Egg Industry Articles

Uzelac Rotary Drying Systems to Process Layer Manure


Application of Uzelac Manure Drying Systems.


Uzelac Industries based in Greendale, WI. has developed considerable expertise in the design and installation of rotary drum dryers capable of reducing the moisture content of manure from high-rise houses with 65 percent water or belt systems with 45 percent water down to 15 percent. Manure handling and drying installations convert a waste product into a valuable pathogen-free fertilizer in a commercially acceptable form for domestic and institutional applications.


Direct application of raw manure to farmland will be subject to increasing restriction as nitrogen percolating through soil contaminates ground water and hence wells. Runoff entering streams and waterways will come under heightened scrutiny from state and federal regulators.

 A Uzelac rotary dryer installations reduces odor, obviating complaints and lawsuits and when used with belt manure collection, effectively eliminates fly problems without expenditure on insecticides. In the future environmental regulations may necessitate on-farm or remote processing of manure before application.


A typical Uzelac on-farm or remote installation comprises:-

  • Hoppers to accumulate raw material conveyed from houses or delivered from farms
  • A mixer to ensure that raw material is uniform in composition before processing
  • An air-heater assembly to fire the rotary drum dryer configured to the volume of input
  • A product collector to receive processed, dried material
  • A dust cyclone to limit air contamination
  • An optional pellet mill and pellet cooler to convert processed material into a saleable form
  • Packaging systems for either pelleted or granular products or a storage and delivery system for bulk product


Current Uzelac customers in the U.S. poultry industry include Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Giroux’s Poultry Farm, Michael Foods, Foster Farms and Tyson Foods among others.


Financial Evaluation of Uzelac Manure Drying Installations

Calculating the return from an investment in a manure drying installation is dependent on a number of factors including:-

  • Housing system such as high-rise, belt battery or aviary that will influence the moisture content of raw manure.
  • Prevailing power, gas and labor costs.
  • Single or two-shift operation to process manure from a complex or combination of smaller operations.
  • Seasonal climatic conditions with hot weather increasing water consumption of a flock, leading to manure with a higher moisture content
  • Size of supply flock influencing initial capital cost and utilization. Some installations are sited remotely to receive manure from a number of farms or complexes.
  • Form of product sold, whether bulk or bagged, granular or pelleted, will determine unit revenue.
  • State or local grants to offset capital cost.
  • Prevailing interest rates.


In order to calculate the return on investment from a manure-drying installation the following boiler-plate examples are provided. The first model assumes single shift operation, 40 hours/week; processing manure from one million hens in aviaries. The format allows insertion of specific values relating to a complex:- 

Capital cost of a Uzelac manure drying installation.

Buildings and installations


Mechanical equipment


Total Capital cost


Annual Fixed Cost of Operation :

Depreciation, Buildings @ 7% pa

$ 74,200

Depreciation, Equipment @ 15% pa

$ 441,750

Interest on capital @ 3% pa

$ 120,150

Overhead provision

$ 10,000

Annual Fixed Cost

$ 646,100

Annual Variable Cost of Single-shift Operation


$ 150,000

Maintenance provision

$ 50,000

Power Estimate

$ 250,000

Annual Variable Cost

$ 450,000

Annual Cost of Operation



In assessing the return on investment it is assumed that 1,000,000 hens in aviary houses produce 35,000 tons raw manure each year with 45 percent moisture content dried to 15 percent resulting in 24,500 tons of saleable product.


Revenue from dry product @ $145 per ton


Less value of wet manure @ $10 per ton

$ 350,000

Differential in revenue

$ 3,202,500

Add saving on fly and rodent control

$ 10,000

Annual Revenue

$ 3,212,500

Less Annual Fixed and Variable Costs

$ 1,096,100

Annual Contribution

$ 2,116,400


Discounted Cash Flow Calculation

In order to evaluate the capital cost of the manure drying installation the annual contribution over a five-year period would be:-


Year 1 2 3 4 5

5% discount factor

0.95 0.91 0.86 0.82 0.78

Annual Revenue ($ mil.)

2.01 1.93 1.82 1.74 1.65


Net Present value over 5 years attains $9.15 million


This exceeds Present Value applying 5% annual discount factor


Discounted payback of 25 months

In evaluating the effect of selling price as the major variable influencing ROI a series of DCF calculations were performed yielding the following results:-


Selling Price per ton Net present Value of Investment over 5 years


$ 75 $1.74 million
$ 85 $2.79 million
$105 $4.91 million
$125 $7.03 million
$145 $9.15 million


The return on investment is extremely sensitive to unit selling price. At $105 per ton the project would require 47 months to achieve a breakeven net present value of $4 million, corresponding to the original capital investment.


In demonstrating the influence of volume and price on the return on investment the manure-drying installation was evaluated with the theoretical output of 2 million hens, operating the Uzelac plant on a double-shift schedule 80 hours per week, corresponding to five, 16-hour working days. In this approach in the interests of simplicity, fixed costs of $646,100 would remain unaltered but variable costs would double to $900,000.


Annual Cost of Operation $1,546,100


In assessing the return on investment it is assumed that 2,000,000 hens produce

70,000 tons wet manure each year at 45 percent moisture content dried to 15 percent resulting in

49,000 tons of saleable product.

Revenue from dry product @ $145 per ton $7,105,000
Less value of wet manure @ $10 per ton $ 700,000
Differential in revenue $ 6,405,000
Add saving on fly and rodent control $ 20,000
Annual Revenue $ 6,425,000
Less Annual Fixed and Variable Costs $ 1,546,100
Annual Contribution $ 4,878,900

Discounted Cash Flow Calculation


In order to evaluate the capital cost of the manure drying installation the annual contribution over a five-year period would be:-

Year 1 2 3 4 5
5% discount 0.95 0.91 0.86 0.82 0.78
Annual Revenue ($ mil) 4.63 4.44 4.20 4.00 3.81

Net Present value over 5 years attains $21.08 million


Exceeds Present Value by a factor of 5 applying a 5% annual discount factor

Discounted payback period of 10 months

In evaluating the effect of selling price as the major variable influencing return, a series of DCF calculations were performed yielding the following results:-

Selling Price per ton Net present Value of Investment over 5 years

$ 75 $ 6.27 million
$ 85 $ 8.37 million
$105 $12.61 million
$125 $16.84 million
$145 $21.08 million


The return on investment is extremely sensitive to unit selling price. At $75 per ton the project would require 37 months to achieve a breakeven net present value of $4 million, corresponding to the original capital investment.


The calculations provided assume manure from an aviary house with 45 percent moisture. Manure from high-rise complexes with moisture content of 65 percent would require a higher drying capacity with proportional increases in capital and operating costs to reduce moisture content to 15 percent.


Uzelac manufactures components for rotary drying systems that can be adapted in capacity and layout to suit specific applications. Uzelac engineers are available to review specifications and to design custom installations.


Additional information on Uzelac installations can be accessed by clicking on to the Uzelac logo on the right side of the welcome page or on or (414) 529 0240 - contact Mike Terry.


What Does the Latest Study on Eggs and Cholesterol Mean?


Mickey Rubin, PhD, Executive Director, Egg Nutrition Center


Many of you may have seen the headline this morning touting another study on eggs and cardiovascular disease, with the headline “Are eggs good or bad for you? The truth may be somewhere in between.” This is one where your readers, followers or patients may have questions. I would encourage you to read past the headline because there are some important points made by experts, including Dr. Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Health.


“The study results are problematic because they only asked people once about their egg consumption, then followed them for many years without checking to see if their diet had changed” according to Dr. Willett, while other experts in the same article stated that "The conclusions of this study are overblown.”


What does the latest study on eggs and cholesterol mean? See below for a brief summary of the results and the broader context:


  • This new study reported an increased risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cancer mortality.


  • However, this study was limited by the fact it only assessed diet once at the start of the study 25 years ago and then never again.
    • In contrast, a stronger study from the Harvard School of Public Health assessed diet multiple times over decades and found no link between egg intake and cardiovascular risk.


  • Several studies published just in the last year on the topic of eggs, dietary cholesterol, and cardiovascular risk contradict the findings from this new study, including the Harvard study linked above, a meta-analysis of 23 studies that found egg intake reduced the risk of coronary artery disease, as well as a global analysis across 50 countries that found no link between eggs and cardiovascular disease.


  • One point not discussed extensively in this new study or the news article is the finding that consumption of eggs was linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. While this should be viewed in the context of the limitations of the study described above, this is consistent with other studies on choline – a nutrient for which eggs are an excellent source - that have shown favorable results for cognitive outcomes and reducing risk for dementia.


  • Finally, recent guidance from the American Heart Association (AHA) as well as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 that have assessed the totality of evidence on the topic state that eggs can be a part of heart-healthy diet patterns.
    • The AHA stated in 2019 that healthy individuals can include up to a whole egg daily in heart-healthy dietary patterns, older healthy individuals can include up to 2 eggs per day in heart-healthy diets, and vegetarians who do not consume meat-based cholesterol-containing foods may include more eggs in their diets within the context of moderation.
    • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 include eggs in all recommended healthy eating patterns starting from when children are first introduced to solid foods.


As always, there are often competing headlines in nutrition science, with one study showing one thing, and another study showing the opposite. Rather than getting caught with nutrition science whiplash, it is important not to focus too much on any one study, but rather view the research in totality. As is reflected in the latest nutrition guidance, nutrient-rich eggs are an important part of healthy dietary patterns across the lifespan.


Reducing feed cost during times of high feed-ingredient prices


Kristjan Bregendahl, Ph.D.; Poultry Nutritionist, Devenish Nutrition, Fairmont MN


The cost of feed accounts for 65 percent or more of the cost of egg production. Minimizing feed cost and optimizing feed utilization and production therefore becomes paramount for ensuring profitability. The following considerations are options for lowering feed costs without compromising performance.


Diet density

The three most expensive parts of laying-hen diets are energy, protein, and phosphorus (in that order), so it is tempting to lower the dietary concentration of one or more of these in an effort to lower feed cost. This could be done by re-formulating the diets, or—if the diet program includes different diets based on feed intake—switching to a higher-intake diet (e.g., from a diet designed for 25 lb/day feed intake to 26 lb/day, which lowers diet density and feed price. However, switching to such lower-density diets is only possible if the flock is ‘overfed’ to begin with. Otherwise, lowering diet density likely backfires, because the birds need the same amount of energy (calories) and nutrients regardless of feed-ingredient prices—the birds will either increase feed consumption in an attempt to obtain the needed calories and nutrients, or the smallest birds will reduce egg-production due to the now marginally deficient diet. The loss of income from either of these consequences will offset the decreased feed cost of the lower-density diet, and may even increase feeding cost (Table 1). Even if a small loss in production is accepted as a consequence of the lower-density diet, there is a very fine balance between lowering production slightly and crashing the flock.


Table 1. Lowering the feed price by reducing energy and/or nutrients often leads to an increase in feed consumption and thus feeding cost.

Energy and/or nutrient density  Feed price         Feed consumption             Feeding cost

                                                           $/ton                        lb/day                  $/day per 1,000 birds

Original                                               300           ×             0.25               =              37.50

Reduced                                              290           ×             0.26               =              37.70


To minimize feed cost and maintaining the desired production, it is important to work closely with the feed mill and nutritionist to ensure that the diet currently fed is formulated to supply the birds with only what they require and with no excesses or deficiencies. Be prepared to share with the nutritionist information about current and desired production performance, including feed intake, egg weight, percentage egg production, and body weight. The nutritionist, in turn, will have to evaluate the dietary nutrient content, including the amino acid concentration and balance.

Using the correct rounding or minimum production amounts in diet formulation is helpful to avoid deficiencies or overages. Perhaps the diet-formulation program optimizes a given diet by using 52.435 lb/ton meat and bone meal, but the mill’s major scale needs 5-lb/ton increments and instead adds only 50 lb/ton—or, 22 lb/ton of a major ingredient is suggested, but the mill’s scales need at least 50 lb/ton inclusion rate without having to manually override a system error. So, set your diet-formulating program to use appropriate minimum production amounts and round the ingredients to match the scales’ capabilities. Also, most mixers cannot adequality mix (distribute) ingredients from the micro-bins when added at less than 1.0 lb/ton with amounts between 0.50 and 1.0 lb/ton being borderline. Even if the diet-formulation program can balance a diet using, form example, 0.35 lb/ton (0.0175%) l-threonine, most hens in the flock will likely be fed a marginally threonine-deficient diet, because the too-small amount of l-threonine cannot be adequately dispersed in the diet.


Alternative and byproduct ingredients

Most poultry diets in the USA are based on corn and soybean meal, but using other ‘alternative’ ingredients (e.g., wheat grain, sorghum, canola meal, linseed meal) and byproduct ingredients (e.g., corn DDGS, meat and bone meal, bakery meal, corn gluten meal, wheat midds) may lower feed cost without impacting performance. A word of caution, though: The prices of these ingredient often follow those of corn and soybean meal, and the energy and nutrient contents of these ingredients are lower than those in corn and soybean meal, so the alternative or byproduct ingredients may not always ‘price in’ and lower feed cost while maintaining the desired energy and nutrient concentrations.  


Feed-grade amino acids

The diet’s protein is mainly supplied by corn and soybean meal; however, birds do not need protein per se, but rather the 20 amino acids that make up protein. When all the amino acids in the diet are supplied by corn and soybean meal, there are excesses of some amino acids. These excesses can be reduced by not formulating with a crude protein minimum and instead using digestible amino acids while allowing feed-grade amino acids to replace some of the soybean meal. Because protein is the second-most expensive part of the diet, reducing soybean meal—yet still meeting the birds’ amino acid requirements through the use of feed-grade amino acids—can be very cost effective. In organic production, only feed-grade methionine (dl-methionine and MHA-type products) is allowed, but the feed cost of conventional and non-GMO diets frequently benefits from including l-lysine•HCl, l-threonine, and possibly l-tryptophan l-isoleucine, and l-valine.


