Egg Industry News

Status of 2018 Corn and Soybean Crops


The USDA Crop Progress Report released on September 17 th updated the status and condition of 2018 corn and soybeans. Corn is denting at 93 percent of the crop, 7 percent over the 5-year average. Half the crop is mature and nine percent has been harvested.

Soybeans have completed blooming and setting pods consistent with good soil moisture and climate conditions. Approximately half of the crop has started dropping leaves, 17 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Six percent of the crop has been harvested

EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA during September and will continue posting updates through the end of harvest in October.


Crop Parameter (%)

September 9th

September 16th

5-Year Average

Corn Emerged

Corn Silking

Corn Dough

Corn Dent

Corn Mature

Corn Harvested

















Soybeans Emerged

Soybeans Blooming

Soybeans Setting Pods

Soybeans Dropping Leaves

Soybeans Harvested


















Crop Condition

V. Poor





Corn 2018

Corn 2017











Soybeans 2018

Soybeans 2017












Soil Parameter

V. Short




Topsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year





Subsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year






USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, September 13th 2018.

  • Hen Numbers in Production Increased 0.8 million to 319.2 million Continuing an Upward Trend
  • Shell Inventory up by 1.5 Percent From Previous Week
  • Generic Prices for Extra Large and Large Were Down 8.0 Percent on Average Compared to Previous Week.



According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on September 10th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were respectively lower by 8.0 percent and 8.1 percent. Mediums were lower by 15.0 percent compared to the past week. The progression of prices during 2018 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The September 10th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 37) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.08 per dozen delivered to warehouses effective September 8th This price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $0.99 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.14 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 40 cents per dozen below the three-year average and 5 cents per dozen above the corresponding week in 2017.


Kroger Reports on Q2 of FY 2018


In a press release dated September 13th The Kroger Company (KR) announced results for the 2nd Quarter of Fiscal 2018 ending August 18th 2018.

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)

Quarter Ending.

Aug. 18th 2018

Aug. 12th 2017

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Pre-tax Income*

After-tax Income







Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization



*includes the proceeds from the sale of Ocado valued at $216 million.

52-Week Range in Share Price: $19.69 to $32.70

Market post-release, noon September 13th $28.53

Forward P/E: 12.6. Beta: 0.83

Same-store sales excluding fuel were 1.6 percent higher for Q2 2018 compared to Q2 2017. Digital sales increased 50 percent over a presumably small base.

Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen commented "We are only two quarters into our three year Restock Kroger plan, and we are making solid progress. Kroger customers have more ways than ever to engage with us seamlessly through our recently-launched Kroger Ship, expanded availability of Instacart, successful ClickList offering, and selling Simple Truth in China through Alibaba's Tmall. He added "we feel good about our net earnings per diluted share and ID sales results in the second quarter. We expect our investments in space optimization during the first half of 2018 to become a tailwind late in the third quarter".

He concluded "we are on track to generate the free cash flow and incremental FIFO operating profit that we committed to in Restock Kroger for 2018-2020, and to deliver on our long-term vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift."


USDA-WASDE FORECAST #581 September 13th 2018



The September 13th 2018 USDA WASDE projections for the 2018 corn and soybean harvests are based on actual planting data, crop progress with monitoring by "scouts", long-range weather forecasts and historical records. Harvest areas for corn and soybeans were retained from the July-August projections at 81.8 million acres (83.1 million in 2017) and 88.9 million acres, (89.5 million acres in 2017) respectively.

The USDA raised corn yield by 1.6 percent to 181.3 bushels per acre (175.4 bushels in 2017). Soybean yield was raised 2.3 percent to 52.8 bushels per acre (49.5 bushels in 2017).


Export of Shell Eggs and Products January-July 2018.


USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-July 2018 with the corresponding period in 2017:-


Jan.-July 2017

Jan.-July 2018


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



-3.0 (-4.5%)

Value ($ million)



+11.9 (+15.8%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



+0.23 (+24.0%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



-5,801 (-23.3%)

Value ($ million)



+4.7 (+7.3%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



+1,029 (+39.9%)





Whole Foods Workers Investigating Unionization


Workers at 490 stores under the Whole Foods Market banner have been urged to participate in a drive for union affiliation. The group noted the desire to “collectively voice our concerns to Whole Foods Market and Amazon leadership.”

