egg-production farm in Texas.  At issue is whether the farm complies with regulations requiring outside access.  Currently the USDA Organic Certification Rule does not specify any actual area for hens expressed as square feet per bird.  In contrast, the American Humane Association and Humane Farm Animal Care programs have specific allowances for their respective certifications for the “free range” category which is independent of organic status.


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Industry Prices: Fri Oct 31
 Corn3.78 $/bu
 Soybeans10.51 $/bu
 Soybean Meal385.00 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer99  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 115-118 ¢/doz