Feed enzymes

Feed enzymes improve the digestibilities of energy and nutrients in the feed ingredients. NSP enzymes work on the fiber fraction of feed ingredients and increase the digestibility of energy; these enzymes can therefore replace at least some of the added oil in the feed, or help maintain adequate energy concentration when high-fiber, low-energy byproducts are used. Phytase enzymes increase the digestibility of phosphorus in corn and soybean meal, and will therefore reduce the amount of expensive mono- or dicalcium phosphate in the diet. Feed enzymes are well studied and have been used for many years with good results, and organic-approved versions are available. Although the enzymes add cost to the feed, they easily pay for themselves in energy and phosphorus savings. That said, there are differences in both price and efficacy of the enzymes, so the choice of enzyme (brand name) should be re-evaluated on a regular basis in an effort to save on feed cost. 


Feed additives

So far, discussion has centered on the diet’s energy and nutrient contents and how to best meet the hens’ requirements. Another, sometimes substantial, cost in the diet is feed additives. Yeast, probiotics, and essential oils are often added to improve the birds’ production or feed utilization through increased health or improved food safety. Many, but not all, of these feed additives are well-researched, their mode of action known and shared with customers, and confer significant benefits to the flock. However, multiple, similar feed additives with overlapping effects are sometimes added to poultry diets with minimal or no additional benefit to bird health and only increase cost to the producer. In these cases—or when unproven feed additives are used—all feed additives should be reviewed to determine if one or more can be eliminated or if less expensive, but equally effective, versions (i.e., different brand names) can be used.

Sometimes, feed additives are added to control parasites (e.g., intestinal worms or coccidia), but these additives are often expensive per treated ton of feed, and their effectiveness variable. While there certainly may be benefits of using these feed additives to prevent parasites, there are cost advantages in using them only when necessary, rather than continuously. Work with the nutritionist and veterinarian to choose the best option for your particular circumstances.

Mycotoxin binders can be useful when there are high concentrations of mycotoxins present in the feed ingredients or when the risk of mycotoxins in feed ingredients is high, but they are too expensive to add routinely. In addition, some mycotoxin binders are more effective than others against certain mycotoxins, so work closely with the feed mill to determine the mycotoxin risks and with the nutritionist to select the most appropriate and cost-effective binder for your situation.


Take-home message

When feed-ingredient prices are high, the first step in attempting to save on feed cost is to make sure the current diet’s energy and nutrient concentrations closely match the need of the specific flock with no excesses or deficiencies. Additionally, alternative feed ingredients can be considered, the feed utilization optimized using enzymes and feed-grade amino acids, and the use and choice of feed additives re-evaluated.


Validating Feed Mixing with Micro-Tracers®


Article by David and Zachary Eisenberg


Microtracers® are used worldwide to assure quality of mixed feeds. They are used to identify the presence of additives and premixes in final feeds and to confirm the integrity of proprietary pharmaceuticals. In the poultry industry Microtracers® validate cross-contamination control procedures to prevent violative residues. This article describes the procedure to verify the accuracy of feed mixing.


The cost of validating the accuracy of mixers is trivial when compared with the costs of non-uniform diets that may impact animal performance. Inefficient mixer performance will require longer mixing times or smaller batch sizes than needed, wasting resources and reducing feedmill capacity. 


Microtracers® provide significant advantages over alternate tracers used to validate mixing including assays of amino acids, minerals and salt.


  • Microtracers® can be assayed either in a mill by non-technical personnel or in a feed laboratory. Assays are conducted rapidly and at a fraction of the cost of amino acid or mineral analyses. 
  • Microtracers® are added to feeds at 50 parts per million (ppm) or less as compared with salt added at 2% (20,000 ppm). 
  • Microtracers® are added to feeds as a discrete inclusion. Results obtained are not confounded by background levels of amino acids, minerals or salt in feed.
  • Microtracers can be used to detect extremely low levels of cross-contamination, by analyzing sequential samples. 
  • Microtracers® are included in the Standard of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) (USA) and in the GMP+ Test Methods (Holland). 


The four steps to validate mixer performance using Microtracers® are:-

  1. Addition of the Microtracer® to the feed
  2. Sampling the feed after mixing 
  3. Analyzing the feed samples for the Microtracer® 
  4. Interpreting data 


1) Addition of the Microtracer® to the Feed


The most common analytical procedure uses Microtracers® F. comprising 25,000 particles/gram. This Microtracer® is added to the trial feed at 50 grams per 2,000-lbs of feed or bulk feed premix to yield an expected 103 particles/colored spots from analysis of 75 gram subsamples.

The Microtracer® should be mixed in the proportion of 1 part tracer with 9 parts of extender such as limestone powder to simulate commercial practice where critical micro ingredients such as vitamins, minerals or drugs are added to a feed as a premix.

The Microtracer® premix should be added to the mixer at the same position and time that other micro ingredients are added -- whether by hand or from an automated microbin. 

 For paddle mixers, two different colored Microtracer® F products should be added with one at each end of the mixer. This allows validation of end-to-end distribution of the tracer in the mixer.

Two or even three mixing times can be validated in one test batch by adding different colors of tracer sequentially into the batch.

For example Microtracer F-Blue could be added at the time the mixer is fully loaded; Microtracer F-Red after one minute and Microtracer F -Orange after two minutes. Then the mixer could be left to mix for an additional minute. For the samples taken, the Blue tracer will have mixed 3 minutes, the Red for 2 minutes and the Orange for one minute. 


2) Sampling Feed After Mixing

The location of sampling depends on the purpose of the trial. 

  • To validate performance of the mixer, samples are obtained from within the mixer at different locations and depths. 
  • To evaluate the mixing quality of the feed or premix at the point of transfer from the mixer, samples should be taken at the point of discharge. 
  • To evaluate the mixing quality of the feed or premix prior to delivery, samples can be obtained directly from the vehicle discharge auger or from bags of feed.

Variability in mixing usually increases after discharge from the mixer science feed with tracer may commingle with feed not containing the tracer as cross contamination from prior batches of feed or premix may occur. 

A minimum of ten samples is recommended per batch. All samples must be discrete (not composites) and they should not be mixed prior to analysis since this reduces the power of the test. Tracer counts should be obtained from 75 g. units of feed not 200 g. units. A minimum of 200g per sample is recommended to permit retests if required.

In taking samples, safety must be the highest priority. It may be necessary to shut off power to a mixer if samples are taken from within a mixer or to a screw conveyer when samples are taken from the screw conveyer. Hands must never be placed between the conveyer screws even if power is shut off.


3) Analyzing the Microtracer® in Feed

The analytical procedure is summarized below:-

  • Lift the subsample from the top of the sample bag and weigh it in a weigh scoop or dish on a laboratory scale (75 suggested). 
  • Pour the sample through the upper hopper of a “Rotary Detector” laboratory magnetic separator to isolate the tracer on a sheet of filter paper resting over the rotating magnet. 
  • Brush the magnetically retrieved material including Microtracer® into a small aluminum weigh scoop and use a bulk tape eraser to “demagnetize” the material.
  • Sprinkle the retrieved material onto a large, 7 inch (18cm) diameter filter paper and use an artist's fan-shaped brush to disperse the tracer evenly on the test paper.
  • Use a polyethylene spray bottle with special head to “mist” the developing solution of 50% ethyl alcohol over the surface of the filter paper. As soon as colored spots begin to develop, transfer the test paper to a pre-heated hot plate or oven to dry the paper and “fix” the spots.
  • Determine the number of spots by eye using a hand-held counter or use a Microtracer® spot-counting app. (free download for Android and iOS devices). 

The Microtracer® “Rotary Detector” and peripherals including “bulk tape eraser”, hot plates, grinder (to reduce feed pellets to mash for analysis), filter paper as well as Microtracers® F can be purchased form Micro-Tracers, Inc., San Francisco.

A video of the rotary detector analytical procedure can be found at this link.

4) Interpreting Data

Microtracer® F particles yield colored spots that are counted as described above. Comparison of values is governed by Poisson particle statistics and the Chi-Squared test rather than percentage Coefficient of Variation (CV%) .

Click here for more information on the statistical interpretation of Microtracers® results.

Data is entered into either the Microtracer® Web Portal or App. (data input into one will sync to the other). The Portal or App will then calculate all statistics and provide a determination whether the mix is complete.

Completeness of a mix is determined by applying the Chi-Square test, which yields a “Chance Probability” or likelihood. If the chance probability denoted by the trial data is greater than 5%, the result is evidence of a complete mix because any excess variability is insufficient to be “statistically significant.” Results with chance probabilities between 1% and 5% are considered “Probably Incomplete” and with Chance Probabilities less than 1% mixes are considered as “Incomplete”.

Individual data points may only be discarded for good reason, as with first and last samples. For example, if the graphed values show significantly lower tracer recovery in the first and last sample taken from the mixer discharge, it may be concluded that cross contamination from prior batches of feed or premix occurred. By omitting those values, it can be determined that the intermediate samples were adequately mixed.



Microtracers® assay is the method of choice for validating feed mixing. The procedure can be performed on-site by mill personnel, rapidly providing valuable information at low cost. Free software, data interpretation, and support are provided by Micro-Tracers Inc. San Francisco.

Additional Comments

  • International Applications of Microtracer® Assays

Several types of Microtracers® are used to meet requirements of specific markets. In many European countries, feed manufacturers are required to attain a CV of 5% for trial results by counting tracer particles/colored spots, with the tracer added to feeds at 10 grams/metric tonne (10ppm). Special Microtracers® and methods developed by Micro-Tracers Services Europe (MTSE-Germany) have been developed to achieve these requirements.

In France, feed manufacturers achieve a CV of 5% in assays by using Microtracers RF (colored iron powder), and reading the color using a spectrophotometer applying methods developed by Tecaliman- the French Feed Research Institute.

In the USA and most of the world, feed manufacturers use Microtracers F (colored iron particles) with results interpreted using the applicable Poisson statistics and the Pearson Chi-Squared test. 

  • Reproducibility of Microtracer® Mixer Assays and Determining Cross-Contamination.

Since using Microtracers® to validate mixers is rapid and inexpensive it is possible to take large numbers of samples to evaluate a variety of parameters including mixing time, batch size, particle size of feed. Replication of data is possible using Microtracers® contributing to inexpensive, rapid and accurate evaluation of mixing accuracy.

Cross contamination can be easily determined by assaying for the Microtracer® in subsequent batches of feed in which the tracer was not added. Analyzing larger samples from these batches will increase the sensitivity of the test. For example, by analyzing 400g samples instead of the suggested 80g, a particle count of 500 would be expected if Microtracer were added at 50 grams/tonne. The proportion of cross contamination will be indicated by the actual number of particles determined divided by 500. If 25 particles were found, the cross contamination percentage would be estimated at 25/500 = 5%.



L-Selenomethionine, Key Component of a Selenized Yeast Feed Additive


Dr. Brecht Bruneel, Technical Manager, Orffa Additives BV.

Modern genetics has resulted in chickens characterised by high performance. The downside of this success is the high sensitivity to numerous stresses. To allow the animal the chance to respond adequately to these stresses, selenium (Se) is added to the diet. As an essential trace element, selenium is required for optimal performance, reproduction and immunity. Specific enzymes (selenoproteins) require the incorporation of Se to ensure their activity in the animal. These enzymes reduce the presence of reactive oxygen species, produced during normal metabolic activity and are elevated during stress causing cell damage and subsequent malfunction of tissues. Protection against these harmful metabolites is especially important in high energy-demanding cells.

The new divide: L-selenomethionine compared to all other selenium compounds

Se can be added to the diet as L-selenomethionine or as sodium selenite, sodium selenate, selenocysteine or organic selenium intermediates. The advantage of selenium in the form of L-selenomethionine (L-SeMet) over all other selenium compounds is the ability to be incorporated directly into animal proteins. This metabolically active Se acts as a storage depot for Se within tissues (Figure 1). Other Se compounds are invariably reduced to hydrogen selenide (H2Se) and subsequently converted to de novo selenocysteine and incorporated into selenoproteins. Hydrogen selenide does not function as a reserve for Se in tissues and cells and any excess is excreted via methylation in the liver to prevent toxic reactions.

L-SeMet, is the only Se compound that can be directly, without conversion, incorporated into structural proteins in muscle and liver tissue. This storage ensures optimal Se supply, even during stress such as heat exposure when dietary intake of Se can be limited. Under stress conditions there is a high demand for Se to inactivate oxygen free radicals and reduce cell damage. Research has shown that Se from sodium selenite is excreted at a rate almost three-fold more than Se from L-SeMet when fed to broilers, confirming that inorganic Se is not stored (Skrivan et al. 2008).

L-SeMet is generally supplied in diets by addition of selenized yeast. Yeasts have limited ability to incorporate Se in the form of L-SeMet, (Schrauzer, 2006). Normally, around 63% of the total Se in a selenized yeast is present as L-SeMet but there is a large variation among products and batches (Figure 2). L-SeMet incorporated in yeast protein is also not completely bioavailable as it has to be digested before it can be absorbed. (Sauvant,2004). Other selenium sources present in yeast cells follow the pathway to hydrogen selenide and are therefore not any more valuable as a Se source than inexpensive inorganic Se. From an efficiency point of view, selenized yeast does not provide the full potential of L-selenomethionine. Pure synthetic preparations of L-selenomethionine, contributing selenium as a single amino acid is the most bioavailable form.

The benefits of L-selenomethionine in poultry

Frequent stressful periods are always correlated with an increased metabolic activity and energy demand that is correlated with a period of high oxidative stress. To combat this stress the animal requires proportionately higher levels of Se. The literature confirms that heat- stressed chick embryos benefit from maternal Se in the form of L-SeMet compared to inorganic Se (Xiao et al. 2016). A significant increase in selenoprotein synthesis including glutathione peroxidase occurs with a resulting reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde, a biomarker for lipid peroxidation. L-SeMet is beneficial in improving the antioxidant response of chick embryos as it is transferred efficiently and to a high extent from the diet to the egg. When comparing sodium selenite, selenized yeast and L-SeMet in deposition of Se in the egg, the L-SeMet was able to increase the Se content in the egg to the highest level among alternative sources (Delezie et al. 2014).

L-SeMet is not only able to adequately respond to heat stress in embryos, but also in broilers as it the compound is stored efficiently in muscle tissue as a component of muscle proteins. When broilers were subjected to chronic heat stress during the finisher period, feeding          L-SeMet improved weight gain and enhanced the efficiency of feed conversion (Michiels et al. 2016).