The movement follows protests and strikes in Germany, Spain and Poland in late July demanding that Amazon provide health benefits, job safety and improved pay and working conditions.

The move towards unionization in Whole Foods Market is supported by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and efforts have been intensified since acquisition by Amazon.

A point of contention is that workers are no longer eligible to receive stock options although it is alleged that store manager are still participating in a program established in 1992. Workers regard this potentially discriminatory policy as “insulting and unethical”.


CTB Inc. Appoints Chief Marketing Officer


In a September release, CTB Inc. announced that Jack Stanbaugh has been named Chief Marketing Officer for the Company. He will be responsible for all marketing-related activities and collaboration with the CTB business units on strategy.

Previously, Stanbaugh served as VP and GM of a composites business serving the RV industry.

He holds degrees in business administration from a Geneva College, PA. and a Master of  Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, University of Chicago.



  • August 2018 USDA Ex-Farm Benchmark Price down 10.2 Percent from July Consistent with Seasonal Trends.

  • Production Cost Down 0.1 Percent (61.4 Cents per dozen, August) with Feed Cost Lower by 0.2 Percent.

  • Positive Nest-run Margin Decreased 26.7 percent from July to 23.6 Cents per Dozen



    Summary tables for the latest USDA August 2018 statistics and prices made available by the EIC on September 11th are arranged, summarized, tabulated and discussed in comparison with values from the previous August 11th 2018 posting reflecting July 2018 data.


Cost of Foodborne Outbreak


In recent study economists at Johns Hopkins University determined that the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak at a restaurant could range between $4,000 and $2.5 million.  The magnitude of loss is a function of the extent of infection, the pathogen involved, the vehicle of infection, the value of the brand and whether the chain concerned is publically quoted.


In addition to compensation, losses accrue from decontamination, disruption of the supply chain, interruption of business, loss of goodwill, the need to retrain employees, compensation to patients and legal fees.


It is obvious that the Johns Hopkins calculation does not take into account the effect of multiple foodborne outbreaks such as experienced by Chipotle Mexican Grill which loss approximately 50 percent of equity in over a year following salmonellosis, E. coli and norovirus infections.


The magnitude of losses is also a function of the response of a company to an outbreak including crisis control, and the use of social media.



USPOULTRY Updates I-9 Training Program


In response to changes in Federal requirements, USPOULTRY has updated the training program for employment eligibility and completion of the I-9 form.


According to a September press release, the program comprises a narrated slide video and a PDF.


The program is available free of charge to USPOULTRY members.  Non-members may order the program for $200


China Reluctant to Provide Samples of H7N9 Avian Influenza


U.K. Media report that China has refused to supply samples of H7N9 avian influenza, responsible for mortality among the human population in that country.  Apparently a sample was provided in 2016 but since that time the virus has obviously undergone mutation.


The Director of the Worldwide Influenza Center located in London stated that vaccines could be created using available gene sequencing but the effectiveness of a vaccine would be enhanced if scientists had access to the current strain of the virus.


Scientists including Dr. Ian Jones of the University of Reading expressed the opinion that it would be preferable to have samples of the virus available to prepare an inactivated vaccine in anticipation of a pandemic.


An infectious disease specialist at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Michael Callahan was quoted in the New York Times as stating, “Jeopardizing U.S. access to foreign pathogens and therapies to combat them undermines our nation's ability to protect against infections which can spread globally within days.”


Avian influenza strain H7N9 emerging in 2013 and has resulted in 1,600 diagnosed cases with 600 fatalities, attesting to the virulence of the virus in susceptible humans.


Rare Salmonella Identified in Western Europe


Five E.U. nations have reported a combined total of 50 cases of Salmonella Mikawasima.  Cases have been identified in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Czech Republic.  Apparently isolates are homogenous applying whole genome sequencing.  Previously outbreaks have occurred in Norway (2012), and the U.K. (1992).  According to Food Safety News 22 cases were reported between 2006 and 2016.


It is presumed that the infection is associated with contaminated food with the vehicle yet to be identified.




According to the August 10th 2018 WASDE Report #580, 81.8 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2018 to yield 14.23 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.31 Billion bushels from 88.9 million acres harvested.

Quarterly corn and soybean stocks were estimated by USDA in a release on June 29th to total 5.3 Billion bushels (36.2 percent of 2017 harvest) and 1.2 Billion bushels (27.3 percent of 2017 harvest) respectively.

