Editorial

 

Nonconformity with FDA Salmonella Prevention Plan Disclosed

Sep 12, 2014
    

FDA posts warning letters issued to producers who deviate from accepted standards on their designated website.  www.fda.gov/ICECI/enforcementaction/warningletters.

A three-page letter with respect to an egg farm in Ramona, CA. must surely indicate that the unit  is an outlier since the U.S. egg production industry has demonstrated excellent compliance with the 2010 FDA Salmonella Prevention Rule.

In the specific case, an inspection on January 15th 2014 demonstrated the following deficiencies:-

  • An incomplete SE (Salmonella Enteritidis) Prevention Plan, failing to document necessary steps to prevent introduction of infection
  • Failure to obtain pullets tested or assayed for the presence of SE, prior to transfer from the rearing farm to the production unit
  • Gross neglect of rodent exclusion and suppression.  In addition the farm failed to maintain records of rodent catches or to monitor infestation by establishing a rodent index.
  • Allowing chicken carcasses to accumulate inside laying houses
  • Failure to remove vegetation from the perimeter of houses
  • Storage of junk and disused equipment in the proximity of houses
  • Failure to document temperatures during post-collection refrigeration
  • Deviation from accepted FDA protocols with respect to SE assays
  • Presence of wild birds in houses due to failure to erect netting to prevent entry
   

Egg Industry News

 

Southwest Specialty Eggs Acquires Franchisee

Sep 17, 2014
    

In a recent press release, Cal-Maine Foods Inc. announced that a subsidiary, Southwest Specialty Eggs LLC will acquire the franchise to distribute Eggland’s Best Brands in Southern California and Las Vegas NV. This development was occasioned by the sale of the franchise previously held by Moark LLC and sanctioned by Eggland’s Best LLC.

   
 

Market Basket Back in Operation

Sep 17, 2014
    

After an exceedingly acrimonious and financially destructive Board dispute, Market Basket has resumed operation in their New England stores.

Following reinstatement of Arthur T. Demoulas as CEO the Company has begun stocking shelves with meat, seafood, non-perishable items and produce.

   
 

EPA Prohibited from Issuing Controversial Water Rule

Sep 17, 2014
    

On Tuesday 9th September the House of Representatives passed legislation prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from finalizing proposed rules relating to potential contamination of waterways.   The legislation was captioned “Waters of the U.S. Regulatory Outreach Protection Act of 2014” and passed 262 to 152.

The next stage is the Senate with proponents of the Bill gathering support in the face of a threatened Presidential veto.

   
 

Weekly USDA Prices and Inventory

Sep 17, 2014

     

The USDA Egg Market News Report for Monday September 15th 2014, (Vol. 61: #74) indicated a significant 12 percent decline in unit revenue for the past week with respect to Extra Large and Large sizes. Mediums were down 5 percent. There was a small increase in stock of generic eggs and a small decline in the stock of specialty eggs as documented in the following table, listing the “most frequent” range of Midwest values as delivered to warehouses:-

     
  Previous Week    Current Week
Extra Large   118 –  121          104  –  107  cents per dozen
Large 116 –  119   102 –  105  
Medium 84 –  87   81 –  84  
Certified Organic EL 275 –  310   275 –  310  
Breaking Stock 84 –  87   81 –  83  
Checks 68 –  74   65  –  71  
   
 

USDA Crop Progress Report

Sep 17, 2014

     

 

The September 15th USDA- National Agricultural Statistical Service  Crop Progress Report reflecting the week ending  September 14th denoted a  continued favorable crop situation with 72 percent of soy and 74 percent of the corn crop in the “Good” to “Excellent”  categories, both maintaining the status from the previous week. The USDA reported that 27 percent of corn was mature compared to 15 percent for the previous week in 18 states. This compares to a 5-year average of 39 percent.

Approximately 24 percent of the soybean crop had commenced dropping leaves compared to12 percent last week and the five-year average of 32 percent.