After slaughter L-SeMet has a positive effect on meat quality. Chick tissue is especially vulnerable to oxidative stress expressed as lipid peroxidation due to the presence of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). L-SeMet not only reduces lipid peroxidation but also increases the alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) content due to inherent regenerative ability that is more efficient than sodium selenite (Skrivan et al. 2008). Studies have demonstrated a reduction in drip loss of almost one percent after storage of the meat for 48 hours when diets were supplemented with L-SeMet compared to sodium selenite (Zhang et al. 2014).

Replacement of sodium selenite by L-selenomethionine in broiler breeder diets has demonstrated benefits on fertility, hatchability and viability of chicks after hatching. As L-SeMet is efficiently transferred from the diet to the egg for the developing embryo it helps the young chick to overcome incubation and hatch-related stress. A long-lasting maternal effect, persisting to slaughter, has also been observed from L-SeMet supplementation (Wang et al. 2011, Zhang et al. 2014).

Positive effects on eggshell quality, production and freshness have also been observed by supplementing the diets of laying hens with L-SeMet.

Achieving maximum potential

L-selenomethionine has long-standing proven benefits over all other selenium compounds including sodium selenite, sodium selenate, selenocysteine and organic selenium intermediates under conditions of stress. selenium has been lifted to its maximum potential.

Excential Selenium 4000 (Orffa Additives BV,) is the only organic product in the market providing selenium in the most effective, bioavailable form as L-selenomethionine. The product is consistent in concentration and biological activity compared to other organic selenium sources such as selenized yeast. Excential Selenium 4000 is an organic source of  Se compliant with worker safety due to the absence of dust.

Figure 1: The metabolism of L-selenomethionine and other selenium compounds (adapted from Rayman, 2004; and Combs, 2001).

Figure 2: Commercial sample review of selenized yeasts (n=28) from seven producers (Rovers, 2015)



Combs, G.F. 2001. Selenium in global food systems. British Journal of Nutrition, 85:517-547

Delezie, E., Rovers, M., Aa Van der, A., Ruttens, A., Wittocx, S., Segers, L. (2014). Comparing responses to different selenium sources and dosages in laying hens. Poultry Science, 93:3083-3090.

Michiels, J., Degroote, J., Majdeddin, M., Golian, A., De Smet, S., Rovers, M., Segers, L. (2016) Effect of L-Selenomethionine supplementation during stress periods of starter broilers and chronic cyclic heat stressed finishing broilers. Proc. 25th WPC, Sept 5-9, China

Rayman, M.P. 2004. The use of high-selenium yeast to raise selenium status: how does it measure up? British Journal of Nutrition, 92:557-573

Rovers, M. (2015) Organic selenium is all about selenomethionine. All About Feed, 23(8):8-10

Sauvant, D., Perez, J.M., Tran, G. (2004) Tables of composition and nutritional value of feed materials. INRA, pages 220-221

Schrauzer, G.N. (2006) Selenium yeast: Composition, quality, analysis, and safety. Pure Appl. Chem., 78(1):105-109

Skrivan, M., Dlouhá, G., Mašata, O., Ševcikova, S. (2008) Effect of dietary selenium on lipid oxidation, selenium and vitamin E content in the meat of broiler chickens. Czech J. Animal. Sci., 53(7):306-311

Wang, Y., Zhan, X., Yuan, D., Zhang, X., Wu, R. (2011) Influence of dietary selenomethionine supplementation on performance and selenium status of broiler breeders and their subsequent progeny. Biol. Trace Elem. Res., 143:1497-1507

Xiao, X., Yuan, D., Wang, Y., Zhan, X. (2016) The protective effects of different sources of maternal selenium on oxidative stressed chick embryo liver. Biol. Trace Elem. Res., 172:201-208

Zhang, L., Wang, Y.X., Zhou, Y., Zheng, L., Zhan, X.A., Pu, Q.H. (2014) Different sources of maternal selenium affect selenium retention, antioxidant status, and meat quality of 56-day-old offspring of broiler breeders. Poultry Science, 93:2210-2219




Impact of PrimaLac® on gut health, and egg quality from free-range hens in late cycle 89 to 109 weeks of age


R.D. Malheiros, R. Crivellari, K.E. Anderson

 Prestage Poultry Science Department, NCSU, Raleigh, NC.


Probiotics are used as feed additives to improve the gastrointestinal tract of poultry. In free-range chickens it is common to have an intestinal parasite infestation (PInf). Better intestinal morphology is connected with better animal performance. This study was to evaluate PrimaLac (Star-Labs, Clarksdale, MO), in hens in their late stage of production, and to measure intestinal health, egg quality, and production criteria. The study was conducted at the NCDA Station, Salisbury, NC. We used 400 commercial hens, during late cycle, housed in a free-range system, divided in two treatment groups of 200 hens for each group, 50 hens per replicate. Four replicates of control feed and four replicates provided PrimaLac at 3 lbs./ton, fed ad libitum.  Egg production and mortality data were collected from 89 to 109 weeks of age.  In each period eggs were evaluated for external and internal egg quality.  At 109 wks. 10 hens/replicate were euthanized for tissue sample and PInf. evaluation. The trial was a completely randomized design. Student’s T test was used to compare PrimaLac® vs. Control, and Chi Square was used to compare the PInf.  Overall PrimaLac had greater HH% (56.54 vs 50.30), Daily Egg Mass (40.33 vs 37.17 g egg/d), and better feed conversion (.359 vs .310 g egg/g feed). The mortality was lower in the PrimaLac® group (P>0.05). Looking at internal egg quality, the vitelline membrane elasticity was better in PrimaLac® hens (5.23 vs 4.85 mm). The intestinal villi high (vh), tip wide (tw), bottom wide (bw), crypt depth (cd), muscular thickness (mt), globet cells count (gc), vh/cd, and villi surface (vs) were not affected by the inclusion of the DFM.


 The round worm population was lower in the PrimaLac® hens. Cecal worms were shown to have a significant reduction (P=0.0396) in the PrimaLac® hens.

In conclusion, the use of PrimaLac® in free-range hens in late cycle, has beneficial effects on eggs per HH%, on internal egg quality, and a strong reduction in the ceca parasite population in laying hens.   


Vital Farms is Committed to Pasture Housing for Flocks


Vital Farms was established by Matt O’Hayer in 2007. Matt, a serial entrepreneur with a solid business track record and his spouse Catherine established a small farm on a 27 acre property they owned near Austin, TX.

At the onset of his enterprise, O’Hayer elected to follow U.K. standards applicable to outside access for pastured flocks allowing each hen a minimum of 108 ft2 of outdoor pasture.  Initially, moveable shelters were used followed by a hub-and-spoke approach, then allowing outside access to pasture from each side of a barn.


Egg Innovations – Commitment to Contractors


A feature article highlighting Egg-Innovations is the first in a series reviewing specialist egg producers in the U.S. EGG-NEWS will consider ownership, structure and features of the enterprises which contribute to success in a competitive marketplace.


Problem of Cystic Left Oviduct in Ovulating Non-Layers Investigated


Presentations by poultry health professionals at recent regional meetings have disclosed a field problem of cystic left oviducts associated with false “internal” layers termed ovulating non-layer (ONL) syndrome. The topic was recently the subject of an interactive discussion on a webinar arranged by the American Veterinarians in Egg Production.

Sporadic outbreaks of ONL were described in the late 1960s in the expanding and consolidating U.S. egg industry in the Northeast states. Strains of infectious bronchitis virus (presumably Mass.) prevailing in the U.S. in 1971 were shown to induce ONL following infection of day-old pullets presumably devoid of maternal antibody. There is anecdotal evidence that in the mid-1950s in the U.S. Connaught strain IB vaccine induced up to 3 percent prevalence of ONL when administered to pullets at three weeks of age. The condition gained new attention in Holland following introduction of the D388 serotype of the QX genotype of infectious bronchitis virus resulting in cases of ONL in commercial flocks. The pathogenicity of D388 including induction of ONL was demonstrated in a comprehensive series of experiments conducted by the Dutch Animal Health Service*  


EFSA Report on AI in the E.U.


At the request of the European Commission, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has prepared a review of avian influenza as it has affected the EU. In consecutive years. The following conclusions are contained in the published report dated October 16th, 2017*.

The panel representing epidemiologists and regulatory veterinarians noted the following:-



Summit Livestock’s Wrap-the-EquipmentTM Construction Speeds Erection


The Lone Cactus Complex located near Bouse, AZ., was conceived by Marcus Rust in 2015 to produce cage-free eggs to be marketed in California and Western states. Rose Acre Farms initially elected to convert to cage-free production by erecting new buildings on existing complexes in Indiana.

The Lone Cactus project represents refinement of design features based on the experience gained with an initial group of five houses. Expansion to Arizona by the Nation's second largest egg producer provided an opportunity for their design-build general contractor, Summit Livestock Facilities to apply a unique approach to construction by integrating the house with equipment in the "wrap-the-equipment" concept.

The origin of Summit Livestock Facilities is steeped in 60 years of designing and building facilities for agricultural and commercial purposes from the parent company, FBi Buildings. This specialized company was formed to address the needs of protein producers from a commercial aspect as well as addressing the growing concerns with animal health and wellbeing.  This includes facilities in all livestock segments.

Lone Cactus Egg Farm represents a collaboration between Summit Livestock as the architect, coordinating engineer, and general contractor, FACCO the supplier of modified aviaries and installations, Rose Acre Farms as an involved and participating client and a number of subcontractors.

The Bouse site in Arizona was selected on the basis of proximity to western markets and isolation from concentrations of commercial poultry. Distance from flyways used by migratory waterfowl represents a direct application of the principles of Conceptual Biosecurity. 

As planned, the completed project will ultimately comprise two complexes each of six houses with a total of 4.4 million hens.  An additional ingredient-receiving facility to handle grain and bulk feedstuffs delivered by rail has yet to be erected. A distribution cold store and warehouse facility to be located equidistant between the Lone Cactus Complex and the second facility will be required.

Based on the stated commitments by members of the Food Marketing Institute, the National Restaurant Association and food service distributors to source only cage-free eggs by 2025, Rust opted for a novel design which would incorporate speed of erection and minimize capital cost compared to conventional aviary housing. It is estimated that each house with aviaries, electrical, water, alarm and ventilation systems including evaporative cooling will cost less than conventional housing estimated to range from $30 to $35 per hen. 

Additional expenditures are obviously required for site development, structural biosecurity, feed mixing, egg packing, roads and reticulation of power and water. It is estimated that it requires four months to erect and equip a house although on a complex it is possible to stage consecutive phases of construction or to increase manpower and resources to expedite completion.

Each of the Lone Cactus houses will be approximately 180 feet by 540 feet.  Each house comprising two levels is subdivided into two compartments by a longitudinal wall.  Each of the four compartments will house approximately 95,000 white-feathered hens.  Each of the seven rows of aviaries in each compartment comprises three tiers with the center tier modified to brood day-old pullet chicks to 12 weeks. At this time they are individually vaccinated and then distributed among the available modules which have movable cage fronts. 

The aviaries serve as rearing cages but after training, cage fronts are folded back to allow the mature flock complete access to the volume of the house. Each house is designed to hold approximately 380,000 white-feathered hens at a stocking density approved by U.S. welfare certification agencies. Actual floor area provides a density of 0.5 ft2 per hen but since these are aviary systems, the effective bio-density is 6.0 ft3 per hen.

The aviary modules were manufactured by FACCO of Italy with extensive modifications as requested by Rose Acre Farms under the directions of CEO Marcus Rust.

The houses incorporate a patented "Wrap-the-Equipment" design conceived by Summit Livestock to satisfy the requirements of speed of market and optimal cost.


Sampling for Mycotoxin Analysis


    Testing for mycotoxins is a complicated process that generally consists of three steps:
  1. Several small samples are taken at random from the lot and composed into one larger “lot sample”.
  2. The entire lot sample is ground to a fine particle size and a representative subsample, the “analytical sample”, is removed for analysis.
  3. The mycotoxins are extracted from the analytical sample and finally quantified.

However, there is variability associated with each of the three steps even when accepted test procedures are used. Sampling has been shown to be the largest source of variation associated with the mycotoxin test procedure in several studies. For example, nearly 90% of the errors associated with aflatoxin testing can be attributed to sampling.

The high levels of sampling errors are due to two main factors; low concentration of mycotoxins in a given sample (the “ppb-problem”) and the uneven distribution in the lot. Effective sampling is crucial for replicable mycotoxin results as the mycotoxin analysis costs time and money.


Example of a sampling program:  4 samples/month
Corn Volume:  4,000 tonnes/month
Volume:  20 containers per week = 1,000 tonnes/week
1st Sample: inside container
(Association of American Feed Control Officials. Inc. Second Edition. May 1.2000)

  • Collect: 11 probes/container of 50 tonnes
  • Volume/probe: 0,5 kg
  • Blend all 11 samples and collect 1 final sample

2nd Sample: composite sample of 20 containers

  • 1 sample/container x 20 containers = 20 samples/week
  • Blend all 20 samples
  • Grind all 20 samples

3rd Sample:1 kg of ground corn

  • Quarter:
  • Send to lab: 0,5 kg/week.
  • Hold: 0,5 kg/week quartering sample points


AdWeek Rates Grocery Stores



Consulting group C Space recently published the results of a survey on customer attitudes towards grocery stores in AdWeek. Charles Trevail, CEO of C Space stated “The grocery industry is an increasingly crowded space, and every new innovation brings consumers more choices.” 

He added “this data proves that, rather than relying on short-term tactics like discounts and reward programs, building loyalty depends on a grocery retailer's capacity to intuitively ‘get’ its customers."