The following quotations for the months as indicated were posted by the CME at close of trading on September 7th together with values for the corresponding week in parentheses.



Corn (cents per bushel)

Sept.'18 354 (352)*

Dec. '18 367 (366)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Sept. '18 831 (833)*

Nov. '18 845 (832)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Sept. '18 314 (316)*

Dec. '18 317 (316)

*2018 crop


July Eggs-Broken Report


The USDA Egg Products Report documents a six percent increase in eggs broken during July 2018 at 203.6 million dozen compared to July 2017 at 191.3 million dozen. The corresponding production of edible products amounted to 261.4 million pounds, six percent above the 246.5 million pounds produced in July 2017.

The cumulative seven-month production of edible product amounted to 1,769 million pounds, one percent higher than for the first seven months of 2017 at 1,751 million pounds.


Publix to Establish NC Distribution Center


Publix Supermarkets will construct a distribution center in Greensboro, NC during 2020. The proposed facility will create up to 1,000 new jobs according to NC Governor Roy Cooper.


The 1.8 million square foot DC will service Publix stores in North Carolina and Virginia where there are 38 and 10 locations respectively.


Alltech Ideas Conference, 2019


Alltech has announced that the annual Ideas Conference for 2019 will take place in Lexington, KY from May 19th through 21st.

Information on registration is available at


World Egg Day


The International Egg Commission has announced that Friday, 12th October 2018 has been designated World Egg Day. The Organization has arranged for promotional activities including publicizing the health benefits of eggs for longevity and child development.

Julian Madeley, CEO of the World Egg Organization stated “On World Egg Day, we want to generate targeted messages highlighting specific  benefits for key consumer groups.” Madeley confirmed that eggs have the potential to impact health by providing essential protein and other nutrients.

World Egg Day will be marked by dedicated events and publicity in social media and conventional channels.


Alltech Ideas Conference Goes Global


Selected presentations from the One Ideas Forum presented in 2018 will be available to audiences in 13 countries in 15 locations.

According to a September 4th press release, attendees will learn from industry experts on trending topics and advances in digital technologies.

Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO of Alltech stated “The Alltech One Ideas Forum global event program will be a reflection of One: The Alltech Ideas conference.” He added “It will be customized to local audiences while bringing big ideas to the forefront.” The Alltech Ideas Forum will take place in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

For additional information, access


Argentina Imposes Strict Fiscal Restraints


The Government of Argentina has announced that a 4 percent tax will be imposed on grain exports effective October 3rd. This action together with export taxes on other items and intensified austerity will be imposed. Argentina is negotiating a $50 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund to maintain the functions of the Government.

It is intended to lift the export taxes when the financial situation becomes more stable. Currently, inflation is running at 20 percent, and the Argentina Peso has declined against the U.S. dollar by 50 percent year to date.

It is not anticipated that Argentina will obtain any higher price for their corn and soybeans with prices determined by international markets. Exporters have the advantage of receiving payment in dollar currency protecting them from peso devaluation.


Jamaica Broilers Purchases Georgia Feed Mill


According to news reports, Jamaica Broilers has purchased the feed mill previously operated by Crystal Farms. The plant can  produce 5,000 tons of feed each week and employees 30.

Vice President of Finance for Jamaica Broilers Group, Ian Parsard noted “As we continue to grow our operations in Jamaica, USA and Haiti, this acquisition is a strategic step for our U.S.  operations.” He added “We are adding a feed mill to the existing breeder operations which produce fertile hatching eggs and hatchery operations in Iowa and Pennsylvania. The primary synergy is the control over the feed supplies required for our existing breeder operations located in both North and South Georgia.”


Kroger Expanding Home Delivery


In partnership with Instacart, Kroger has extended home delivery to more than half the areas in which it operates in the U.S. By the end of October, Kroger anticipates serving up to 100 metropolitan markets with 1,500 stores offering same-day delivery and expedited two-hour service. Customers will be able to order using the supermarket website or a mobile app.


E.U. Authorities Identify Deficiencies in Salmonella Detection By Producers


In 2015, E.U. health authorities identified numerous outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) among consumers traced back to egg farms in Poland. An audit team organized by the E.U. Director-General of Food and Safety conducted a two-week audit in Poland to evaluate Salmonella national control programs involving broiler, turkey and table egg production.

