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Trade with China Will Depend on Mutual Understanding through Firm Diplomacy

China is an essential contributor to volume and hence profitability of segments of the U.S. poultry industry.  During the first eight months of 2021, China received 290,753 metric tons of chicken products including feet valued at $535.5 million with a unit price of $1,852 per metric ton.  China increased volume by 4.7 percent compared to 2020 but value rose a disproportionate 30.8 percent from the previous year.  As the second-ranked importer of chicken products, China is therefore important to both volume and value. China does not import either eggs or egg products since as the world’s largest producer of chicken and duck eggs the nation is more than self-sufficient. Over the first eight months of 2021, Hong Kong designated an “Autonomous Region” of China was the second largest importer of shell eggs from the U.S. receiving 36.3 million dozen representing 26.6 percent of exports valued at $31.4 million with a unit value of 87 cents per dozen Imports of shell eggs by Hong Kong increased by 13 percent in volume and 29 percent in value compared to the corresponding eight months of 2020. 


There has been a sharp deterioration in relations between China and the U.S. extending through the past Administration and continuing into the first eight months of the current Administration.  The issues of Taiwan, lack of action on the Phase-1 Trade agreement and aggression in the South China Sea are obviously areas of contention.  In March, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with State Counselor Wang Yi in Anchorage Alaska. Both sides aired their differences and traded less than diplomatic restatements of their respective positions. China characterized the U.S. approach to the meeting as ‘condescending’ and ‘grandstanding’.


Some restoration of mutual understanding was established on Wednesday October 6th in an extended discussion between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Senior Diplomat Yang Jiechi in Switzerland. Topics reviewed at this meeting included trade, territorial expansion in the South China Sea, intimidation of Taiwan and human rights in Xinjiang Province.  Apparently the discussion was productive in that China was apparently willing to consider items of mutual concern including climate change and the discussions deviated from traditional talking points.


One outcome of the meeting was an agreement for President Biden to meet with President Xi Jinping in a virtual format this quarter.  The spokesperson for the Department of State stated, “We have an agreement in principle to hold a meeting and we think it’s important for the leaders to take more of a role in managing this relationship through ongoing discussions directly between the two of them.”  During September, the President spoke with Xi mainly to establish lines of communication and to facilitate the subsequent discussions in Switzerland.


Perhaps the Administration’s position on interaction with China is best exemplified by recent comments made by Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai.  Addressing a meeting organized by The Center for Strategic International Studies, Ms. Tai stressed the need for the U.S. to become more competitive through R&D, advances in energy technology and promoting U.S. production capability.  Ms. Tai was determined that China should comply with commitments made in the Phase-1 Trade Agreement of February 15th 2020.  Her address provided an opportunity for the Administration to confirm that tariffs placed on goods imported from China by the previous Administration would remain at least for the short-term to serve as leverage in negotiations.  Ambassador Tai is promoting what she refers to as “smarter and more resilient trade”. China is less a trading partner than an adversary, given imposition of restraints on commerce and recalcitrance to modify coercive tactics and their indifference to U.S. and international concerns.


The meeting in Switzerland confirmed that the Phase-1 Trade Agreement benefited the U.S. agricultural sector.  The Administration is determined that China should fulfill promises and prevent China imposing any barriers to agricultural exports that would be contrary to the rules of the World Trade Organization.  It is evident that China must comply with conditions agreed to in the Phase-1 Agreement before proceeding with any extension to the existing pact.


The fact that U.S. and China are once again engaging in diplomacy is a welcome sign and should defuse tensions. It is questionable whether the two nations can ever participate in harmonious trade. Currently China needs to import soybeans, corn, sorghum, and energy. We in turn are dependent on a supply of manufactured goods and some critical raw materials. China has as far as possible sourced commodities from competitors in Latin America on the basis of more favorable currency and cheaper FOB prices from suppliers operating with freedom from environmental, labor, safety and related restraints. This now a time for reevaluation of the bilateral relationship with pressure to reverse injustices imposed by China. Good places to start will be rebuilding our infrastructure and improving our domestic manufacturing capacity.