In the study, consumers responded according to the following percentages:

  • 43 percent did not wish to feel “ripped off”
  • 41 percent expected consistent customer service
  • 32 percent appreciated rewards for loyalty
  • 24 percent desired products that fit needs and lifestyles

Positive mentions were accorded the following five stores with the percentage responses:

  • Trader Joe’s (90.4%)
  • Wegmans (92.7%)
  • Publix (90%)
  • Hy-Vee (87.5%)
  • Sprouts (85.7%)

Negative mentions involved:

  • Shaws (88.5%)
  • Walmart (81.4%)
  • Star Market (77.8%)
  • Local (79.5%)

The studies conducted by C Space developed a CQ Score which incorporates both positive and negative mentions.  The leading stores with their CQ Scores were:

  • Trader Joe’s (7.3)
  • Wegmans (7.0)
  • Publix (6.7)
  • Hy-Vee (6.6)

Whole Foods scored 3.6 and Target 2.7. Aldi was slightly above “neutral” with a score of 1.2.  Sam’s Club scored 0.3.  Stores with high negatives included Shaws -6.2, Walmart -4.9, Food Lion and Albertsons both -3.0.

In surveying consumers, it was determined that loyalty is influenced by perceptions of the brand and included: (for Trader Joe’s)

  • Response by customers to service provided by happy employees
  • Colorful labeling in stores
  • Limited selection to facilitate shopping but with items constantly in stock

Costco customer appreciated helpful employees to assist in navigating a large store with a wide range of items (which they continuously move around! -Ed.)

The response relating to positive attributes among the C Space survey is obviously influencing companies such as Wal-Mart Stores which has embarked on a program of reinvention according to President and CEO Doug McMillon. Associates (a euphemism for low-paid workers) will henceforth be required to provide a higher level of service.  Speaking at the 46th Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, McMillon stated “as the World becomes more digital it will be the humanity of Walmart that differentiate us and wins with customers.”  He added “Our investments in education and training, store structure, wages, hours and sales-floor technology are to support and enable customers to be served”.

Clearly given the results of recent consumer surveys including the C Space study, Walmart and Sam’s have a lot of work to do to enhance customer satisfaction and perceptions.


Is the Turkey Industry Vulnerable Over On-Farm Euthanasia?



In this age of intrusion videos, the actions of growers represent the greatest vulnerability with respect to intrusion videos and consequential adverse publicity.  On-farm euthanasia is an area of concern given the range of procedures that are recognized by the National Turkey Federation. 

The NTF Guidelines make reference in turn to the 2013 Edition of the AMVA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals as a precedent.  


The NTF recognizes the following techniques for euthanasia:-

  • Cervical dislocation manually for small birds.  Turkeys under 10 pounds in weight require handling by a trained contractor. Over 10 pounds in weight an instrument such as the Koechner shear is effective if correctly applied but the physiological effect in relation to welfare has been questioned.
  • Gas euthanasia using carbon dioxide is used regularly for breeders but requires investment in equipment, the purchase of a gas cylinder and careful supervision of trained personnel to be humane and effective.
  • Blunt force trauma to the head is frequently used and when applied by a trained person results in instantaneous loss of consciousness.  Unfortunately the aesthetic aspect is unacceptable especially when viewed on a video with a deceptive sound commentary.  It places the turkey industry in the same category as clubbing seals and has an extremely negative connotation among reasonable consumers. Mechanical trauma can be achieved using a captive-bolt system such as the Bock Industry’s TED device.  Capital investment is required and instruments must be regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure effective function.

There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to any selected method.  To be effective, growers require training, and regular recertification to ensure competence.  A high level of supervision by service persons is necessary to ensure that crippled birds are regularly culled and euthanized in accordance with company procedures.  Leaving crippled birds to die in a house is encountered during routine farm visits and this neglect potentially exposes the integrator to adverse publicity.

In reviewing the procedures to ensure that captive-bolt euthanasia is effective, equipment must be regularly maintained. One integrator issues the devices only when flocks are 12 weeks of age.  At this time the service person reviews operating procedures and recertifies the contractor.  When the flock is depleted, the captive-bolt equipment is returned to a central store for decontamination, and service before reissue.  Simply assigning a device to a contractor on a permanent loan basis will result in degraded operation and in many cases leads to a reversion to blunt force euthanasia using a hammer or some other object.

Euthanasia is a necessary but unfortunate component of growout but requires attention both by the contractor and service person to avoid the possibility of an embarrassing posting on YouTube or in some cases even criminal action for animal cruelty.


Biomin Mycotoxin Survey


Dr. Raj Murugesan, Technical and Marketing Director of Biomin America Inc. has complied the results of the Company’s mycotoxin survey of U.S. 2015 corn harvest.

The entire report is posted as a sponsored article for the information of subscribers.  Among the six mycotoxins assayed (aflatoxin, fumonisin, zearalenone, deoxynivalenol {DON}, T-2 and ochratoxin) a detectable level of DON was present in 79 percent of the 381 corn samples examined and fumonisin was present in 59 percent. 

Dr. Murugesan emphasized the co-occurrence of more than one mycotoxin in 56 percent of the samples.  The geographic location of contaminated samples is indicated in the article together with the range of concentrations.


Surveys for mycotoxins in grain samples can yield widely variable results due to inherent sampling errors.  Data relating to type and distribution of specific mycotoxins can be used as a guide to implement more intensive and stratified sampling programs applicable to an area or feed mill.






A number of papers were presented at the 2016 International Poultry Science Forum held concurrently with the International Poultry and Processing Expo considered aspects of egg production.  Summaries of the abstracts are provided for the benefit subscribers:

Salmonella RESEARCH


A collaborative study was undertaken at Auburn University, North Carolina State University and the USDA, ARS. The objective was to determine if condensation on the surface of an egg following transfer from a cold room to ambient temperature (“sweating”) contributed to penetration of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) from the shell surface into the egg contents.  After inoculation with a 108 SE suspension, eggs were transferred from storage at 4C to 32C for 80 minutes.

Shell rinse, shell emulsion and egg contents were enumerated.  The recovery of SE was related to duration of storage with higher levels in shell rinses from the inoculated eggs during weeks 1 through 3 days post contamination.  No SE was detected in shell emulsion or egg contents.  SE on the shell surface declined sharply due to refrigeration over the duration of the trial.

It is possible that SE is deposited on the shell of eggs during passage through the coprodeum and cloaca in hens with colonized intestinal tracts.  If the shell is intact, penetration will not occur.  Thorough washing of eggs using a chlorine-based sanitizer should destroy any SE present on the surface under commercial conditions.  Maintaining a cold chain at 42F should inhibit proliferation of any Salmonella present on the surface after washing.  It is however necessary to detect and remove eggs with cracked shells since these represent a risk of egg penetration and if subsequently subjected to thermal abuse, could be a source of egg-borne infection.


This trial was conducted on broiler chicks but the findings are applicable to replacement egg-laying pullets.  Routes of inoculation comprised exposure to SE through feed, or day-old intra- tracheal, oral, cloacal and subcutaneous infection.  On days 32 through 36, subjects were euthanized and attempts were made to re-isolate SE from various organs and muscle tissue.  Irrespective of inoculation route, SE was recovered from all tissue samples.  Feed inoculation resulted in the highest levels of recovery in the crop, cecum, cloaca and bursal tissue at levels of up to 80 percent.  This study showed that feed is an important source of SE and presumably other Salmonella. Contaminated feed increases the probability of colonization of organs with Salmonella.  Appropriate suppression of Salmonella in feed is therefore indicated using available approved organic acid additives. 


Rapid detection using the 3M Molecular Detection Assay and the ANSR Salmonella methods to detect Salmonella in egg products was as effective as the FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual Procedure.  It was concluded that with appropriate enrichment, loop-mediated isothermal amplification which selectively increases the level of bacterial DNA in a sample is effective to detect a range of Salmonella stereotypes including Heidelburg and Typhimurium.




Ken Rudd, Biobusiness Consultants, Galena, IL.

On occasion CHICK-CITE posts guest contributions by specialists in relevant fields. Ken Rudd retired from Merial after a long career in avian vaccine development and marketing both in North America and the International arena has followed the controversy over vaccination against HPAI. In the following article he shares his experience and observations relating to the control and eradication of future outbreaks of HPAI in the context of the U.S


Vaccination was one of the more contentious issues arising from the Spring 2015 epornitic of HPAI in upper Midwest states. The infection was and still is regarded as an exotic disease necessitating eradication. Despite widespread and intensive depletion of affected farms following rapid diagnosis, cases were diagnosed on large units on a daily basis in late April, May and early June. This resulted in turkey and egg producers at risk to request the USDA-APHIS to allow the use of inactivated vaccine as a component of the control program. As it turned out a decision was made not to introduce vaccination. This was due to strong opposition from the broiler producers who were completely unaffected and were justifiably concerned over losing their export markets for leg quarters estimated at close to 3 million metric tons and valued at $4.5 billion in 2015.

Fortunately the efforts to eradicate infection through quarantines and depletion of affected farms by the USDA-APHIS together with cessation of shedding of virus by waterfowl carriers in April and enhanced biosecurity resulted in an end to incident cases by mid-June. The USDA APHIS has confirmed that in the event of a future serious outbreak, possibly involving the broiler and turkey-producing states under the Atlantic flyway, vaccine would be employed as a component of a control program.  To this effect, contracts have been awarded to two manufacturers to create a stockpile of H5 vaccine.  The role of vaccination in the control of avian influenza has been reviewed on poultry-related websites and periodicals and was the subject of a recent webinar Vaccination as Part of an Avian Flu Eradication Plan with three speakers considering vaccination as a control measure from their respective experience.




University of California, Davis. Pastured Hen Project

As the co-directors of the UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm we read your op-ed in Egg-Cite on December 4th with much interest.

In general, it appears that you believe that our project seeks to re-create a 19th century poultry production practice and hence “hardly requires the involvement” of a university. Your assertion is simply wrong; our goal is to re-create these systems using 21st century technology to improve production, welfare, food safety, predator control, biosecurity, farmer ergonomics and management and environmental management.

Examples of this are:

• We are developing Bluetooth-enabled temperature, moisture and light sensors to transmit data remotely to a $35 computer inside the coop. The data then can be transmitted to a “cloud”-based system that also captures data submitted by farmers using a “Google form.”

• In addition, we are researching the use of hyperspectral imaging to better understand pasture management via the generation of Normalized Difference Vegetation Indices (NDVI).

Both of these examples may seem impractical, but with open-source data analysis tools and cost effective electronics (e.g., our computer was $35), these techniques have significant potential to improve production. This is not “re-inventing the wheel” as you suggest.

In short, a university is essential from an innovation, research and outreach perspective to address challenges in pastured poultry production and “integrative farming” (i.e., where the land is used for both livestock/poultry and field crops). We have faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Plant Sciences, Animal Sciences and Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology and Cooperative Extension working jointly to research these systems, come up with practical innovations and extend that knowledge domestically and internationally.

While these systems may not “feed the world” they are becoming more and more common. As an extension veterinarian at a land grant university, it is my responsibility to work with these farmers who have traditionally not utilized all the resources that cooperative extension offers. Furthermore, while conventional poultry production is indeed more efficient, the idea that conventional production will solve all the world’s problems is not currently attainable in “food desserts” and in parts of the developing world. Alternative systems offer other options that should be considered.

To address one other point you made that was inaccurate: Your statement that our density is 1 bird per 1,400 square feet is incorrect. In fact you incorrectly extrapolated the amount of land we are using and what the maximum size of our flock could be. In fact, based on current practices and guidelines from certifiers the number of birds per square feet range from four square feet per bird to 108 square feet per bird.

Hypothesis driven research is badly needed to address problems related to predator control, biosecurity, production efficiency and food safety among other issues. Applying 21st technology to address these challenges will have a positive impact on non-conventional poultry production locally, regionally and globally

Dr. Maurice Pitesky DVM, MPVM, Dipl. ACVPM
Assistant Specialist in Cooperative Extension
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Poultry Health and Food Safety Epidemiology

Dr. Deb Niemeier, Ph.D, P.E.
UC Davis Department of Engineering
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director: Sustainable Design Academy


Probiotics and Their Actions


The Nutrition Physiology Co. LLC., (NPC) is actively promoting PoultriMax® as an integrated solution to the control of foodborne pathogens. Their products comprise both a hatchery-administered spray or gel to colonize the intestinal tract of chicks and poults with a viable suspension of a specific strain of Lactobacillus animalis (commercially-L.acidophilus) and a complementary probiotic feed additive.

Colonization of the beneficial organism established in the hatchery is then reinforced and extended by administration in feed during the growing period. Effective administration of PoultriMax® which incorporates a live Lactobacillus animalis in feed for growing flocks is achieved by using a patented post-pelleting application process.

The introduction of “beneficial” microorganisms into the pioneer flora should enhance protection against pathogenic food-borne bacteria and enhance production. The Food and Agricultural Organization defines probiotics as live micro-organisms, which when consumed in adequate amounts, can elicit beneficial health effects for the host.

The FAO has determined the following characteristics of acceptable probiotics to achieve a beneficial effect:-

  • The probiotic strain must remain stable during preparation, reconstitution and administration and retain inherent beneficial metabolic characteristics after ingestion.
  • The strain must reach the intended site in the intestinal tract to achieve beneficial effects, despite exposure to an acid environment in the stomach and potential degradation by digestive enzymes.
  • Probiotics must exert a beneficial effect without any deleterious side effects.


Interview with Peter Mumm


Peter Mumm


EGG-CITE had the opportunity to discuss the formation of Hendrix-ISA, LLC with the GM, Peter Mumm at a recent industry meeting. The items discussed are of interest to the readership of EGG-CITE and the U.S. egg production industry.

EGG-CITE: Peter, please provide a brief outline of your background in our Industry

Peter Mumm: I graduated in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin majoring in poultry science.  During my high school and university education I worked during summers on farms and recognized that I wanted to make chickens my career.  Over the past 20 years I have worked for a number of companies including Creekwood Farms, Dean’s Eggs, Primera Foods, Daylay and have spent the last seven years as the Director of Operations of Midwest Foods Association .

EGGCITE: You are now the General Manager of a new company Hendrix-ISA, LLC.  What led to the formation of this enterprise?

Peter Mumm: The Company was founded in January 2015 out of the realization that as a primary breeder, Hendrix Genetics required a substantial and stable presence in the U.S. to ensure consistency of production and quality.  Expansion also required considerable capital investment.  Accordingly after negotiations, it was agreed that Hendrix would acquire the production facilities and hatcheries of the Midwest Foods Association and follow the model used by the other primary breeder by integrating forward into parent stock.  I would add that Hendrix Genetics’ turkey division, Hybrid Turkeys has followed a similar program, with their contract production agreement  with Ag Forte.