Recent official sampling for SE yielded a recovery rate approximately 100 times higher than individual companies denoting an egregious deviation from acceptable laboratory practices. Effectively the companies concerned were “looking to not find” Salmonella. Official samples detected Salmonella in 3.2 percent of flocks versus 0.03 percent from company samples. Laboratories in Poland required three weeks between obtaining samples and providing a serologic identification.

Authorities in Poland have now imposed standard procedures to ensure that in future adequate sensitivity is incorporated into Salmonella surveillance of flocks. In the U.S., certified laboratories conform to the requirements and procedures issued by the National Poultry Improvement Program.

The situation in Poland contrasts sharply with the U.K. British Lion certification program which is essentially similar to the most stringent of the U.S. EQAP regulations.


Stop Press


The following breaking items  will be reviewed in greater detail in upcoming editions of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS:-


  • Campbell Soup to Sell Fresh Food and International Businesses: In order to pay down debt amounting to $9.6 billion the Board of Campbell soul has announced the intention to divest Bolthouse Foods and international brands would be sold. It is doubtful whether this step (a la Sears Holdings) will restore debt to about $3 billion. Outside investors are calling for an outright sale of the Company. It is noted that 41% of equity is in the hands of members of the Dorrance Family and descendants.
  • BSE Case Diagnosed in Florida: The sixth case of atypical, presumably spontaneous BSE (“Mad Cow Disease”) since 2003 has been diagnosed in a 6-year old cow consigned to an abattoir wit nervous signs. It is evident that a combination of ante-mortem clinical observation and laboratory assay protects consumers. No product for the animal was released.
  • Salmonella Outbreak Attributed to Empire Kosher Brand Chicken: The CDC investigated 16 cases of salmonellosis involving 16 cases extending from September 2017 through June 2018. One fatality and 8 hospitalizations were attributed to Salmonella I 4(5) 12:i: . There is no recall but consumers have been advised to destroy frozen chicken produced during the period of concern. This outbreak identified by a combination of sensitive databases and whole genome sequencing is reminiscent of the 50+ Salmonella Braenderup cases identified over 6 months attributed to eggs from a specific complex
  • Trade Talks: Following agreement with Mexico on issues relating to renegotiation of NAFTA, progress with Canada appears to be imminent. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has however stated that ”no agreement is better than a bad agreement”. In contrast there is absolutely no progress in resolving a rapidly escalating conflict with China. Both parties are imposing tit-for-tat tariffs amounting to tens of billions in dollar value.  


USAPEEC Achieves Restoration of Egg Liquid Exports to Korea


Following extensive negotiations undertaken by USAPEEC in cooperation with the USDA FSIS, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has revised specifications and requirements for importation of 16 egg products from six nations including the U.S.

Importation of egg liquids from the U.S. ceased on January 13th.

The efforts of USAPEEC are to be commended since Korea represents an important potential market for egg liquids.

During the period January through June 2018, South Korea imported 951 metric tons of egg liquids valued at $4.7 million. For the corresponding first half of 2017, Korea imported 4,199 metric tons valued at $9.1 million. In that year, Korean imports amounted to 19 percent of U.S. exports attaining 21,670 metric tons equivalent to 16 percent of export value of $55.7 million.


USAPEEC to Host Africa Trade Mission


USAPEEC will host the 2nd Africa Trade Mission in Cape Town during the first week of September. It is anticipated that buyers representing 50 companies from 10 nations in sub-Saharan Africa will attend the event. Twenty members of USAPEEC will participate in the trade mission.


Dr. Sharon Williams Retires


Dr. Sharon Williams, most recently the USDA-APHIS attaché in New Delhi has retired after a 20-year career with the USDA. Dr. Williams graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and undertook an assignment in the Peace Corps. She then joined USDA and has completed assignments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Brazil and Egypt assisting local producers and serving as a significant early warning monitor of diseases in the nations where she was assigned.

Dr. Williams provided valuable assistance in efforts to open the market in India to U.S.-origin poultry.


Nutrient Requirements of Poultry to be Revised in New Edition


The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will sponsor a new edition of Nutrient Requirements of Poultry.

Ten committee members have been appointed to undertake the revision which will require up to 800 hours for each participant in reviewing reports and publications. The process will take four years including extramural review at a cost estimated at $500,000. Funding will be provided by the National Academy, commodity associations, research foundations and USDA-ARS.