Egg Industry News

Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-August 2021

USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-August 2021 with the corresponding months in 2020:-



     Jan.-Aug. 2020  

    Jan.-Aug. 2021


Shell Eggs




Volume (m. dozen)



+41.6        (+43.8%)

Value ($ million)



+58.2        (+73.6%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



+0.18        (+21.7%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



  -1,659      (-6.4%)

Value ($ million)



   +1.8        (+2.6%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



   +261       (+9.7%)






Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January-August 2021 increased by 41.6 percent in volume and 73.6 percent in total value compared to the corresponding months in 2020. Unit value was 18.0 cents higher to $1.01 per dozen for the comparison between 2020 and 2021. The top two importers, Hong Kong and Mexico combined, represented 55.2 percent of volume and 45.2 percent of total value.


Egg Monthly




  • September 2021 USDA ex-farm blended USDA nest-run benchmark price was 97.6 cents per dozen, 4.3 percent higher than the August 2021 value of 93.6 cents per dozen. Year-to-date average USDA benchmark price is 80.0 cents per dozen. The average monthly USDA benchmark ex-farm price for 2020 was 76.5 cents per dozen with a range of 52.9 cents per dozen in January to 159.7 cents per dozen in March during COVID hyper-demand. Currently stock levels and prices indicate a relative balance between supply and demand. Prevailing wholesale prices are largely dependent on retail sales despite moderate over-production, continued diversion from the egg-breaking sector and downward distortion attributed to the price discovery system.
  • September 2021 USDA average nest-run production cost was 4.0 cents per dozen (4.4 percent) lower than in August 2021 to 66.6 cents per dozen, mainly attributable to a 6.7 percent lower average feed cost.
  • September 2021 USDA benchmark nest-run margin attained a positive value of 31.0 cents per dozen compared to a margin of 23.9 cents per dozen for August 2021.
  • August 2021 national flock in production ( over 30,000 hens/farm) was up 0.4 million hens to 303.1 million. There are approximately 3.0 million hens due to return to production from molt in October together with a projected maturation of 25.0 million pullets with this number to be offset by depletion of spent flocks.
  • August 2021 pullet chick hatch was down 1.1 percent or 1.8 million from July 2021 to 24.9 million indicating concern over recent low prices.
  • August 2021 export of shell eggs and products combined was up 4.6 percent from July 2021 to 966,000 case equivalents representing the theoretical production of 14.0 million hens. Increased imports by South Korea will progressively decline while flocks depleted by HPAI are restored.



Summary tables for the latest USDA September 2021 prices and flock statistics made available by the EIC on October 9th 2021 are arranged, summarized, tabulated and reviewed in comparison with values from the previous September 10th 2021 posting reflecting August 2021 cost and production data.




The October WASDE documented the 2021growing season with no changes in harvest acreage of either corn or soybeans. The USDA ERS revised the projected ending stocks of corn, soybeans and soybean meal based on crop conditions and the harvest in progress. The corn acreage to be harvested is currently estimated at 85.1 million acres. Soybeans will be harvested from 86.4 million acres.


The October 2021 WASDE estimate of corn yield was raised 0.1 percent to 176.5 bushels per acre, (175.8 bushels per acre in 2020). The estimate of soybean yield was raised 1.8 percent to 51.5 bushels per acre. (50.7 bushels per acre in 2020). Final yield values will be adjusted subsequently based on crop conditions and harvest data.


The October 2021 USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was raised by 6.5 percent to 1,500 million bushels based on a larger harvest. Greater supply and lower domestic crush partly offset by higher exports, resulted in a projection of ending stock for soybeans being raised 73.0 percent to 320 million bushels.


Projections for ending stocks of both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations concurrently with fluctuation in exports. China has placed orders in accordance with their needs and central Government policy rather than compliance with the Phase-One trade agreement of February 2020. The October WASDE projection retained the price of corn at $5.45 per bushel. Soybeans were reduced 4.3 percent to 1,235 cents per bushel. Soybean Meal was reduced by 9.7 percent to $325 per short ton.