Conditions Affecting Broiler Meat Quality




Professor Fernando Rutz of the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil reviewed the major quality issues relating to muscle development of broilers at the 2015 Alltech Symposium in Lexington, KY on May 18th

As an introduction Rutz noted the significant improvements in technical performance achieved in broiler-production due to genetic selection and supported by advances in nutrition, housing and prevention of disease. The industry has benefitted from an increase in processing weight for age, decreasing age at harvest and improved feed conversion efficiency contributing to enhanced profitability. These advances have in turn created problems of quality as perceived by consumers, relating to muscle development. Since 1957, broiler weight at 40 days has quadrupled and breast meat yield has increased by 80 percent.

The conditions recognized as being of concern comprise developmental myopathies.  This family of disorders relates to the vascularization of muscle tissue and dysfunction of muscle fibers.  Skeletal muscle consists of fibers arranged in bundles separated by connective tissue.  Muscle tissue is supplied with blood from arteries within the connective tissue.


Survey of Wildlife for HPAI


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. 

Trapping rodents on a farm which has been infected with HPAI will not be very helpful since the quantum of virus shed from over 2 million hens will ensure saturation of the environment. The findings as with previous studies on pasteurellosis will not differentiate between whether the rodents acquired the infectious agent from their environment or whether they serve as shedders capable of transferring virus among farms. These objectives would be better accomplished under controlled laboratory conditions. The important questions are whether rodents or endemic passeriforms (sparrows, pigeons and crows) can be infected and if so, the duration of shedding and if not how long they may serve as potential mechanical vectors.

Turkey and egg producers representing different segments of the industry need to know the risk factors contributing to outbreaks in order to plan and implement appropriate and effective protective measures.  There are currently a number of theories being  advanced by poultry health professionals, wildlife biologists, owners of farms and regulatory officials.  Infection of a specific type of farm is obviously subject to a range of factors possibly synergistic in action.  By determining the contribution of each possible factor will requires detailed field investigation with on-site observation.

Using a mailed-out survey is guaranteed to generate a result. The validity of conclusions, if apparent, will be weaker than using trained observers using a structured questionnaire and documenting findings relating to affected and unaffected farms using a case-control approach.  The results of a rigorous epidemiologic investigation should be provided to the industry as soon as possible to guide implementation of effective preventive measures which will require capital expenditure and changes in operational procedures.


VAL-CO ® Hemisphere Mixing Fan for Cool-Season Ventilation of Broilers


Philip Risser MS.

Heavy broilers are sensitive to changes in temperature, excessive atmospheric humidity, ammonia and dust. There is a direct correlation between air quality and live-performance. Growers who can effectively control environmental parameters deliver birds with improved health and livability, enhanced weight and feed conversion efficiency and optimal carcass quality and yield. VAL-CO® have developed the Hemisphere Fan to overcome problems encountered in cold weather grow-out.


Cargill Nutrition System Helps Egg Producers


Stacey Roberts, Ph.D.

Cargill recently launched the Cargill Nutrition System (CNS) a proprietary nutrient formulating platform. The CNS utilizes a combination of real-time nutrient analysis, nutrient application research and ingredient sourcing to provide poultry producers with clear data and applicable solutions to help ensure that flocks perform more profitably, efficiently and with enhanced sustainably. 


Innovative Products at the 2015 Midwest Poultry Federation Trade Show.


A number of interesting and innovative products with the potential to enhance efficiency and profitability were displayed at the 2015 Midwest Trade Show.


DON Contributes to Clostridial Enterotoxemia


It is possible to reproduce necrotic enteritis under controlled laboratory conditions by administering a toxigenic strain of Clostridium perfringens to broiler chickens.  Investigation of causal factors shows that the occurrence of acute clostridial necrotic enteritis and more moderate ulcerative enteritis is associated with nutritional and environmental factors.  Starvation, sudden changes in diet composition or physical form, wet litter and mild coccidiosis have been shown to precipitate outbreaks of enterotoxemia in commercial flocks.


Potential Advantages of Butyrate in Egg Production


Butyric acid is available commercially as a sodium salt, encapsulated to prevent absorption in the upper intestinal tract.

Butyrate has a variety of biological functions which include:-

  • Serving as a direct energy source for enterocytes
  • Functioning as a ligand for transmembrane receptors
  • Modulation of gene activity
  • Stimulating peptides that are involved in the immune response
  • Reducing intestinal motility and hence passage of ingesta, enhancing digestion of nutrients
  • Increasing the secretion of peptides which lead to enhanced proliferation of enterocytes for improved repair of damaged mucosa and increased height of villi.
  • Down-regulation of the Salmonella pathogenicity Island 1 (SPI-1) gene expression which reduces colonization of enterocytes.
  • Sodium butyrate has a positive effect on the composition of components of the flora that secrete lactic acid in the lower intestinal tract


Tough Man Tender Chicken- A Review


Mitzi Purdue, widow of Frank Perdue has prepared a biography on the industry pioneer who passed away in March 2005 at the age of 85. The book considers his life history from the standpoint of his business creativity, ethics and approach to management.  This is no hagiography.  Mitzi Purdue is an accomplished writer who earned a baccalaureate in government from Harvard University and a Master’s in Public Administration from George Washington University. 

She has worked as a professional journalist working with Capital News and Scripps Howard and is a syndicated columnist.  She is the daughter of Ernest Henderson, co-founder of the Sheraton Hotel chain and has been active in philanthropy and public affairs.  She was obviously deeply attached to Frank through their 17-year marriage and her selection of topics and emphasis in the biography provides a valuable insight into a complex and often misunderstood industry figure.


Layers 2013 Part 1


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.


Chile Determines That Broiler Cartel Was Illegal


According to a USDA GAIN report dated January 13, 2012 (CI1201) the three major broiler integrators in Chile, Agrosuper, Ariztia and Don Pollo collectively supplied 92 percent of the domestic market. In December 2011 the National Economic Prosecutors Office formally charged the defendants with colluding to control price by limiting production. The Poultry Producers’ Association of Chile was also cited as a co-defendant.

Following raids on all four entities, National investigators were able to confirm that information on production was shared and that a de facto quota system existed. According to the Santiago USDA-FAS Post, there was considerable collusion between the government and poultry producers prior to 2012 leading to the resignation of several high-ranking officials.

In August, a unanimous decision of the Court For The Defense Of Free Competition ruled in favor of the November 2011 injunction obtained by the National Economic Prosecutor against the three producers and their association. Agrisuper and Ariztia were ordered to pay $25 million and $10 million in fines respectively with the possibility of a $25 million penalty to be imposed on Don Pollo.  The Poultry Producers’ Association has been disbanded and the companies concerned will have to undergo five-years of surveillance to ensure compliance with national laws relating to competition.


Review of Broiler Production in Brazil


The recent embargo on exports from the U.S. and the EU imposed by Russia in retribution for sanctions, has focused attention on Brazil as a potential supplier.

Forecast broiler production for 2014 and the projection for the subsequent year are shown in Table 1.  The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service estimates a 5% increase in output in 2015 to 13.312 million metric tons, of which 30.2 percent will be exported.  Per capita consumption will only increase by 0.2%, restrained by domestic economic factors.


The ENSO (El Nino) Phenomenon



Severe changes in seasonal weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean may reduce the availability of crops and result in climatic events which impact infrastructure. Since there is evidence of an emerging El Nino phenomenon a summary of the causation, development and consequences of the cyclic changes is provided for subscribers to CHICK-CITE. Additional details and updates can be obtained from the NOAA website –(insert El Nino  in search feature)  


Advances in meteorology and allied disciplines have increased the precision and reliability of short-term weather forecasts. Only recently has it been possible to predict global weather patterns on a seasonal or annual basis. Remote sensing by weather satellite and the deployment of remotely-operated buoys and weather stations reporting oceanic and atmospheric data have created new opportunities to study weather patterns. Advances in computerized processing of large databases and the development of models with increasing complexity and refinement can correlate predictions with actual climatic events. The purpose of predicting major changes in rainfall pattern and temperature are evident.  These include selection of appropriate crops, provision for enhanced storage and handling of products. Contingency plans for disease outbreaks and disruption of infrastructure can be completed in advance of severe changes in weather patterns in order to reduce their impact.

The severe El Nino event extending through 1997 and 1998 illustrates the global effect of profound weather changes and the various responses that were applied at the international, regional and local levels.  Evidence that a new ENSO event is developing suggests the need to understand the causes, development and consequences of an alteration in weather patterns affecting the Americas, Africa, Australia and parts of Europe.


Response to SE in Chick Deliveries


EGG-CITE recently posted an editorial relating to the need to rapidly confirm the status of a flock when a suspicious or positive SE reaction is obtained on chick box papers sampled at the time of delivery. In the case concerned, the hatchery involved subsequently identified SE in a breeder flock which was responsible for vertical transmission to chicks delivered over a three-week period to a number of clients.


Mercy for Animals Intrusion Video Posted


Mercy for Animals, known for its ability to infiltrate production facilities and then disseminate graphic visual material alleging cruelty, has posted a video purporting to show inappropriate handling of turkey poults at a hatchery in North Carolina.  The video demonstrates operation of an infra-red robotic processing machine responsible for beak and toe trimming and vaccination.  It is known that occasionally “hang up” of a poult can occur and the video as posted may reflect such an occurrence or may in fact have been staged. 

The company also macerates weak and culled poults following industry practice as endorsed by the AVMA.  This is contrary to the practice in the broiler industry, where culled and wet “floor chicks” are subjected to euthanasia using carbon dioxide prior to maceration. This procedure was apparently not in operation in the poult hatchery and should be adopted.


Planning for Succession


In an industry dominated by family-owned and operated companies producing eggs, the advice of Dr. Damian McLoughlin on management succession should be of interest.  McLoughlin is the Dean of the University College of Dublin, Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. He has served as a visiting professor at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and is a leading consultant, author and contributor to peer-reviewed journals in the field of management.

In a presentation at the Business and Technology session at the 2014 Alltech International Symposium held mid-May in Lexington KY, McLoughlin noted that a CEO in a public company spends six years in the position.  In contrast, family-owned companies retain their CEOs for twenty years.  Although the average age of retirement for a CEO at a family-owned concern is 62, at least a third of the “retirees” play a role in all major decisions.  Only 20 percent of second generation management feel that their parents “view them as ready” despite training and experience.


Controversy over NOSB


On September 13, 2013, Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program issued a memorandum to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) informing the group of a change in policy relating to authorization of additives to organic diets.

The NOSB is responsible for establishing organic standards and maintaining the National List of Approved Organic Additives and to specify exempted compounds and to revise procedures for organic production.


Summary of North Carolina Poultry Disposal Regulations



The following guideline for disposal of dead poultry was issued by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The document is reproduced for the benefit of subscribers. It is emphasized that the comprehensive guideline relates to North Carolina only. Producers must comply with all relevant Federal, state and county regulations and follow the directives of duly authorized officials.

Disposal of poultry carcasses in North Carolina is under the jurisdiction of the State Veterinarian.  The State Veterinarian approves all methods which may be used for disposal, and in addition directs disposal in times of disease outbreak or natural disaster which may result in mortality levels too high for normal disposal methods.  The authority for this jurisdiction lies in General Statutes 106-403 (Appendix A), 106-549.70 (Appendix B) and the NC Administrative Code 02 NCAC 52C (Appendix C). Failure to comply with NC General Statutes or Administrative Code in the disposal of dead animals may result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation.


American Humane President Comments on Welfare in Livestock Production


In a recent opinion article in the National Provisoner Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association (AHA) commented on the need for an ethical and reliable third-party auditing system to provide consumers with a sense of security concerning the livestock products they purchase. The article as circulated by the AHA is reproduced for the information of readers of CHICK-CITE. 

There was a time in our culture when many consumers were more connected to food and agriculture. Citizens knew a farmer or grew up near a farm, milk was delivered directly to people’s doorsteps, and consumers regularly visited their neighborhood butcher.

Yet business consolidation, innovation and technology dramatically changed this way of life, seemingly right before our eyes.

Similarly, animal welfare in food production is no longer just about farmers and ranchers and the way they treat their animals. It is now part of a comprehensive food system that includes consumers, retailers and restaurants, government and regulatory agencies, NGOs, auditors and certifiers, and educators. Our food system is predicated on a model of safety and affordability while aspiring to a balance that is moral and defensible.


Transitioning From Antibiotics in Broiler Production


Dr. Alex Kiers


Dr. Alexis Kiers, Poultry Health Consultant, Washington DC

The recent antibiotic workshop during the 2014 IPPE during late January stressed the imminence in replacing antibiotics used for growth promotion with alternative feed additives by 2016.

Entering in resonance with this upcoming ban Chick-fil-A, the nation's largest chicken chain in annual sales, announced last week that the company plans to only sell chicken raised without antibiotics at all of its stores within five years. Familiar names such as Panera, Chipotle and Jason's Deli have already gone in this antibiotic-free direction; however the Chick-fil-A decision demonstrates that the corporate trend towards cleaner food seems to be catching fire.

The great majority of the antibiotics fed today to broilers are for controlling gut health by limiting enteritis conditions and for promoting growth by decreasing postprandial (low-grade) inflammation response. Gut health plays a vital role in broiler production. Only a healthy gut can digest and absorb the maximal amount of nutrients to obtain the most out of the diet.

If the digestive system is compromised, its requirements for energy and protein increase sharply. This can severely diminish the nutrients available to the bird for growth and thus slow weight gain, leaving a plunge in feed efficiency. In addition, most intestinal challenges will lead to reduced feed intake that can further impact bird performance.





It is generally accepted that in the context of modern commercial egg production it is necessary to apply some form of beak treatment to prevent cannibalism and feather picking which are manifestations of aggression.  Due to welfare considerations, regulatory authorities in many countries in Europe are intent on banning beak treatment which they consider an “amputation” or “mutilation”. This action may in many situations paradoxically result in a lower standard of flock welfare as the results of beak-induced injuries will be intensified.