A criticism of previous editions of the nutrient standards was that only peer-reviewed publications would be considered. Since the last edition, considerable progress has been made, mainly by primary breeders, especially in egg, turkey and broiler nutrition, based on in-company studies many of which were not published being proprietary in content. It is hoped that the Committee will diverge from precedent and take into account reports and studies which although not published, rise to the level of peer-reviewed articles.

The proposed revision will also benefit from extensive studies conducted on ingredients to determine nutritional value given advances in technology and processing.


Kroger to Ban Plastic Check-out Bags


Kroger has announced that it will ban plastic bags through all banners in their entire chain of supermarkets by 2025.

The Company estimates that transition from single-use bags will eliminate 123 million pounds of waste annually. Ultimately Kroger will eliminate plastic bags for produce and meat following trends in the E.U. The QFC subsidiary in the Pacific Northwest will be the first Kroger division to eliminate bags by 2019.


Dr. Pearse Lyons to Posthumously Receive Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award


Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder of Alltech, will posthumously receive the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 6th Annual Humanitarian Awards Ceremony to be held September 20th at the Omni Louisville Hotel, Louisville, KY. The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards were created in 2013 to recognize individuals driven to become agents of change.

Dr. and Mrs. Lyons established the Alltech ACE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to support charitable projects. These include the Sustainable Haiti Project supporting primary schools through the sale of Alltech® Café Citadelle. The Alltech ACE Foundation has funded science laboratories for primary schools, the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition and numerous scholarships.

Dr. Lyons passed sadly on March 8th to be succeeded by his son, Dr. Mark Lyons, who will accept the award during the ceremony.


FDA to Reevaluate Heavy Metal Contamination in Foods


Following recent publicity generated by Consumer Reports the Food and Drug Administration will reevaluate the levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in specific foods.


Consumer Reports has developed its own non-scientific evaluation of levels of heavy metals as “measurable”, “concerning” “worrisome” and similar meaningless and non-quantifiable terms.  It is emphasized that with advances in analytical technology, extremely low levels of heavy metals can now be detected and quantified although they may have no biological significance.  As Consumer Reports operates on the principle that the sensitivity of analytical equipment is a justification to published reports which include the qualifications and interpretation of a responsible scientist. Consumer Reports generates anxiety and concern among their readership with respect to the microbiology and chemical content of food, further amplified by social media commentators. 

It is a biological reality that heavy metals are present in all soils and will obviously be incorporated into plants which then enter the food supply. Consumers who purchase USDA Certified Organic vegetables and fruits believe that they are avoiding heavy metals. The USDA-AMS Certified Organic Program does not have any requirement for analysis and relies on audits of paperwork. There is no assurance that the levels of heavy metals in Certified Organic products are at levels lower than conventional products.


Dr. Conrad Choiniere director of the Office of Analytics and Outreach at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will initiate a program of analysis with specific reference to foods consumed by infants and young children.


The FDA has amassed considerable data on domestic and imported products as part of a Total Diet Study based on foods representing the American diet.  Although levels of heavy metal contamination may be low in any specific food, there is concern that overall exposure is accumulative.


When more is known about the heavy metal levels in specific foods, appropriate dietary recommendations can be made.  In addition, growers and processors can possibly effect changes which may reduce contamination with the four principal heavy metals.


BioChek Offers PCR Manual


Bio Check has made available a concise guide to the principles and application of PCR technology for diagnosis of poultry diseases.  The ten-page manual can be downloaded with registration by accessing


Chipotle Undertakes Extensive Food Safety Training Program


Reeling from the 2015 multiple outbreaks of foodborne infection and the 2017 norovirus outbreak in Virginia, Chipotle Mexican Grill has undertaken an extensive program of reeducation of managers and workers.  The recent initiative was prompted by the outbreak of Clostridium perfringens infection affecting over 600 customers of a store in Powell, OH. near Columbus.


Clostridium perfringens is a rare food-borne infection in humans. The pathogen was responsible for enteritis and death in survivors of concentration camps provided with a surfeit of food following liberation (“brand derm”).  The condition occurs sporadically among native tribes in Papua-New Guinea following seasonal over-consumption of pork at tribal gatherings.


The pathogen is responsible for enterotoxemia in poultry resulting in necrotic enteritis in broilers among other conditions.