It is accepted that projections are based on the reality that China sharply increased purchases of commodities during the recently concluded market year partly to cover low stock caused by drought, and COVID-related disruptions in imports during the first quarter of 2020. China booked substantial orders for corn and soybeans from September 2020 onwards for the 2020-2021market year and is placing orders now for the current market year. Reports on volumes of commodities exported to China and other nations are included in weekly editions of CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS as USDA data is released.



The corn harvest for 2021 projected in the October 2021 WASDE Report #617 is 15,019 million bushels up 0.2 percent from the September report consistent with a 0.1 percent higher yield. The projected 2021 harvest can be compared to 14,507 million bushels in 2020 and is projected to be 0.9 percent lower than the previous 2016 record harvest of 15,148 million bushels. The “Feed and Residual” category was lowered 0.9 percent from the September report to 5,650 million bushels. The “Ethanol and Byproducts” category was held at 5,200 million bushels despite higher domestic demand for E-10 and other blends following relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions. Projected corn exports were increased 1.0 percent or 25 million bushels to 2,500 million bushels. Ending stocks were raised by 6.5 percent to 1,500 million bushels.


Crop Progress

Status of 2021 Corn and Soybean Crops

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on October 12th documented corn and soybean crop conditions to October 10th compared to 5-year averages. This past week 94 percent of the corn crop was mature, 8 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Forty one percent has been harvested. For soybeans 91 percent of the crop was dropping leaves ahead of the 5-year average and 49 percent has been harvested, an advance of 15 percent in a week and ahead of the 5-year average of 40 percent.


Surface moisture levels were relatively higher during the past week over the corn-belt attaining an average of 20.2 percent for areas classified in the two lowest categories of “Short” and “Very short”. The severe drought in Western states and the Dakotas continues with extensive wildfires in the Northwest and low levels in the Colorado waterway and dams. Topsoil moisture in Iowa improved this past week to 43 percent compared to 46 percent last week in the two lowest moisture categories. High topsoil moisture levels consistent with rain at the time of harvest will result in higher moisture levels in corn with a propensity for mycotoxicosis.


Despite the variable levels of topsoil moisture among states, approximately 60 percent of the corn crop was classified by the USDA under the “Good” and “Excellent” categories, up one percent from last week. The corresponding figure for soybeans was 59 percent, also up one percent from last week.


The ProFarmer Crop Tour completed five weeks ago, estimated corn yield to range from 175.2 to 178.8 bushels per acre with a mean value of 177.0 bushels per acre compared to the October WASDE value of 176.5 bushels per acre. The ProFarmer evaluation corresponded to a projected range for the 2021 corn harvest of 14.965 to 15.265 billion bushels with a mean value of 15.116 billion bushels compared to the October WASDE value of 15.019 billion bushels.


The ProFarmer Crop Tour estimated the soybean yield to range from 50.2 to 52.2 bushels per acre with a mean value of 51.2 bushels per acre compared to the October WASDE value of 51.5 bushels per acre. The ProFarmer evaluation corresponded to a projected range for the 2021 soybean harvest of 4.347 to 4.525 billion bushels with a mean value of 4.525 billion bushels compared to the October WASDE value of 4.448 billion bushels.


CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through the end of the 2021 harvest in November.


Reference is made to the October 12th WASDE Report #617 and the Acreage Report in this edition for projected 2021 acreage and yields. This data will be updated when WASDE #618 is released in mid-November with a final projection of yields, ending stocks and markets.






October 3rd

October 15th

5-Year Average

Corn Dented (%)

Corn Mature (%)

Corn Harvested (%)











Soybeans Dropping leaves (%)

Soybeans Harvested (%)








Crop Condition

18 States

V. Poor





Corn 2021 (%)

Corn 2020 (%) 1

1. Late planting











Soybeans 2021 (%)

Soybeans 2020 (%)1

1. Late planting











Parameter 48 States

V. Short




Topsoil moisture %: Past Week*





Past Year





Subsoil moisture %: Past Week





Past Year






For topsoil moisture the major corn and soybean-producing states had an average of 20.2 percent in the “Very Short” and “Short” categories (last week 23.2 percent) with a range of zero percent for PA to 43 percent for IA.