In Germany, Paragraph 6 of the Animal Protection Code bans beak trimming although exceptions can be allowed, subject to approval by state veterinary authorities.  Shortening of the beak will be allowed for the next four years but the procedure must be performed before the 10th day after hatch.

The Nordic nations and Switzerland completely forbid any beak treatment.  The Netherlands has announced a ban which will take effect in 2018.  In the UK, cessation of beak trimming is scheduled to commence in 2015. The RSPCA which is the leading arbiter of welfare in Great Britain allows commercial layer hatcheries to apply the Infrared Beak Treatment system for pullets destined for production under the Freedom Food Program.


Interview with Wayne Pacelle president of the HSUS


Paul Markow for HSUS


Recently EGG-CITE approached Wayne Pacelle, president of the HSUS to discuss aspects of the relationship between his Organization and the U.S. egg production industry. Wayne graciously assented and replied in writing to questions posed to him. EGG-CITE is presenting the dialogue in its entirety for the benefit of Subscribers and readers. The HSUS is regarded by many as an implacable foe of intensive livestock production.

The interview provides depth and perspective and irrespective of one’s standpoint on welfare the views of the person leading the nation’s most influential organization are certainly relevant to our industry. EGG-CITE is neutral and neither endorses nor opposes the sentiments presented. Contrary or supporting views are welcomed as these will add to the ongoing debate.



Tyson Foods Fined By OSHA-Implications for Egg Producers


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has levied a fine of $122,000 on Tyson Foods Inc. for violations at a plant in Buffalo NY.  The case arises from an inspection carried out by the Agency as a component of their Site-Specific Targeting Program.

Defects noted during the inspection conducted in May comprised:-

  • Failure to guard skylights and roof hatch-ways
  • Failure to provide safety-related work practices to prevent electric shock and also burns from arc welding
  • Failure to provide workers with protective gear


Interview with Bill Snow, Big Dutchman Cage-Free Specialist


EGG-CITE recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bill Snow, Cage-Free/Alternative Housing Specialist with Big Dutchman USA, to discuss current equipment and trends in alternative housing. 

Bill graduated with a Baccalaureate degree in business from Indiana Wesleyan College in 2005 and shortly thereafter joined Big Dutchman.  Since 2007 he has been assigned responsibility for coordinating aspects of field service and applied development of alternatives to confined housing, based on the experience gained by the company in Europe and the U.S.


Bill Snow


Proposed FDA Rule to Establish Good Manufacturing Practices and HACCP for Feed Mills



The FDA has issued a proposed rule to impose Good Manufacturing Practices based on hazard analyses and risk-based preventive controls for feed supplied to livestock and companion species.  The proposed rule is based on the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law on January 4th 2011. 

Previously EGG-CITE has listed scenarios under which egg producers would be subject to the FSMA.  Generally in-line units supplied by an on-site or Company-owned feed mixing plant dedicated to the complex would be exempt from the FSMA proposed rules. 

It is however the opinion of this commentator that all feed plants, despite their legally-exempt status, should operate in consistency with the intent of the proposed rule.


ISA Is Breeding For 500 Eggs



Sponsored Article

The ISA Layer Breeding Company, part of the multi-species Hendrix Genetics Company, has recently announced that it is developing strains that will lay 500 first quality eggs per hen housed in one cycle.

ISA (Institut de Selection Animale), with headquarters in the Netherlands, was founded in 2005 after the merger of ISA of France and Hendrix Poultry Breeders of Holland. Today ISA manages large North American and European -based layer gene pools consisting of ISA, Babcock, Shaver, Hisex, Bovans and Dekalb genetics.

At the time of the merger in 2005, ISA had been evaluating pure-line performance to 80 weeks of age for several years, and Hendrix Poultry Breeders in the Netherlands had operated a parallel program for over a decade. After the merger, the testing duration was extended to 100 weeks of age. As George Ansah, Senior Geneticist at ISA, comments: “The extended production cycle adopted in our tests is the real key to realize our mission to breed layers capable of laying 500 first quality eggs, because what we have learned from past observations is that birds that produce the best eggs at 60 weeks are definitely not always the birds that also produce the best eggs at an older age”.


AEB Presents Results on Further-Processing Survey



The American Egg Board has recently released the results of a national survey conducted to quantify the use of further processed eggs in food service and food manufacturing. In the Webinar presentation by John Howeth, Vice President of Ingredient and Commercial Marketing for the American Egg Board, it was evident that efforts to promote eggs to the major restaurant chains will be the most beneficial in terms of increasing demand.

The research project involved determining trends in five formats (liquid, dry, frozen, pre-cooked and hard cooked) and their respective distribution channels (food processing, industrial, food service, export). 


IB Variant Reviewed at the 2013 USPoultry Seminar



Each year the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association organizes a seminar on production and health.  Traditionally the program emphasizes the broiler segment of the poultry industry but in the most recent program there were a number of presentations that have either indirect or derived application to egg production.


Recent Research on Shell Strength



A nutritional study conducted by Dr. Sally Solomon from the Institute of Biodiversity, Glasgow, United Kingdom, published in British Poultry Science* indicates the effect of bioplexed micro- mineral supplementation on shell strength through the production cycle.

The experimental design included a control diet, supplementation with sodium selenate a bioplexed selenium supplement (Sel-plex®) (Alltech) and a combination of Sel-plex® and Bioplex® a combination of mineral proteinates. 

Bioplex® supplied iron and copper at a level of 5 ppm and manganese and zinc at 20 ppm in diets. Selenium was supplemented in the form of either selenate or the commercial Sel-plex® additive at 0.3% in diets to provide 3 ppm selenium.


New SNP Chip Developed for ISA Will Accelerate the Selection Program



A new SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) detection chip, developed by Hendrix Genetics Research and Technology Centre, will enable ISA to respond more quickly to demands from the Industry and to make their genetic selection procedures both faster and more efficient.

Accelerating Selection

Earlier this year Hendrix Genetics introduced a new Medium Density Chip with 60,000 SNP markers to replace the previous version. The latest SNP Chip was custom made for ISA and will be proprietary to the Company. The main advantage of this chip is that it is more suited to the specific genetic make-up of ISA chickens.

All chickens in the ISA genomic selection program will now be genotyped using this new chip, which will significantly improve the depth and precision in understanding the chicken genome. The new chip is considerably more sensitive in identifying genetic variations within a flock. This will facilitate selection of birds that express the specific traits required by the egg industry. The new technology goes beyond conventional production traits including egg numbers, egg size, feed conversion ratio and daily gain.

ISA can now select for issues such as flock interaction and behavior, skeletal integrity and locomotory function, keel bone strength and susceptibility to specific diseases among other traits. The new chip can be compared to an update of a satellite navigation system. New points of interest have been added, which increases the available amount of genomic information. Geneticists will be able to assess a greater quantity of data and to obtain more accurate information required to select the next generation of world-class hens.


Hy-Line International Invests in Expansion Program



Hy-Line International is undertaking a 4-year expansion project comprising research farms and a new hatchery. The initial phases that were completed within the past two years included a complete remodel and upgrade of the Dr. James Arthur Research and Development Farm and construction of a hatchery dedicated exclusively to pedigree and grandparent stock.

A new research layer farm, currently under construction, will use the latest environmental control technologies including full panel walls as well as superior ventilation and filtration systems that have proven very successful at the new pullet farm. The additional research farm will complement the Genomic Selection Program, improving the accuracy in the selection process.


New Faces at the UEP


The UEP has appointed two experienced professionals to improve service to members. EGG-CITE takes this opportunity to introduce them to Subscribers.


David Inall now serves as a Senior Vice President replacing Chad Gregory who has advanced to President on the retirement of Gene. David recently provided an interview in which he discusses his background and aspirations.

EGG-CITE: Welcome to the U.S. egg industry David.  Please provide a brief overview of your experience.

David Inall: I am pleased to be in the U.S. and to be affiliated with a fine organization of producers. In my immediate past career I was involved in the livestock industry in Australia. This led to extensive experience in Asian countries including Indonesia, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.  For the past eight years I was the CEO of the Cattle Council of Australia and was deeply involved in lobbying, as an industry spokesperson in the media, trade and market access issues.



Capitalizing on the Core of a Business



Dr. Damien McLoughlin, a Professor at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School, University College, Dublin, reviewed strategy for companies with special reference to identifying and capitalizing on the core of a business.  This approach is necessary with respect to expansion, acquisition and even survival in a competitive environment.  McLoughlin cited Wang and Kodak as companies which failed to grow and ultimately died since they did not recognize and develop their core competencies. 

It is an unfortunate reality that 90% of growth plans fail due to failure to reconcile intended action with the realities of the business environment. McLoughlin attributed failure to the fact that management fails to recognize and exploit the core of their business.

In developing plans, management were advised to consider:-

  • Recognition of the core competency of a company
  • Clear understanding among upper level of management as to the nature of the core and mission of the company
  • To relate the core activities of the company to the needs of customers. This allows the company to grow through adjacencies, concentrating on activities and ventures which reflect the core and draw on resources and capabilities in place.


Reducing the Danger of Intrusions



Elliot Belilos an attorney with Olsson, Frank, Weeda, Terman and Matz in Washington DC recently reviewed employment screening and hiring practices which might exclude the possibility of an intrusion by an employee of an animal rights or activist group.

He strongly recommended that egg production companies should consult with their legal representatives to ensure that application forms include a certification of accuracy and consent to background checks. 

Naturally, applicants must sign releases agreeing to appropriate verification and scrutiny.


2013 Egg Industry Center Issues Forum


The Egg Industry Center (EIC) arranged the 5th Annual Egg Industry Issues Forum to review current concerns and opportunities for the egg production industry in St. Louis during the period April 16th-17th.

Selected presentations are summarized for the benefit of Subscribers and readers of EGG-CITE. Some Power Point slide sets will be available under the “Presentations” tab:-



FDA Update


Ms. Nicole Clausen of the FDA provided an update on progress in implementing the Egg Safety Rule at the 2013 Egg Industry Forum held in Saint Louis April 16th-17th.

During the period January through September 31st 2013, the FDA carried out 64 new inspections and 31 follow-up inspections.  The latter were motivated by Voluntary Action or Required Action letters.  Of the 187 drag samples collected during inspections, seven yielded SE.

During the nine-month period, 48 No Action inspections were recorded. There were 35 Voluntary Action and 18 Required Action inspections.  There were 36 FDA Form 483s issued and 17 warning letters.  There were neither injunctions nor seizures during the period under review.



Pew Report Faults Government Response to Salmonella Outbreak


In a press release dated April 2nd 2013, the Pew Charitable Trust released a report entitled “Too Slow: An Analysis of the 2011 Salmonella Ground Turkey Outbreak and Recommendations for Improving Detection and Response.  The outbreak involved 130 patients and was associated with 37 hospitalizations and one fatality.


The report faults the federal agencies involved in investigating and controlling food-borne outbreaks for their tardiness in identifying the source of infection and taking appropriate action.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service apparently took 22 weeks following the first reported case to identify the contaminated food vehicle.  On August 3rd 2011, Cargill began a recall which ultimately extended to 36 million pounds of ground turkey, much of which had in fact been consumed.


Industry Verdict on Fresh and Easy


EGG-CITE has chronicled the introduction and subsequent financial debacle created by TESCO following entry into the U.S. market with the Fresh and Easy chain.  The most recent commentary in EGG-CITE dated February 11th documented the unfavorable performance of the U.S. subsidiary and noted the Corporate decision to dispose of their liability in the U.S. on December 10th 2012.


Forecast for the 2013 Corn Crop


Uncertainty exists as to weather conditions which will determine size of the 2013 corn crop.  At the recent USDA Annual Outlook Conference, Dr. Brad Rippey an agricultural meteorologist claimed that the 2012 drought was a “once in a lifetime occurrence”. If in fact global warming is a reality, the events of 2012 may well reoccur before 2099.  We have had far too many “once in a century” floods, tornados and hurricanes during the past decade.  Commenting on future rainfall based on past patterns might well be analogous to determining the performance of the stock market based on previous trends.  Sometimes a correlation with past patterns may be accepted if there is some definable basis such as transition from an El Nino to a La Nina. These events clearly follow cyclic patterns which can be used to predict rainfall in broad areas of both hemispheres.




The AEB has posted a guide to decorating hard-cooked eggs for Easter. Ashley Richardson incorporated the suggestions of Sabrina Soto of HGTV, a design specialist for applying colors and patterns to shells which are reproduced below:-  

Perfect Polka: Use the eraser end of a pencil to paint perfect polka dots on the egg. Just dip the eraser into acrylic craft paint and dab onto the egg. Make different patterns and use different colors to create perfect designs.

Tattoo Decor: Kids always have those temporary tattoos lying around their rooms! Why not make egg decorating simple? Apply those same tattoos to eggs for a professional and easy look that kids will love.

Ribbon Wrap: Tie a beautiful ribbon around a dyed egg. Mix colors and patterns for fun visual interest. Adorn with craft or fabric flowers, even buttons. For a more rustic look, use natural fibers such as hemp or twine with dried flowers in place of the ribbons.





OmEGGa® - A new stabilized source of omega-3 fatty acids for poultry diets


By: Anthony Quant, Ph.D., Paul M. Kalmbach, M.S.


In today’s health conscious society, there is an increasing demand for eggs fortified with omega-3 fatty acids. This is due to the fact that omega-3 fatty acids, notably 18:3n3, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and 22:6n3 docosohexanoic acid (DHA), have been suggested as being beneficial in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in humans. Traditionally, fortifying eggs with omega-3 fatty acids has been accomplished by feeding hens whole flax seed. A proportion of the omega-3 oils in flax seed are converted to DHA and deposited in the egg yolk by the hen. With current high ingredient prices, there is increasing demand for high-value feed ingredients for the egg industry, especially for the production of value-added omega-3 enriched eggs. OmEGGa® is a cost-effective source of omega-3 fatty acids for laying hens.


Effect of SE Dose on Egg Transfer


Dr. Richard Gast of the Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit USDA-ARS Russell Research Institute in Athens Georgia recently published on the infectivity of SE under experimental conditions*. A slide presentation with commentary on this topic was posted on EGG-CITE on October 29th 2012 under the “Presentations” tab.