CEO of Chipotle, Brian Niccol stated that the company will “be adding to our daily food safety routines and recurring employee knowledge assessment of our rigorous food safety standards”. In 2017 Chipotle organized a chain-wide stand-down to re-educate workers on hygienic procedures. Following previous food-borne outbreaks the company invariably states that it has a zero-tolerance policy for violations of food safety standards. This assertion is wearing thin.


Mexico Defers Restriction on U.S.-Origin Washed Eggs


According to a posting in the August 20th edition of USAPEEC MondayLine, the Federal Commission on Sanitary Risk Prevention of the Government of Mexico has published a note in their Federal Register that enforcement of NOM-159 has been deferred for a year.  The proposed regulation for eggs and egg products published in January 2018 would have banned eggs subject to washing according to USDA guidelines, which is a universal practice in the U.S., based on food safety.


The one-year delay will enable the Commission on Sanitary Risk Prevention to review scientific data relating to the advantages of egg washing which is critical to preventing Type B and C Salmonella infection among consumers of shell eggs.


In a letter addressed to the USAPEEC from the Mexican Federal Commission, included the statement (as paraphrased), “The current view of the Commission proposes that washing eggs will be optional and if washed product complies with other provisions to prevent compromising the safety of table eggs and thus prevent risks to public health, the main goal of the Commission is satisfied”.


The E.U. does not generally allow washing of eggs claiming that this removes the “bloom” (outer cuticle of the shell) thereby reducing the capability of the shell to resist penetration by pathogens.


In point of fact, washing soon after oviposition is beneficial with respect to food safety.  This is evidenced by the reduction in cases of egg-borne Type B and C salmonellosis following mandatory egg washing in the U.S. Fecal contamination which is inevitable with any production system is effectively removed providing that the suggested range of temperature, pH of wash solution and concentration of sanitizer is maintained.


The response by authorities in Mexico to submissions by USAPEEC denotes the diligence of the professionals in the organization and the high regard in which they are held by our trading partners.


Ryan Bennett to Head U.S. RSPE and IPWA


According to an August 20th USPEA press release, Ryan Bennett has been selected to serve as executive director for the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance.


In commenting on his appointment Bennett stated, “The poultry and egg value chain have an amazing animal care and sustainability story to share with the world.”  He added, “In order to reach our full potential, we need the entire food chain – from farm to fork – to pull together to define success, evaluate against common benchmarks and communicate our progress in a meaningful and transparent way.”


Previously Bennett was the senior director of Industry and Environmental Affairs at the National Milk Producers Federation. He has also worked at the National Grain and Feed Association involved in issues related to conservation.


Implications of Brexit Becoming Evident


While politicians fumble, the obvious implications of a Brexit without a negotiated agreement on tariffs and customs among other considerations will be a disaster for U.K. consumers. A recent article in The Times suggests that the price of food might increase by 12 percent on average with beef to rise 40 percent and chicken 22 percent.

Food inflation will result from WTO tariffs, a decline in the purchasing value of sterling currency and inevitable delays in shipment through congestion at ports due to the need for customs inspection.

The conservative government led by Theresa May must negotiate an acceptable agreement with the European Union or face a no confidence vote in parliament. This may result in the advent of a hard-left labor administration which would be equally disastrous to the economy of Great Britain.


NCC Submits Comments on 2019 RFS


The National Chicken Council urged restraint in establishing the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard. The statutory limit of 15 billion gallons is regarded as excessive and is too reliant on corn-derived ethanol given the failure to achieve pre-determined volumes of cellulosic ethanol.

The NCC and other associations representing intensive livestock production will submit comments on the “reset provision” which will establish RFS volumes in future years. Comments will also be provided on the operation of the RIN system which regulates inclusion of ethanol and biodiesel into vehicle fuel. The NCC also is requesting that EPA consider a relaxation of the RFS under conditions which represent hardship to livestock producers such as a drought which would materially reduce corn production resulting in an escalation in the cost of grains arising from competition between livestock needs and diversion to biofuels.


Meijer Opens Bridge Street Market


Meijer, a family-controlled company based in Grand Rapids, MI has opened the first of the Bridge Street Market concept stores in their home city. Based on the press report, the 37,000 square foot store will appeal to urban residents, located in a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use area with a high concentration of apartments adjoining office and retail buildings.

President and CEO Rick Keyes commented “Meijer is thrilled to open Bridge Street Market as part of this exciting development on the city’s West Side.” He added “We believe there is no better place to launch this new neighborhood market than in our hometown and in the heart of such an inspiring part of our city.”