  • Iowa 43% (was 46%)
  • Illinois 21% (was 24%)
  • Indiana 12% (was 20%)
  • Kansas 42% (was 46%)
  • Kentucky 14% (was 14%)
  • Michigan 4% (was 8%)
  • Missouri 29% (was 41%)
  • Ohio 7% (was 10%)
  • Pennsylvania 0% (was 0%)


Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, October 13th 2021.

  • Shell inventory was up by 1.4 percent, following three successive rises during past weeks reflecting continued oversupply relative to demand, consistent with the net addition of 0.5 million hens in the producing flock this week and 5.8 million increase over nine weeks. Predictably prices are falling consistent with season. Midwest prices for generics are still above breakeven taking into account the combined costs of nest-run and for grading, packaging and delivery. Chains are spreading their purchases and are preempting anticipated price rises as a trend. It is possible that with a large National flock this strategy will suppress traditional pre-Christmas increases. Industry observers and participants expect buyers to adjust purchases only in response to retail demand and will hold down inventories in their DCs and stores. Since the beginning of 2021 generic eggs have been priced, with a few exceptions, at levels to maximize margins. This strategy has depressed the volume of sales to the disadvantage of the industry. Market data suggests that chains have priced generic white eggs in response to prevailing demand and are not featuring generic Large or Extra large.


  • Currently inventory comprises close to five days of production. Price movement over the past nine months and specifically since Labor Day, defies conventional supply to demand relationships and indicates extraneous factors affecting price. Wholesale Midwest prices for Extra- large and Large were down this past week after sequential declines. This suggests that prices plateaued at the end of September and will continue to decline through October. The commercial shell-egg price discovery system is obviously used by buyers to negotiate lower prices, serving as a self-fulfilling prophecy and a de facto instrument of potential indirect, but not necessarily intentional, collusion. The current relationship between producers and chain buyers based on a single price discovery system constitutes an impediment to a free market. The benchmark price amplifies both downward and upward swings and functions to the detriment of the industry. A CME quotation based on Midwest Large, responding to demand relative to supply would be more equitable.


  • The U.S. flock in production was up 0.2 percent (0.5 million hens) from the week of October 6th to 316.0 million consistent with seasonal depletions but with about 2.0 million molted hens having resumed production during the past month. The Industry previously demonstrated beneficial restraint in flock placement with continued depletions and non-restocking of some complexes or houses. The trend going forward through October is for a build in numbers in November and December based on chick placement data for July and August. Margins will continue to decline for commodity eggs unless matched by increased demand as predicated by prevailing seasonal wholesale prices over the past five weeks.


  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark prices for generic Extra Large and Large were down 8.4 and 8.5 percent respectively to averages of 98.5 and 96.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were up 2.6 percent to 77.5 cents per dozen. Second quarter prices reflected static demand, offset by decreases in the U.S. flock in production. The trajectory of prices through the last week of September suggests a decline moving through October as confirmed by the benchmark price discovery system. Margins going forward will be shaved despite stability in feed price but with higher labor and fuel costs especially as unit revenue erodes.


  • There is some prospect of a return of the food service sector with both frozen and dried-egg prices marginally higher over the past month. The economy is reopening with a recent decline in COVID incidence rates and hospitalizations in many regions. There is some optimism over the rate of deployment and acceptance of the three vaccines especially in rural areas and inner city zones. Reopening of the economy and schools in specific areas with low population immunity has resulted in a surge in the incidence rate of COVID. This is especially the case following the introduction and dissemination of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus that is more infectious and possibly with higher pathogenicity than the alpha and beta strains especially among the non-immunized proportion of the population that represent an overwhelming majority of those hospitalized.


  • The Midwest price for breaking stock was up 1.6 percent to an average of 63.5 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were down 10.0 percent to an average of 50.5 cents per dozen. It is anticipated that these prices will fluctuate in response to market trends and gradual recovery of the breaking sector.