A number of publications contributing to our understanding of the epidemiology of SE are based on previous papers authored by Dr. Gast and his research team.  A significant question raised relates to the oral dose in relation to vertical transmission.  Previously high doses, in the region of 107 to 108 were administered to hens to study infectivity.


Interview with Joanne Ivy


Joanne Ivy serves as president and CEO of the American Egg Board (AEB).  She succeeded to the position in 2007 replacing Louis Raffel.  Joanne has been affiliated with the AEB for 25 years during which she has assumed positions of increasing responsibility.

In 2005 Joanne was awarded the International Egg Commission (IEC) Douglas Wellstead Memorial Trophy as the International Egg Person of the Year.  This was in recognition of her considerable contributions to the promotion of eggs both in the U.S. and other member countries. In September 2010 she assumed the Chair of the IEC.

Achievements during her tenure as President & CEO at the AEB have included establishing and promoting World Egg Day, initiating research to confirm that eggs are lower in cholesterol and higher in vitamin D, increasing egg servings at Quick Service Restaurants, stabilizing the decline in consumer demand, implementing an egg farmer image campaign, and re-launching the “Incredible Edible Egg” jingle first released in 1977.  

In 2009, the Egg Nutrition Center moved from DC to be housed with AEB, which provided for a more strategic, integrated marketing approach with a major financial commitment to expanded nutrition research. Her philanthropic activities include overseeing AEB’s relief efforts for the Southeast Asia Tsunami and Haiti earthquake victims and leadership roles in coordinating hunger relief in various U.S. cities such as Joplin and areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.


Joanne Ivy, President and CEO of the AEB participates in feeding First Responders during the aftermath of hurricane Sandy


The 7-Eleven Chain Goes “Natural”


Leading convenience-store chain, 7-Eleven is gradually introducing fresh foods and reducing portion sizes in its servings.  The corporate plan is to extend the range of ‘healthy foods’ to generate 20% of sales by the middle of this decade.

According to recent items in trade periodicals and a New York Times article published on December 24th the chain is constantly searching for new product lines which offer acceptable margins.  Inherent to this approach is the fact that sales of cigarettes, previous a 7-Eleven staple, have declined. Revenue from the new range will supplement sales from sodas, beer, candy and traditional snacks.


Poultry Health Survey


Dr. Eric Gingerich presented the results of a survey covering members of the Association of Veterinarians in Egg Production at the meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association meeting on October 22nd 2012. Members of the AVEP were asked to rate the prevalence of common diseases of pullets and hens held in either caged or non-confined systems.

Among caged pullets, yolk infections and “starve-outs” were regarded as the most significant conditions recorded. This reflects adversely on the quality of pullets delivered to farms. Among caged-pullets, Marek’s disease and E. coli were ranked 3rd and 4th respectively. In non-confined pullets, coccidiosis and Marek’s were the 3rd and 4th highest ranked conditions of significance.  Mid- ranked conditions included infectious bronchitis, ILT and Ms.  It was significant that Mg was not regarded as a common infection responsible for losses.


Preserving the Potency of Vitamins


Dr. Nelson E. Ward of DSM Nutritional Products Inc., a leading manufacturer of vitamins has prepared a literature review of methods to preserve potency. Intended for broiler producers the principal objective was to consider protecting the activity of vitamins in pelleted feeds.  Although diets for commercial egg producing flocks are fed in mash form, stability may emerge as a problem following prolonged storage or exposure to high temperature.

Vitamins which are predisposed to oxidation include Vitamin A, Vitamin E (especially in the alcohol form) and Vitamin K all of which are fat soluble.  Some B-Group vitamins including thiamin and folic acid are degraded when subject to the Maillard reaction at high temperature.


New Role for Old Houses


Faced with the inevitability of having to convert 15 to 20-year old high-rise units to more welfare-friendly housing, Jacques Klempf of Dixie Egg Company opted to convert these units at his Humpty Dumpty farm to non-confined systems. The four houses selected for conversion were conventional 600 ft x 50 ft high-rise houses each holding 72,000 hens fitted with four-tier A-frame cages.

Alternatives considered included installing enrichable cages with the option of later converting to an enriched configuration or to opt for a non-confined system.  Based on the demand for cage-free and especially organic in the market served by the Dixie, Klempf and his team devised a two-level design which could be used to house either organic or cage-free production.


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RONOZYME ProAct value in the current layer markets


Current market trends in US corn and soybean meal prices are pushing future prices to record highs. In the case of soybean meal prices, it has been influenced by the dry-weather, which is projected to reduce soybean yield potential to below expected levels.  Additionally, corn crops have also suffered from the adverse weather and production yields will not be reaching their potential. Broiler integrators must consider innovative alternatives to counter rapidly rising feed costs. RONOZYME ProAct is a protease that improves the digestibility of proteins and reduces feed costs.


Recent Study Details Impact of the RFS 


According to the National Chicken Council, Washington Report of July 20th Dr. Thomas Elam, President of Farm Econ LLC., has recently completed a study on the economic impact of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).  The study was funded by the National Chicken Council, the American Meat Institute, California Dairy Inc., the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation.


Interview with John Starkey President, USPOULTRY


John Starkey has led the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPOULTRY) since December 2007. He is an engineer by profession with a Baccalaureate degree in chemical engineering from Purdue and a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Tech. He has worked with a number of major producers including Gold Kist and Hudson Foods. He was appointed as VP of Environmental Programs for USPOULTRY in 2000 and promoted to his present position on the retirement of Don Dalton. Recently EGG-CITE had the opportunity to review current issues with John.

EGG-CITE: Please indicate some of the challenges and achievements during your tenure as President of USPOULTRY.

John Starkey: One of the most important achievements has been balancing the budget of USPOULTRY especially after the onset of the recession in 2008.  Fortunately we have been able to establish a firm sustainable footing for the Association with a balanced budget for the last two years.  The second achievement has been the co-location of the International Poultry Exposition, the American Meat Industry Trade Show and the International Feed Exposition.  This combination will form the International Production Processing Expo (IPPE) in 2013.


John Starkey



Opposition to Antibiotics Intensifies.


Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY.) an implacable opponent of antibiotics in food production, has released findings from a survey regarding antibiotics used in the production of food from flocks and herds.  The questionnaire was sent to 60 QSRs and FMI members requesting details of their policies on antibiotics. In commenting on the survey, Slaughter stated   “the food industry has provided us with valuable information and with that knowledge we must act”. From the sentiments expressed by the worthy Congresswomen it is presumed that the answers to the questionnaire were predictable and represented an oversimplification of what is otherwise an extremely complex situation.

The survey demonstrated acceptance by the food industry of preventive and therapeutic administration of antibiotics which are administered in consistency with FDA approvals. To obtain a license, applicants must supply extensive data demonstrating effectiveness, safety and freedom from residues.  The question of drug resistance is now emerging and has added a new dimension to the issue.


Importance of Clealiness in Feed Mills


Gertrudes Corção PhD
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul

The following presentation was delivered at the 2012 Alltech Symposium and is reproduced with edits for readers of

“Farm-to-Fork” traceability in food production requires that animal feeds should be produced using high standards of hygiene.  Preventing microbial contamination of diets in feed mills is essential to prevent pathogens and toxins from entering the human food chain.

The feed industry operates in a dry production environment which should limit microbial growth.  A nidus of infection with bacteria or fungi may develop in areas of a mill due to moisture from condensation, structural defects or residual water after wet cleaning.  Bacteria may form biofilms in these locations which allow persistence of microorganisms in biofilms which are refractory to disinfection.  Neglect of cleaning and disinfection may lead to the accumulation of organic material including dust and feed residues.  The efficiency of many disinfectants is reduced in the presence of organic material. 


Review of Current Disease Literature


The March 2012 edition of Avian Diseases has a number of articles of interest to egg producers.  Interpretive reviews with comments are provided for information:-

Lapuz, R.R.S. et al Comparison of the prevalence of Salmonella infections in layer hens from commercial layer farms with high and low rodent densities Avian Diseases 56: 29-34 (2012)

A study was conducted in Japan to determine the possible correlation between the prevalence of Salmonella infection in egg-producing flocks and the intensity of rodent infestation.  Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) was isolated from 7.1% of 380 laying hens sampled from seven farms.  All Salmonella isolates were obtained from three of the farms with high rodent density as determined by both nocturnal and diurnal observation and trapping.  In contrast no Salmonella (including SE) were isolated from four farms with either low or no rodent activity.  Among the 5.2% of hens which yielded Salmonella, 55% yielded the organism from the liver, 40% from the spleen, 5% from the intestine, 10% from the ovary and 55% from the oviduct.  It is significant that it was possible to isolate SE from 10% of the hens by sampling the cloaca which had double the rate associated with the intestine.  The same PFGE serotypes isolated from hens were also isolated from roof rats (Rattus rattus). The authors suggested that environmental contamination with SE within layer houses may be amplified and perpetuated by the rodent population.  Simply replacing flocks with pullets shown to be free of SE with inter-flock decontamination would not necessarily prevent infection of subsequent placements.  This field evaluation supports the recommendations concerning rodent suppression which are an essential component of the FDA Final Rule.


The Brazilian perspective on real nutrient requirements.


Horacio Santiago Rostagno PhD
Universidade Federal de Viçosa

The summary below highlights the presentation by Prof. H. Rostagno delivered at the 2012 Alltech Symposium.

A series of research studies was conducted to update and improve on the Brazilian Tables for feed composition and nutritional requirements for poultry.  In the new 3rd edition of the Brazilian Tables* requirements for the most important nutrients are tabulated as daily amounts to optimize performance.  A factorial method was applied when possible, following the model: Nutrient requirement (g/day) = g for maintenance + g for production.


Programmed to Succeed — Increased Efficiency and Improved Product Quality


Peter Ferket Ph.D, Professor, North Carolina State University

Genetic selection is continually changing the production potential for the poultry industry. Expression of genetic potential is the prime driver of performance and profitability.   Early-life programming can turn on “thrifty” genes that permanently reprogram normal physiologic responses. These contribute to survival following exposure to environmental stressors, including moderate nutrient deficiency.  This increases the probability that genes are passed on to the next generation.  Poultry can be programmed to express desired phenotypic traits by modifying nutrition during the perinatal period, extending from 4 days before and after hatch. 

View the slide presentation at


Konos Achieves Success from Enriched Colony Modules



Konos Inc. was established in the mid-1940s by Howard and Alida Vande Bunte in the town of Martin located in the Southwest corner of Michigan near Kalamazoo.  Paul and Tim, sons of the founders, who respectively serve as president and vice president of the Company represent the second generation of ownership.  They were recently joined by Rob Knecht grandson of the founders and nephew of Tim and Paul.

The name Konos is derived from the biblical Greek Diakonos which means to serve with a willing spirit. The philosophy of the Vande Bunte Family has been to always operate according to the most ethical principles to provide consumers with a safe quality product and to interact and contribute to the community in which they are located.


Interview with Chad Gregory


Chad Gregory now serves as the Senior Vice President of United Egg Producers, our industry organization representing over 90% of the Nation’s production.  Chad grew up in the egg business as his father Gene, the current President and CEO of the UEP who has been involved with U.S. egg production for over 50 years. 

Chad earned a baccalaureate degree with a double major in management and marketing from Southern Illinois University. He has been affiliated with the UEP for over 14 years and when he was the Director of Membership he visited farms and plants operated by virtually all members of the UEP.  Most recently he served as the UEP representative in discussions with the HSUS which led to the agreement which will hopefully be codified in H.R. 3798, the Egg Products Amendments Act of 2012.


Salmonella Detection Reviewed at the WPDC


Two complementary papers presented at the 2012 Western Poultry Disease Conference (WPDC) reviewed the advantages and applications of lateral flow immunoassay test kits in relation to compliance assays mandated in terms of the FDA Final Rule on Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE)

Dr. M. Muldoon of SDIX, Newark, DE, provided data on the sensitivity and specificity of the SDIX RapidChek® SELECT ™ Detection System.  This kit approved by NPIP, FDA and the AOAC incorporates a 2-stage enrichment applying bacteriophages in a medium requiring 48 hours, followed by detection in a 10-minute assay. 


In a Kernel: Highlights From the WPDC


The 2012 Western Poultry Disease Conference, held this year in Phoenix AZ. included some important presentations of interest to egg producers. Highlights are posted today but more detailed interpretive reviews will appear in in succeeding issues.


"Nuggets" from the ACPV Symposium on Food Safety


The 2012 Symposium on Food Safety Challenges in the Poultry Industry organized by the American College of Poultry Veterinarians was held on April 1st in Scottsdale AZ. The topic was selected by the Program Committee based on the intensity of regulatory activity affecting poultry meat production by FSIS action and in the case of egg production, by the FDA.

A number of speakers representing industry and academia considered aspects of research and practical control measures to improve compliance with federal regulations, to control diseases of public health significance and to reduce the financial impact of recalls and legal action following episodes of foodborne infection.


Update on Range vs. Conventional Cage, vs. Cage-free Egg Production:
The Comparison and Contrast


Dr. Kenneth Anderson of the Department of Poultry Science North Carolina State University presented data on a random sample test which compared the performance of two commercially available brown feathered hens with a Barred Plymouth Rock, heritage breed.  The commercial brown feathered strains were reared either on range, as cage-free or in cages to ensure that the rearing system was compatible with the laying system with respect to subsequent performance. 


Who Are The "Humane Farming Association"


The Humane Farming Association (HFA) has come to prominence opposing the recent HSUS/UEP Agreement and H.B.3798 which they refer to as the “Rotten Egg Bill”.  The HFA is actively campaigning and encouraging its members to sign petitions against the proposed legislation. They apparently ignore the obvious advantages which are intended to improve management and welfare of flocks and provide stability for the industry as a secure supply of a nutritious product to consumers.  The objectives of the HFA are furthered by Dr. Nedim C. Buyukmihci, an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis who states “the cage as defined by the legislation will in no meaningful way reduce the unimaginable suffering endured by the hens”.  


Interview with Kathi Brock


Kathi Brock has guided the Welfare Certification Program of the American Humane Association (AHA) since the original program was developed in 2000.

