Misleading Promotion of “Soy-Free” Eggs

May 21, 2015

Chino Valley Ranchers advances false information and distorted quotations ascribed to scientists to support the concept of their “Soy Free” eggs.  The Company claims that their organic omega-3 eggs are produced by flocks which are not fed soybean meal.  The company maintains that their product cannot induce a soybean allergy “due to an absence of all soy protein inside of the egg!”

Claims are made in their literature that soy protein is linked to hypothyroidism, early puberty and other effects as claimed in The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel, which lacks scientific support and acceptance by epidemiologists, dieticians and the medical community.

Literature circulated to support Chino Valley Ranchers “soy-free” eggs misquotes Dr. Monica Giusti, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University. Direct communication with Dr. Giusti confirmed that her research as misquoted in the Chino Valley Ranchers literature, related to the presence of flavenoids and not soy proteins in eggs.  Flavenoids are health-promoting and their structure is completely different from amino acids.  Since allergens are proteinaceous in composition, the presence of flavonoids derived from soybeans and deposited in eggs is beneficial and in no way can induce an allergic reaction. 

Dr. Steve L. Taylor Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology and Co-Director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln confirmed that the two significant soy allergens are glycinin and conglycinin.  These compounds are not a transferred to eggs laid by hens fed soybean meal.  Dr. Taylor also confirmed that isoflavones are not proteins and therefore are not allergenic.


Egg Industry News


2015 Alltech REBELation Symposium Concludes

May 22, 2015

At the Wednesday 20th May concluding ceremony of the 2015 Alltech REBELation Symposium held in Lexington Kentucky, Dr. T. Pearse Lyons inspired attendees to expand their activities beyond the mundane and obvious.  He exalted his audience to “create your business through one relationship at a time”.  He added “find the extra mile and go there, learn how you can build a $2 billion company if you empower your team one person at a time.”

The 2015 REBELation Symposium attracted close to 3,000 registrants from 68 nations including 110 journalists.  The program included 122 speakers addressing a wide variety of agribusiness, production and marketing topics.  The event generated 6,000 tweets, half a million Facebook posts and the Alltech REBELation Website generated 13,000 “hits”.


IEC Launches Avian Influenza Action Plan

May 22, 2015

The International Egg Commission (IEC) will establish their Avian Influenza Action Plan to address the growing impact of the disease.  A task force is to be formed to bring together the collective wisdom and experience of experts in the fields of virology and epidemiology.

The first issue will be to encourage the World Organization for Animal health (OIE) to promote the principle of compartmentalization.  This imperative arises from the fact that primary breeders are constrained from exporting GP and parent stock from farms if they happen to be located in a state or nation with diagnosed H5 or H7 avian influenza. Compartmentalization recognizes that breeding facilities are operated with extreme levels of biosecurity. This involves barriers to introduction of disease and constant monitoring of health status, frequently by assay of serum and swab samples for bacterial and viral diseases at weekly intervals.


Subsidy for Organic Producers

May 22, 2015

The National Organic Program administered by the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service has announced the allocation of $12 million to participating state departments of agriculture to compensate for the cost of organic certification of farms.

This is nothing more than a straight-through transfer of public funds to certifying agencies which operate as for-profit entities. Producers under the National Organic Program should be able to pay for certification from their profits as with any business enterprise.  There does not appear to be any Federal support to reimburse producers of conventional food products for expenditure on training, preparation of documentation and audits for SQF certification which has a direct bearing on food safety and public health.


USDA-AMS Spurns Cornucopia Institute

May 22, 2015

In a March 18th letter addressed to Will Fantel, Research Director for the Cornucopia Institute, Matthew Michael, Director of Compliance and Enforcement for the National Organic Program rejected the December 10, 2014 submission made by Cornucopia regarding outside access.

Cornucopia Institute obtained aerial images of a number of poultry and dairy farms with organic certification alleging that outside access was either nonexistent or deficient.

In his response Michael stated, The NOP has reviewed these complaints and has determined investigation is unwarranted.  Each of the currently certified operations is in good standing with its certifier, with no current compliance issues related to outside access or access to pasture.  Further, the photographic evidence submitted is insufficient to warrant investigations.  The photographs depict a single moment in time and do not demonstrate that the operations denied outdoor access to livestock.  In some cases NOP was unable to verify that the photographs submitted show the certified operations in questions”.