According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on October 12th, the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large were down 8.4 percent to an average of 98.5 cents per dozen; Large were down 8.5 percent to 96.5 cents per dozen; Mediums were up 2.6 percent to 77.5 cents per dozen as delivered to DCs. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport) cost of 66.6 cents per dozen in September 2021. The progression of prices during 2021 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.


The October 12th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 41) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.17 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending October 2nd 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.06 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.25 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 32 cents per dozen above the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was approximately 27 cents above the corresponding week in 2020.





  • Commodity prices fluctuated over the past week but corn and soybeans ended down 2.8 percent and 3.3 percent respectively compared to Thursday October 7th.
  • Factors influencing prices in either direction included:-
    • Restoration of operation of most terminals on the lower Mississippi following Hurricane Ida. Installations have been repaired and are unloading barges and loading bulk carriers. (moderate upward pressure)
    • Release of the October 8th WASDE that raised projected ending stocks of corn by 6.5 percent and by 73.0 percent for soybeans. (significant downward pressure);
    • Lower than anticipated export sales, especially to China (downward pressure);
    • Moderation of drought in many counties in the corn belt with harvest advanced to half of the 2021 corn and soybean crops with higher yields consistent with forecasts by USDA and ProFarmer field evaluations. (moderate downward pressure);
    • Drought in Brazil causing a low Safrinha (second) crop (upward pressure);
    • Restoration of shipments from Argentina albeit at lower than normal volume (moderate downward pressure);
    • Central Government of China attempting to stabilize prices of pork and corn (downward pressure).

Projected harvests and ending stocks in the U.S. will be updated in the October 8th WASDE since there will be almost complete clarity on acreage and the effects of trade on ending stocks.

  • U.S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers in the Midwest will pay above $5.20 per bushel for corn and crushers will pay $12.10 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis during the third week of October. Corn was down 2.8 percent this past week for December delivery. Soybeans were down 3.3 percent for November delivery. Soybean meal was down 2.4 percent for December delivery compared to last week reflecting the decline in the price of soybeans.
  • The FAS Export Report* (released on October 7th for the week ending September 30th reflecting market year 2021-2022, confirmed that outstanding export orders for corn for the new market year amounted to 24.1 million metric tons (950 million bushels) with 0.97 million metric tons (38.2 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week orders for the 2021-2022 market year amounted to 1.27 million metric tons (50.0 million bushels). For market year 2022-2023 outstanding sales amounted to 0.33 million metric tons (13 million bushels) with no sales recorded this past week.

    *dData will be updated after release of the USDA FAS Weekly Report on October 15th.

  • The FAS Export Report released on October 7th for the week ending September 30th reflecting market year 2021-2022 recorded outstanding export orders for soybeans amounting to 23.3 million metric tons (835 million bushels) with 0.94 million metric tons (34.5 million bushels) actually shipped. Weekly soybean orders attained 1.04 million metric tons (38.2 million bushels).
  • During the week ending September 30th 396,000 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered for the market year 2021-2022, up 492 percent from the previous week. There were no shipments recorded by USDA-FAS this past week, an omission that should be rectified in the October 15th weekly report.


The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 14H00 on October 14th 2021, compared with values posted at close of trading on October 7th 2021 (in parentheses):-



Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec. 517 (532)

March ‘22. 526 (545)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. 1,205 (1,246)

March ’22. 1,223 (1,266)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Dec. 314 (322)

March ’22. 317 (325)


Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal over five trading days this past week were:-


Corn: Dec. quotation down 15 cents per bushel (-2.8 percent)
Soybeans: Nov. quotation down 41 cents per bushel (-3.3 percent)
Soybean Meal: Dec. quotation down $8 per ton (-2.4 percent )


The USDA weekly wholesale feedstuffs prices per short ton, posted on October 12th (with previous week in parentheses) were:-

  • Corn: $185 ($181), Chicago
  • Soybean Meal: $318 ($326), Central Illinois
  • Meat and Bone Meal: $355 ($360), Central Midwest
  • DDGS: $184 ($195), Eastern corn belt
  • For each $1 per ton (2.5 cents/bushel) change in corn:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.011 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.06 cent per pound live weight
  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.44 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


The respective changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal for October 12th compared with October 7th USDA weekly quotations would decrease nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.3 cents per dozen. For broilers cost would be lowered by <0.1 cents per live pound.