Recently had the opportunity to discuss the AHA program with Kathi (KB).

EGG-CITE: Please tell us a little of the history and objectives of the AHA.

KB: The American Humane Association was established in 1877 and has been a leader in every major advancement in protecting children and animals from abuse and neglect.  Our mission statement is “To create a more humane and compassionate world by ending abuse and neglect of children and animals”. 

Our programs directed to animals include shelter services, farm animal welfare, the “No Animals were Harmed® Program and the Second Chance® Fund.  Our professional resources include animal behavior and training, humane education.

The AHA circulates various publications including The Link.  We provide resources for shelter professionals and emergency management and response and we have an extensive program of grants for research and evaluation of welfare systems and training.  We are constant advocates for children and animals and our legislative involvement includes providing our Administration and Congress with information to further our objectives. 

We partner with a number of prominent companies and organizations including MetLife, Maddie’s, Proctor and Gamble, the Petco Foundation and U.S. Bank.  Some of our celebrity supporters include Betty White, Chef Fabio Vivani, Dr. Debbye Turner-Bell, Martha Stewart, Dr. Temple Grandin and Whoopi Goldberg.


Alltech 2012 Lecture Tour Visits Raleigh


The 2012 Alltech Lecture Tour will visit 110 locations in 67 nations. It is expected that over 5,000 attendees will hear presentations by teams of Alltech scientists.

The purpose of the lecture tours is to acquaint faculty and students at universities, managers of production operations, regulators, scientists and poultry health professionals with advances in biotechnology and to detail innovations by Alltech.

The program arranged for the North Carolina Triangle took place at the prestigious Umstead Hotel near Raleigh on Friday 3rd January.

Dr. Paulo Rigolin discussed opportunities in agriculture, a topic of especial interest to the graduate students at North Carolina State University.  The challenges facing production in the proximal decade will be to make agriculture exciting, profitable and sustainable.  An immediate challenge facing the livestock industry is how best to use 53 million tons of DDGS which will be available in 2012.  Projects to add five incremental eggs over the productive life of a laying hen and parallel initiatives in broiler breeders, hogs and dairy were reviewed.  These advances will be achieved through application of nutreogenomics, pioneered by Alltech.  Studies conducted by the Company in collaboration with leading Land Grant universities have led to the principle of Programmed Feeding which has the potential to enhance the quality of beef, broiler meat and eggs.


Apects of Global Competiveness Seminar


As part of the Global Competiveness Symposium organized by USPOULTRY at the 2012 IPE Dr. Ferry Leenstra and colleagues of the Wageningen Livestock Research Center in Holland presented data on consumer surveys conducted in Western Europe.

With respect to table eggs the following was determined for consumers in Western Europe:-

  • Eggs are purchased when there are only a few left in the fridge
  • Egg consumption is generally independent of price
  • If a choice is available at point of sale the majority of consumers purchase the cheapest available
  • The major purchase determinant of brand or type  is availability on the shelf.


European Perspective on Welfare


Chapter Four entitled Animal Welfare, An Issue Changing Local Egg Business is incorporated in a market report prepared by Agrivalue S.A. for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of the Dutch Government

The document which was released during the Summer of 2011 reviewed alternative housing systems including enriched modules now mandated in the EU and the German Kleingruppenhaltung (small group housing) and other non-confined systems including barns and pasture.

The directive EU of 1997/74EC banned cages as of January 1st 2012 and allowed only enriched modules and alternatives to be used.  The Kleingruppenhaltung is similar to the enriched cage and comprises a group of approximately 50 hens with greater height and floor area per hen compared to enriched modules.  Sweden and Switzerland do not allow any confined system and Germany recognizes only their version of the enriched cage as an alternative to confinement.


BioChek Salmonella SE/ST Antibody Kit


BioChek, headquartered in the Netherlands, will soon commence U.S. distribution of a chicken Salmonella serum antibody detection kit applying ELISA technology.  Widely used in Europe, this kit, which is highly sensitive, has the ability to measure the level of antibodies against Groups B and D Salmonella following vaccination.  According to Tim Goode VP and General Manager of BioChek Corp. the U.S. subsidiary located in Scarborough ME, the Company has now received final approval from USDA and will commercial release of the test system.  Kits  were imported into the U.S. during 2011 by vaccine manufacturers under special license for research and evaluation and to monitor the response of flocks to specific vaccines under controlled conditions. 

The test will be offered as a technique to establish the antibody response following administration of Salmonella Groups B and D vaccines to monitor geometric mean flock titer and to ascertain uniformity among vaccinates.  A non-vaccinated flock which screens other than completely negative on assay could be regarded as having been exposed to either a group B or D Salmonella, although the ELISA test kit is not intended as a diagnostic procedure to establish freedom from SE or exposure.  Drag swabs and egg pool assays have been mandated by FDA to determine the SE status of flocks and their environments.


Reassessment of Biotin Requirement



Dr. Nelson E. Ward of DSM Nutritional Products Inc. has recently reviewed biotin requirements for broilers with specific emphasis on integrity of skin and the quality of broiler feet. This has stimulated a consideration of the role and benefits of biotin supplementation in the egg production industry.

Biotin has been recognized as an essential nutrient since 1940 although there was evidence of a nutritional requirement for an unidentified factor from the mid 1920’s onwards.  In 1940 “Vitamin H” which had been described as a factor essential for the development of skin and a second compound “Coenzyme R” involved in plant metabolism, were recognized as a common nutrient. In 1942 the structure of biotin was characterized followed by synthesis of the vitamin in the following year.


Percentage of U.S. Flocks Molted


Don Bel, Poultry Specialist Emeritus of the University California, Riverside has questioned the  accuracy of the October 2011USDA value of 23.3% posted for the number of flocks in the second cycle of production.

According to Bell a typical molt program extends for 70 weeks to 105 weeks at which time the flock is sold.  The 35 week duration of the second cycle represents 41% of the 85 weeks of production from a nominal 21 weeks through 105 weeks.  It is assumed that 60% of flocks are molted and 21.7% of hens are in a second post-molt cycle at any time.

This calculation does not take in to account the non-producing inter-cycle period of approximately 3 weeks.  If molt is initiated at 70 weeks and flocks are depleted at 105 weeks the second production cycle is 33 weeks in duration or 39% of the entire production period extending from 20 week to 105 weeks.  The assumption that 60% of flocks are molted is always speculative and it subject to considerable differences according to region.  The October 2011 value of 24% posted by USDA incorporates a molt value of 42% for the Northwest region but only 7.1% for the Northeast.  Accordingly the assumption that 60% of flocks are molted is generous in the light of current practice as driven by feed cost and the supply-demand relationship. 


SDIX Offers Producers Comprehensive Salmonella Group-D1 Diagnostic Methods



Since the inception of the FDA Final Rule on suppression of SE producers have turned to state and commercial diagnostic laboratories to provide rapid, reproducible results on environmental swabs and egg pool assays.  Conducting tests and interpreting results is generally routine but problems may occur as a result of improper laboratory technique or failure to recognize the high sensitivity (see block for definitions) which is required for a screening test.

The SDIX RapidChek® SELECT ™ Test System provides highly sensitive responses.  In the event of a negative result on drag swabs, the environment of a house can be regarded as free of Group-D1 Salmonella.  In the event of a “presumptive positive test” it is necessary to proceed to conventional microbiology using selective media.  In view of the high level of contamination in enriched samples obtained from environmental swabs, the SDIX RapidChek® CONFIRM™ Immunomagnetic Separation Kit has been developed to expedite diagnosis.


Comprehensive Approach to Evaluating Disease Prevention


Dr. Barbara J. Grabkowsky of Lohmann Animal Health in Germany reviewed disease control in a recent presentation at the 2011 Pennsylvania Poultry Sales and Service Conference. Her observations were based on experience in Europe controlling Salmonella infection.  In response to the demand for advice on suppressing food-borne Salmonellosis, Lohmann Animal Health has embarked on a program of assessing the probabilities of infection occurring on a specific farm.  They have developed a Zoonosis Risk Index (ZRI) in an attempt to develop sanitation and prevention programs.

The approach involves three phases.  The first involves an initial assessment of risks and identifying potential mechanisms for introduction of disease mainly associated with deficiencies in biosecurity.  The second phase involves implementation of measures designed to reduce risk of infection.  The subsequent third phase requires monitoring in the form of audits to evaluate the efficacy of preventive measures.


United Soybean Board Releases Study on Soy Demand


Fluctuation in commodity prices, abnormal weather conditions, increasing demand from Southeast Asia and domestic recession have all created uncertainty for the soybean production segment of agribusiness.  The United Soybean Board has reported on a commissioned study to evaluate factors which will influence future demand for both meal and oil derived from soybeans.

The study is timely in relation to the projected 8% decline in the 2011 harvest compared to 2010.


Financial Impact of the FDA Final Rule on the U.S. Egg Industry


A presentation on the impact of the FDA Final Rule on Prevention of SE was made at the 2011 Pennsylvania Poultry Sales and Service Conference held concurrently with the 83rd Northeastern Conference of Avian Diseases.

The Power Point Presentation: Financial Impact of the FDA Final Rule on the U.S. Egg Industry is available for your viewing, however the main points can be summarized, assuming a 10-house complex of 1,125,000 hens in high rise units:-


Know Your Enemy


Chris Herr recently reviewed organizations opposed to intensive livestock production in an article entitled “Trends in Agricultural Public Perceptions and Groups Working Against Agriculture”.

The HSUS represents the banner organization with a number of achievements which have advanced their cause and raised their standing among donors.  With an annual income estimated at $160 million the organization has successively engineered 25 ballot initiatives and 500 laws at state level. The organization boasts 11 million members with at least 3,000 in every congressional district.  The organization is lead by Wayne Pacelle who is an expert at publicity and lobbying.  He is assisted by Paul Shapiro who is principally involved in advancing the HSUS agenda for livestock at the level of retail chains and quick service restaurants.


Disposal of Mortality


The current heat wave is responsible for elevated mortality in many areas of the U.S. especially in complexes and on farms where evaporative cooling systems are either defective or have not been installed.

Options for disposal of excess mortality include:


Recent Disease Research


A number of items of significance to the U.S. egg production industry were published in the June edition of Avian Diseases (Volume 55 # 2)

Gast, R. K. et al.  The relationship between the numbers of Salmonella Enteritidis, Salmonella Heidelberg or Salmonella Hadar colonizing reproductive tissues of experimentally infected laying hens and disposition inside eggs. Avian Diseases 55 : 243-247, (2011)

Three serovars of Salmonella were evaluated by the USDA-ARS Egg Safety and Quality Research Unit.  Hens were infected orally with large doses of the three organisms and reproductive tissues were examined within a month. 


Alltech Research Presentations at the 2011 PSA Meeting


Scientists at Alltech association with research faculty affiliated with Universities funded by Alltech grants have concluded a series of laboratory experiments to define the beneficial actions of enzyme feed additives and selenomethionine in nutrition of chickens.

Alltech has invested substantially in nutrigenomics and has a program of studies to define the biochemical action of additives at the sub-cellular level.


USDA Dumps the Pyramid


On June 2nd USDA threw in the towel and abandoned the much maligned nutritional recommendation based on the “pyramid”.  The new icon comprises a plate with segments designated for major food groups  The old pyramid when introduced in 2005 was confusing and possibly understood only by its creators. 


An Edible History of Humanity*


There are many ways to look at the past: as a list of important dates, a conveyor belt of kings and queens, a series of rising and falling empires or a narrative of political, philosophical or technological progress.  This talk will look at history in another way entirely: as a series of transformations caused, enabled or influenced by food.


Risk Management in the Supply Chain*


The success of organizations operating in complex environments depends on how well supply chains adapt to disruptions caused by unanticipated events.  Building this resilience requires the capability to identify risks and uncertainties and to model the impact of these forces on operations. 


Communication Along the Feed and Food Production Supply Chain*


With global distribution of animal feed and human food and ingredients, countries are dependent on each other for the safety of their food supplies.  Likewise companies are interdependent, as their brands and reputations are only as secure as the standards adapted by their weakest supplier.  The interdependency along the food chain needs to be recognized by all stakeholders.  They also need to be aware of the ultimate destination of “finished product”. 


Protecting Our Food Supply From Risk*


A chronology of food scares, many linked to ingredients in animal feed, continue to generate consumer anxiety and sensational media coverage.  The food chain has became increasing global in scope with more stages that ever before.  With the increasing number of stages there are more opportunities for errors. The more players there are in the food chain, the more likely one of these may be negligent or worse still a criminal.


The AFIA Sustainability Initiative Adapted to Your Business*


The American Feed Industry Association is in the process of implementing a major initiative that will lead the industry in meeting long-term sustainability for our producers, customers, consumers, feed industry, food industry and the global environment.  To be successful, we will need to effectively respect and meet the needs of each constituency.


Econometrics of Fat Inclusion in Diets for Layers


The price of fat has increased from less than 10 cents to over 50 cents per pound over the past five years.  This increase in price has lead to a re-evaluation of this ingredient in U.S. layer diets incorporating corn-DDGS and soybean meal as the main ingredients.


Game Changers in Intestinal Health


The following presentation at the Alltech 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium has direct application to rearing of pullets especially with floor housing. Recently Runting and Stunting Syndrome has been documented in brown-feathered pullets and may become a problem in the egg production industry.


Robotics from the Grader to the Truck


Recent escalation in the cost of production has forced egg producers to examine all possible areas to reduce expenditure and enhance efficiency.  Robotics offers opportunities in egg packing plants as demonstrated by installations which are yielding an attractive return on investment and acceptable payback periods.  Robots are infinitely superior to mechanical systems for a number of applications in egg handling and packing.


Domino Invest in Shell Etching


The announcement that Domino Printing of the UK has invested $50 million in a new company to etch individual eggs with a plant code and expiry date is eerily reminiscent of the now defunct Egg Fusion endeavor which failed to gain traction in the egg industry during the mid 2000’s. The joint-venture company has received from private equity investment based on technology developed by NewMarket Impressions.


60th Western Poultry Disease Conference


An interpretive review of presentations at the 60th Western Poultry Disease Conference in late March is provided for readers of Egg-Cite.


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