Chart of Avian Influenza

May 22, 2015

The AEB circulated a chart from the Wall Street Journal on May 22nd showing the impact of HPAI on the USDA composite egg price. The number of “birds” affected includes approximately 7 million turkeys. It is estimated that to date 27 million hens have been depleted or have died representing almost 10 percent of the National flock but a disproportionate segment of the hens supplying the breaking market. It is estimated that about one third of these flocks have been lost, impacting a few of the Nation’s largest in-line units housing as many as 5 million hens”



Concern over Disposal of Euthanized Flocks

May 21, 2015

Iowa and to a lesser extent South Dakota are facing a serious problem of disposing of hens euthanized or dying during the current HPAI epornitic.  Many landfills have refused to accept dead birds based on real or perceived liability or nuisance concerns. Additional insurance coverage has been purchased at considerable expense by the few landfills willing to receive dead birds.  It is not possible to transport birds in sealed containers from Iowa to adjoining states for disposal. 

On Friday 15th May, Tom Vilsack,  Secretary of the USDA and a former Governor of Iowa used his influence to attempt to resolve the impasse in conjunction with Bill Northey, Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Iowa.  It is understood that as a result of representations the Northwest Iowa Solid Waste System landfill at Sheldon located at the intersection of devastated  O’Brien and Sioux Counties and the Iowa Waste System near Malvern, in Mills County will receive carcasses.


Characteristics of the CEVA Vectormune HVT-AIV Vaccine

May 21, 2015

The use of a vaccine as an adjunct to existing control measures in the face of devastating mortality from H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza implies a consideration of available vaccines.

Read the full article at http://egg-cite.com/articles/single.aspx?contentID=4969


Breaking Stock Higher by the Day

May 21, 2015

USDA documented the rise in price of Central States breaking stock at a range of $1.83 to $2.25 per dozen with checks at $1.68 to $1.71 per dozen on Wednesday 20th May.

Ten days ago these grades were 99 cents and 84 cents per dozen respectively and have doubled in price since May 7th. This reflects the depletion of almost one third of the Nation’s hens housed for the liquid market.


USDA Prices and Inventory Report, May18th 2015.

May 19, 2015

The Midwest market was predictably higher in price as of Friday 15th May, compared to the previous week. This clearly indicates that although the U.S. shell-egg and liquid markets are disconnected within fairly broad limits the effect of massive depletions of in-line breaking plants and some shell egg complexes is starting to reflect in a disparity between supply and consumer and food service demand. Reports of HPAI outbreaks in Iowa egg farms and a S. Dakota complex continue involving as many as 4 million additional hens this past week for a total of 27 million or 9 percent of the National flock.


AFIA Applauds Senate Approval of TPA

May 18, 2015

The American Feed Industry Association has applauded the Senate approval of Trade Promotion Authority legislation which was passed 65 to 33 on May 14th.  The AFIA is a member of the Trade Benefits America Coalition which actively campaigned for passage of TPA.

Joel G. Newman noted “pending trade pacts including the TransPacific Partnership will provide critical growth possibilities through direct feed and ingredients exports as well as increased shipments of U.S. livestock, poultry and dairy products.  Without passage of TPA, U.S. negotiators will continue to lack the ability and leverage needed when negotiating free trade agreements.”


USDA Process Verified GMO-Free Label

May 18, 2015

In a memorandum to USDA personnel, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack outlined a new USDA process verified certification program.  Although companies can now apply GMO-Free labels on food, the new initiative places the authority of the USDA behind the claim, indicated by a seal to be administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service.

During the past two years there have been a number of  attempts to pass state and local legislation including four failed ballot initiatives to require food manufactures to label all foods if they contain ingredients derived by genetic engineering (‘GE’ previously GMO).  Vermont however was the first state to require labeling which will go into effect in 2016 subject to legal challenges from a wide range of stakeholders including the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association. 