The condition of the two crops was unchanged from the previous week and was classified by the USDA as:-

 
  Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent
Corn            2% 5% 19% 52% 22%
Soybeans 1% 5% 22% 53% 19%
 

At market close on September 15th   December and March corn were quoted at 343  and 359 cents per bushel respectively.  Soybeans for November and January were $9.91 and $9.99 respectively.  Soybean meal quotations were $339 per ton for October and $327 per ton for December delivery.

   

 

   
 

Laboratory Security Revisited

Sep 15, 2014
    

On September 3rd CHICK-CITE posted an editorial Who Needs Bioterrorists? Subsequent to this item the White House Office of Science Technology and Policy together with the National Security Council issued a security directive addressed to all Federal and government-funded facilities. Laboratories which hold, use or transfer human, animal or plant infectious agents or toxins are required to implement a “Safety Stand Down”.

The USDA has initiated a program to comply with the White House directive which can be viewed under <www.go.usa.gov/mxUY>.

   
 

Controversy over School Meals

Sep 15, 2014
    

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is due to be implemented in the current new school year. Initial indications are that students are less than enthusiastic over the fruit, vegetables and whole grains served in accordance with guidelines, resulting in wastage estimated at $4 million daily.

According to an article by Hank Cardello of the Hudson Institute, the School Nutrition Association representing 50,000 cafeterias, maintains that the requirements are expensive and have in fact turned students off school meals.  Members of Congress have apparently requested a delay in implementation during which time standards can be modified.

   
 

Michelle Ganci to Assume Leadership of American Humane Certified™ Program

Sep 15, 2014
    

The American Humane Association has announced that Michelle Ganci will assume leadership of the American Human Certified ™ program on October 1st.

Ms. Ganci holds a Master of Science degree in general agriculture from California Polytechnic State University and a Baccalaureate degree in Animal Science from California State University Fresno. During her career she has served as a quality assurance and quality control manager and as a production manager. She is certified by PAACO and the HACCP Alliance.

   
 

New Studies Confirm Benefits from a Low-Carbohydrate Diet

Sep 15, 2014
    

A study conducted by scientists at Tulane University confirmed the benefits of a diet low in carbohydrates. The 148 participants were divided among two treatments and were studied for a year.  One group received a diet which supplied 28 percent of their caloric intake from carbohydrates. 

These participants were compared to a second treatment consuming a diet with a low level of fat but contributing 45 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates. On average the diverse group comprising the low-carbohydrate treatment, ranging in age from 20 to 70 years, lost an average of 12 pounds. In contrast the participants on the high- carbohydrate diet lost 4 pounds.

   
 

Taco Bell introducing New Breakfast Items

Sep 15, 2014
    

According to USA Today, Taco Bell will introduce the Biscuit Taco with a filling of eggs, cheese and a choice of either sausage or bacon.  The Biscuit Taco is layered with jalepeno honey sauce. The new product is under test in California and follows acceptance in San Antonio, TX. and Atlanta, GA.

The breakfast QSR segment is now worth $50 billion annually and eggs are a large part of sales.  Readers of EGG-CITE will note the progressively increasing forecast for egg consumption issued by the USDA-ERS.  A high proportion of this beneficial trend is attributed to increased servings of both shell eggs and prepared “folded eggs” offered by QSRs.  In large measure the American Egg Board is to be commended on stimulating consumption through establishing a special group addressing the needs of the food service and restaurant industries.

   
 

USDA- WASDE FORECAST #533, September 11th 2014 REPORT

Sep 15, 2014
     

The projections of corn yield, production, exports and domestic use were updated in the September WASDE Report compared to the previous August Report #532. The most recent data is based on the actual emergence and current condition of both corn and soybeans which correspond to or exceed 5-year averages (see report in this Edition). The major differences from August are in the estimated yields for corn and soybeans which were both increased by 2.6%. The resulting decline in future prices augers well for improved broiler and egg production margins. Going forward prices will be determined by updated projections based on actual harvests and condition.

The USDA increased the projection of corn yield to 171.7 bushels per acre with a crop of 14,395 million bushels from a previously reduced harvest area of 83.8 million acres.  Report #533 increased exports of corn by a further 25 million bushels to 1,750 million bushels, notwithstanding the reduction in imports by China. The “Feed and Residual” category was increased by 75 million bushels, possibly reflecting a reduction in incident cases of PEDv and anticipated increases in turkey and broiler production during the fourth quarter and into 2015.