Bridge Street Market has been modeled on Whole Foods Market, Sprouts and similar stores which offer fresh and prepared foods, bakery items and an extensive deli. The store will include a coffee shop, beer and wine in addition to conventional products including health and beauty care. In addition to appealing to pedestrian customers, the store will offer parking on an adjoining deck.


AEB Promoting Eggs with Harvard University Food Service


The American Egg Board has initiated an Eggin’ U On promotion featuring scrambled eggs. Signage will be placed in all twelve Harvard dining halls.

In recent years, food service companies such as Aramark and Sodexo have promoted cage-free eggs to universities based on sentiment and welfare considerations which are popular among students.

The price differential between cage-free and conventional eggs is apparently not a consideration for managers of dining facilities since cost is passed on to students and is borne by parents or added to the extensive debt burden amassed by graduates.


Target Reports on Q2 of FY 2018


In a press release dated August 22nd Target Corp. (TGT) announced results for the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2018 ending August 4 th 2018.

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)

2nd Quarter Ending.

Aug. 4th 2018

July 29th 2017

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Net Income




Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization



52-Week Range in Share Price: $53.90 to $88.89

Market Close August 21st pre-release $83.45 Close August 22 nd $85.94 (up 3.2 percent)

Forward P/E: 15.7. Beta 0.63

TGT achieved a same-store sales increase of 6.5 percent (1.3 percent in Q2 FY 2017) representing the best quarterly comparison in 13 years. The increase was driven by a 6.4 percent rise in traffic

Sales for Q2 comprised 94.4 percent in stores and 5.6 percent on line (Q2 FY 2017 comparison: 95.8 to 4.2 percent). This represents a 44.3 percent increase in on-line sales value.

Target operates in 1,835 locations ranging from small-concept stores to superstores.

In commenting on the results for the second quarter, Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO stated "we are extremely pleased with Target's second quarter results, which demonstrate our guests' excitement for the enhanced and differentiated shopping experience we're building. For the second consecutive quarter, traffic growth is better than we've seen in well over 10 years, driving 6.5 percent comp growth - Target's best in 13 years." He added "we laid out a clear strategy at the beginning of 2017, and throughout this year we've been accelerating the pace of execution. We're on track to deliver a strong back half and we've updated our full year guidance to reflect the strength of our business and the consumer economy. As we look ahead to 2019, we expect to achieve scale across the full slate of our initiatives - creating efficiencies and cost-savings, further strengthening our guest experience and positioning Target to continue gaining market share."


New York State to Invest in “Farm-To-School” Lunch Programs


According to US News and World Report New York state will invest $1.5 million to assist school boards to source farm products to be served in cafeterias. School districts could receive as much as $100,000 to hire a program coordinator or to purchase equipment to process farm purchases or to transport products. The intent is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in schools, but the program could be extended to eggs. It is emphasized that any purchases for schools should be from farms complying with strict egg safety protocols.


Proposed Relocation of USDA-ERS Generates Dissention


The decision by Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Sonny Perdue to move the Economic Research Service out of Washington has created dissatisfaction and concern.

It is possible that the Agency will lose valuable employees critical to forecasting trends in agricultural production and providing statistics necessary for decision making.

The decision and the possible outcome may be predicted from the relocation of the team responsible for approving biologics under APHIS jurisdiction from Washington DC to Iowa in the 1980s. The resulting disruption delayed approval of vaccines and diagnostic reagents to the detriment of flock and herd health.


Reversal of Biogas Initiative in North Carolina Opposed by Hog Producers


In 2007, North Carolina mandated that utilities should derive 0.2 percent of power from biogas produced from hog farms. Due to a variety of reasons including capital cost of installations, Duke Energy, the principal energy producer in the State has failed to achieve the 10-year target. It is understood that there are ten projects in the state with seven successfully injecting methane into gas pipelines. During spring, Optima KV in Duplin County commenced supplying methane produced from hog waste.

On June 19th, the North Carolina Utilities Commission citing ongoing concerns related to potential service, quality and operational issues negated the biogas mandate after numerous representations by utility companies. Cancellation of the biogas project has created uncertainty and impacted investment in alternative systems to handle hog waste. The decision of the Utilities Commission will impede progress in converting hog waste into renewable energy.