Year-to-date, escalation in the prices of major ingredients has added 1.9* cents per dozen eggs and 1.1* cents per live-weight lb. to broiler production cost

*(rounded to 0.1cent)



NOAA Confirms La Nina Onset


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed the emergence of a La Nina event based on surface temperature of waters in the equatorial Pacific adjacent to Peru and Ecuador. The U.S can expect cooler and wetter weather in the northwest and high plains, drier than normal conditions in the south and continued drought in the southwest.



Genetically Engineered Bacteria Dissolve Biofilms

A recent article in Molecular Systems Biology described a technique involving gene deletion of selected bacteria to eliminate pathogenicity with substitution of genes that express peptidoglycans that destroy pathogenic bacteria and those that can form biofilms.


The system is under development by Pulmobiotics, located in Barcelona, Spain and a spin-off from the Center for Genomic Regulation The primary purpose is to deploy a microbiological system that will destroy biofilms on prostheses and on medical implants including pacemakers and catheters.  The vector for pulmonary infections is Mycoplasma pneumoniae normally a pathogen but after modification the GM organism can destroy biofilms and inactivate pathogenic bacteria by secreting bactericidal enzymes.


Pulmobiotics is evaluating large-scale production and will initiate clinical trials in 2023.  If this technology is proven to be cost-effective, commercial-level propagation of suitably modified bacteria could be used to treat avian diseases and if sufficiently inexpensive, to remove biofilms from equipment and even water lines and components of drinking systems.


FDA Retiree Publishes Book on Food Safety

Dr. Richard Williams who was previously the Director for Social Science in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the Food and Drug Administration has published Fixing Food: An FDA Insider Unravels the Myths and the Solutions.


Dr. Williams argues that the FDA should radically embrace new approaches to public health and incorporate disciplines including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, microbiome research in favor of traditional disciplines that he maintains constrain the present and future contribution of the Agency.  Currently the FDA is pursuing a “new era of smarter food safety” advocated by Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the FDA.


At issue is the fact that despite regulatory involvement there has been little progress in reducing the incidence rate of foodborne infections.  Lifestyle considerations have contributed to obesity that in turn lead to metabolic complications.


The book exposes cultural and regulatory restraints that are associated with “failed strategies”.



Since leaving FDA, Dr. Williams has served as Vice-president for Policy Research at the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, serving as an advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chairman of the Board for the Center for Truth in Science and a member of the Board of the Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Science.


Information on Fixing Food can be obtained by accessing


Dr. Francis S. Collins to Step Down as NIH Director

Francis S. Collins MD, PhD an eminent geneticist and medical administrator will step down as the head of the NIH after tenure of twelve years.  He was appointed the 16th director of the NIH in 2009 and has served three presidents.  He currently administers an annual 2021 budget of $41.3billion.


Prior to his appointment as head of NIH, he led the National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008 and was responsible for direction of the Human Genome Project that determined the sequence of human DNA in April 2003.  As director of the NIH he was involved in the response to the 2014-2015 limited Ebola outbreak and was a strong advocate for preventive measures against COVID supporting Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Dr. Collins is the author of The Language of God reflecting his sincere belief in religion that he has successfully integrated with science.  At the ceremony to celebrate the completion of the Human Genome Project he noted, “Today we are learning the language in which God created life and we are gaining awe from the complexity, the beauty and the wonder of God’s most divine and sacred gift.” 


Following his retirement before the end of the current year, he will return to his NIH laboratory to continue research on human genetics.


Eggland’s Best Continuing Support of Susan G. Komen Foundation

Eggland’s Best has extended support to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the 12th consecutive year.  Eggland’s Best eggs and packaging will bear the Komen logo through October.  Eggland’s Best has pledged $100,000 as a donation to the foundation for 2021-2022 regardless of sales.