Read the full report at http://egg-cite.com/statistics/single.aspx?contentID=2563

   
 

Survey on Breakfast Habits

Sep 14, 2014
    

The Sunday September 7th Parade magazine reported on a commissioned survey of food preferences carried out by the NPD Group, a leading market research company.  Approximately 1,000 respondents comprising both men and women were selected from a broad geographic area in the U.S. 

Some of the conclusions relating to U.S. egg production industry are noted:-

  • Of those sampled, 77 percent eat breakfast at home but 11 percent do not eat this important starter meal.  Surely there is an opportunity once the reason for avoiding breakfast is analyzed.
  • Approximately 71 percent of respondents take some form of supplement with 17 percent using fish oil to supply omega-3, 6 percent take vitamin E and 43 percent a multivitamin.  Again publicity generated by the American Egg Board and the availability of vitamin-enriched eggs suggests that this trend could generate increased demand for enriched eggs by emphasizing enhanced attributes through appropriate publicity.
  • Americans appear to be eating out less frequently.  In 2000, 215 restaurant meals were consumed per person.  By 2014 there was a 14 percent decline in the per capita consumption of restaurant meals.  The results did not indicate the type of restaurant whether a QSR or full-service establishment. Given the growth in QSRs, it is presumed that higher-priced restaurants have ceded custom to lower-priced QSRs or convenience stores.  Again there are opportunities for eggs both on breakfast and lunch menus served by a range of venues.
  • Eggs were ranked fourth among the available organic products after vegetables, milk and fruit.  Again there was no data provided on the numerical ranking among the alternatives.
   
 

Wildcat Strikes by QSR Workers

Sep 12, 2014
    

Huffington Post has reported that QSR workers will resume wildcats strikes.  At issue is their demand for $15 per hour and benefits.

Potential strikers received direct support from President Obama during a partisan Labor Day speech in Milwaukee. The President stated “All across the country right now there’s a national movement going on made up of fast-food workers organizing to lift wages so they can provide for their families with pride and dignity”.  He added “If I were looking for a job that lets me build some security for my family I’d join a union”.

   

Shane Commentary

 

Is the Decline in Cereal Consumption an Opportunity for Eggs?

Sep 12, 2014
    

In the Business Day section of the September 11th edition of The New York Times Stephanie Strom cites Euromonitor statistics indicating a 10.7 percent decline in consumption of all categories of breakfast cereals in 2012.  This represented a loss in revenue of $1 billion to the cereal manufacturers.

The 1.8 percent increase in “wholesome” products such as muesli,  did not compensate for the reduced demand for the products regarded as “delivery systems for sugar” –now regarded as the “new fat”.

   
 

Controversy over GMO Labeling

Sep 5, 2014
    

Despite the fact that 64 nations have enacted mandatory labeling of foods derived from GM technology, there is no federal initiative to require compulsory labeling.  A number of states have either enacted mandatory GM labeling laws or are considering draft legislation or citizen’s ballot initiatives.

 

Recently three influential newspapers in what would be regarded as liberal states have editorialized against mandatory labeling.

On July 30th a Boston Globe opined “advocates say it would alert those who may object to genetically modified food to choose other options. A label would contribute to the stigmatization of food that is actually perfectly healthy”.

The Washington Post noted in June “there is no mainstream scientific evidence showing that foods containing GMOs are more or less harmful for people to consume than anything else in the supermarket, despite decades of development and use”. 

The New York Times noted “there is no reliable evidence that genetically modified foods now on the market are posing any risk to consumers”.

Forbes considers that mainstream opinion is following scientific evidence that has failed to show any deleterious effect from consuming food products containing GM-derived ingredients.

The oft repeated claim that GM foods are untested is spurious.  The contention that GM foods represent a conspiracy by the multinational biotechnology companies to dominate food production is also without support.                                    

   

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

Industry Prices: Wed Sep 17
 Corn3.42 $/bu
 Soybeans9.83 $/bu
 Soybean Meal324.40 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer86  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 102-105 ¢/doz