Survey of Wildlife for HPAI

May 18, 2015

Wildlife biologist affiliated the USDA will commence trapping rodent,  small mammals and free- living birds on farms in Iowa to determine whether they are possible carries of avian influenza.  The project will be coupled with an epidemiologic investigation of the current epornitic of HPAI.

EGG-CITE has previously advocated a comprehensive epidemiologic survey to determine the risk factors associated with outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza strain H5N2 on turkey farms and on large egg-production complexes. 

Read the full article at http://egg-cite.com/articles/single.aspx?contentID=4945


Shane Commentary


Welfare Issues Reviewed at IEC Conference

May 18, 2015

The emerging issues of beak trim and disposal of cockerels were reviewed at the International Egg Commission Business Meeting in Lisbon.  A number of EU nations have banned any form of beak trimming despite concerns over cannibalism in non-confined hens.  For some time, the NovaTech™ Infrared System has been regarded as a “bridge technology” in the EU to treat the beaks of chicks at the hatchery.  By 17 weeks pullets have beaks of normal length and the IP process only removes the maxillary “hook” which is responsible for injury from aggression.

Histological examination shows retention of neural tissue and the beak still serves as a sensitive organ for prehension of food and preening.  Speculation over breeding more placid chickens which are less susceptible to cannibalism and aggression is wishful thinking for even intermediate-term commercial application.  Although primary breeders are evaluating absence of aggression and fear response as traits, incorporating this characteristic in an index selection program without sacrificing performance will be difficult to achieve.


Mintel Reports on Attitudes Towards Organic

May 18, 2015

Mintel, a prominent market research agency www.mintel.com has reported on the attitude of U.S. consumers towards the “Organic” label.  According to the principal investigator Bill Roberts, Senior Food and Drink Analyst, consumers are confused over the claimed benefits for “Organic”.  There is a perception that the “organic” appellation is a justification to increase price.

Highlights of the survey include:-

  • About 70 percent of respondents considered that organic products were “healthier”
  • About 70 percent of purchasers taken to account environmental, ethical (sustainability or welfare?) in their purchase decision.  There is a difference between male and female shoppers. Only 20 percent of women and 16 percent of men purchase organics because they believe that flocks and herds are treated more ethically.
  • Half of consumers surveyed consider that the organic label is “an excuse to charge more”.  The “Swing Generation” (aged over 65) recorded a 57 percent level of cynicism regarding organic status and price.
  • A third of consumers regard “organic” as a marketing term with no real value or definition.
  • Only 39 percent of Generation X (38 to 48 years of age) considered that organic-labeled products are actually organic.
  • A third of respondents (33 percent) indicated that they purchased an organic product (food or beverage) during the previous three months.  Organic purchases were higher among the Millennial (20 to 32 years of age) at 49 percent.  More than half (58 percent) of the Swing Generation consume no organic products.

International Outbreaks of HPAI

May 18, 2015


With our preoccupation with HPAI in the upper Midwest, it is natural that we have shifted attention from outbreaks in other parts of the World. The following declarations to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have appeared on ProMED in recent weeks:-

Israel reported an outbreak of H5N1 involving 13,000 turkeys, confirmed on May 8th in Bezet near the border with southwest Lebanon.  Eight previous cases occurred in this area in January but all were eradicated by February 11th.

Palestine reported H5N1 HPAI in both Gaza and the West Bank in late March but only recently reported to the OIE.

Mexico reported H7N3 strain HPAI isolated from endemic wild birds (a chacalaca, Ortalis vetula and a thrush Turdus grayi).  Isolates were made from dead birds in a nature reserve in the state of Chiapas.  Active surveillance was implemented.

Burkina Faso reported highly pathogenic avian influenza on a farm located in Tangora in the central region of the Nation.  Avian influenza has been diagnosed in nine areas of the West-central African countrysince March.  Neighbours including Cote d’ Ivoire, Mali, and Togo have banned imports from Burkina Faso.

Turkey reported an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in the northern province of Kastamonu with action taken by the Government on Sunday May 3rd.  Apparently as many as 40,000 chickens have died in the Province of Bandirma over the past three months.


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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Industry Prices: Fri May 22
 Corn3.60 $/bu
 Soybeans9.27 $/bu
 Soybean Meal304.20 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer185  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 143-146 ¢/doz