The conflict over the mandate is playing out against the three consecutive adverse jury verdicts against Smithfield Foods concerning nuisance created by contractors using lagoons to handle waste. The Department of Justice has replaced Judge L. Britt of the Eastern District of North Carolina who presided over the first three trials with U.S. District Judge David Faber of the Southern District of Western Virginia. The fourth trial commences on September 4th.

The decision to replace Judge Britt may have some relation to his seemingly justified gag order to prevent juries from publicity and possible prejudice. His action elicited litigation to set aside the order in order for the National Pork Producers Council and the North Carolina Pork Council to effectively present their case through publicity in the media. Judge Britt also engendered criticism for not allowing jurors to tour hog operations to ascertain the intensity of odor as alleged by plaintiffs.


Massachusetts Governor Vetoed Raw Milk Bill


Governor Charles D. Baker has vetoed Section 22 of House Bill 4835 relating to regulation of raw milk sales in the state.


In supporting his veto Baker stated, “consumption of unpasteurized milk can result in foodborne illness and possible death due to bacterial infections, especially among infants, children, pregnant women, immunosuppressed patients, and the elderly.  He added, “The risk of foodborne illness due to consumption of raw milk increases with the number of people handling the raw milk prior to consumption, and the length of time between production and consumption.”


It was intended that Section 22 would have expanded the scope of raw milk in Massachusetts by allowing sell at farm stands and distribution through community-supported infrastructure. 


Baker is in favor of placing jurisdiction of raw milk under the Commissioner of Public Health and regulations should follow U.S. FDA policy.



Pressure on U.K. Consumers to Consume Domestic Eggs


Given the upsurge in Salmonella Enteritidis outbreaks in Eastern Europe, consumers in the U.K. are urged to buy domestic-produced eggs under the British Lion program.   When the U.K. exits the European Union in March 2019, consumers will be faced with selecting either domestic or imported eggs. In 2012, the U.K. produced approximately 0.9 billion dozen and imported 0.2 billion dozen eggs.


The British Lion Egg Processors Association determined that the majority of consumers have concern over the source of eggs and they demonstrate confidence in the British Lion program which closely approximates the requirements of U.S. EQAPs.

Promoting the Lion program, Ian Jones Chairman of the British Lion Egg Processors Association stated, “In these uncertain times with the potential knock-on effects of Brexit on the supply of food imports still unclear, and recurring issues with the safety of eggs and egg products produced abroad, food businesses can put their trust in the Lion to guide them through safely.”


As Quoted in Food Safety News, Andrew Joret, chairman of the British Egg Industry Council noted, “food safety scares linked to non-UK eggs are a recurring issue, and while it’s good news that the victims of a 2014 outbreak have been awarded compensation, we hope it will encourage more caterers and consumers to look for the additional safety values of the Lion so it does not happen again.”


Nova-Tech Engineering LLC Recognized by USPOULTRY


Nova-Tech LLC manufacturers of robotic systems used in hatcheries to vaccinate chicks and to humanely treat beaks were featured as a Membership Spotlight inclusion in the August 15th edition of the USPOULTRY NewsWire.


APHIS Publishes Conditions for HPAI Indemnity


Subscribers are referred to an August 14 release by USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding compensation for losses sustained as a result of exposure to highly pathogenic avian influenza.  The release updates the February 2016 interim rule.


Among other details, the policy specifies:

  • Splitting indemnity payments between contractors and integrators
  • Requires biosecurity programs consistent with the National Poultry Improvement Plan
  • Requires biosecurity plans to be in place as a prerequisite for receiving indemnity incorporating. Programs require adherence to 14 biosecurity provisions and must be audited.
    The final rule can be viewed on the APHIS website
    It is not a question of whether indemnity will or will not be paid as a result of exposure to HPAI, the consideration is whether funding will be available given budgetary restraints.
    Concern over biosecurity apparently declines according to some inverse square rule over time following an HPAI outbreak.  This was evident after the 1984 epornitic in Pennsylvania and is unfortunately becoming more evident in the intensive egg sector where some integrators have retrograde amnesia over the 2015 epornitic.  Makeshift “Danish-entry” installations are inappropriate for one million-hen complexes employing contract crews. Failure to install appropriate biosecurity modules for personnel, effective vehicle wash stations and to correct defects in both structural and biosecurity create a situation of vulnerability to infection.


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