Charlie Lanktree, CEO of Eggland’s Best stated, “We are proud to once again team up with Susan G. Komen in support of a worthy fight against breast cancer.”  He added, “We are committed to helping Komen save lives by improving breast cancer education, research and patient support. 


Marissa Meshulam a registered dietitian stated, “A well balanced diet that includes nutrient-rich foods like Eggland’s Best eggs is an important component of maintaining good health.”  She added, “I am proud to support Susan G. Komen’s honorable mission through my work with Eggland’s Best.”


U.S. Department of Labor to Expend $5 Million to Combat Child Labor Abuse in Mexico

According to a report released by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, child labor is used to cultivate tomatoes and chili peppers in Mexico.  The U.S. Department of Labor announced on October 4th that $5 million will be used to support “standards to combat labor abuses by employers in Mexico's tomato and chili pepper sector supply chains”.


Vegetables are imported to the U.S. from Mexico in accordance with the USMCA that specifies minimum standards for employment and remuneration. How will the allocation be used to rectify what must be regarded as a broad socio-economic injustice common to developing nations? What accountability will be used to ensure that public funds are expended in accordance with Federal guidelines?


Surely it is up to authorities in Mexico to police their own producers. Why do U.S. taxpayers have to support a project in Mexico to improve working conditions and empower workers?  If Mexico wishes to supply the U.S. with vegetables and fruit it is up to state and government authorities in that Nation to inspect and certify compliance with the USMCA.


FDA Reports on GenomeTrakr

GenomeTrakr represents a network of laboratories performing whole genome sequencing (WGS),  a cost-effective and highly specific technique to characterize pathogens.


The FDA estimates that the GenomeTrakr program generates between $100 million to $450 million in health benefits each year through reducing foodborne infection.


FDA analyzed outbreaks of foodborne disease from 1999 through 2019 with specific reference to the Genome Tracking Network established in 2012. The analysis demonstrated that WGS can detect the emergence of multi-state outbreaks and to identify vehicles of infection and their sources in order to constrain outbreaks rapidly through product recalls.



CDC Identifies Puppies as a Source of Drug Resistant Campylobacteriosis

It is estimated that 1.5 million cases of campylobacteriosis are diagnosed in the U.S. annually.  Infection is acquired from consumption of contaminated undercooked poultry or meat, infected seafood, raw milk, vegetables or untreated water.  Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published on the role of puppies as a source of Campylobacter jejuni over the period 2016 through 2020.  The study involved 168 patients ranging in age from 20 to 51 years.  An overwhelming number (97 percent) of patients reported contact with a dog during the week before onset of symptoms and with 88 percent reporting that the contact was with a puppy derived from a pet store.  It is significant that 88 percent of the isolates of Campylobacter jejuni were drug resistant to a range of antibiotic classes.


The study confirms the role of newly acquired puppies in the introduction of campylobacteriosis to a household and confirms previous reports in the literature.


*Watkins, L.K et al. Ongoing Outbreak of Extensively Drug-Resistant Campylobacter jejuni Infections Associated with U.S. Pet Store Puppies. 2016-2020. JAMA Netw Open 2021 doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.25203


Arrow Farms Introduces New Packaging

Arrow Farms, parent company of Morning Kiss Organic, has introduced more sustainable plastic packaging that is both recyclable and degradable.  Morning Kiss Organic citrus, potatoes, and onions will be packed in the net bags using the plastic that will biodegrade within four years.


Nelly Czajkowski a Company spokesperson stated, “Sustainability is a priority at Morning Kiss Organic and we are excited to move our packaging in a sustainable direction.”


Walmart Facing Supply-Chain Challenges

Faced with port congestion and disruption in the supply chain, Walmart has initiated preemptive action to ensure that shelves are filled during the holiday season. Components include:-


  • Chartering small vessels capable of accessing U.S. ports that are not subject to the level of congestion pertaining in Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA.


  • Hiring an additional 3,000 drivers and allowing rerouting of inland shipments


  • Recruiting 20,000 additional workers in the supply chain including DCs


  • Adding storage capacity at fulfillment and distribution centers


  • Introducing automation and systems to improve efficiency in transferring products to stores


  • Hiring 150,000 new associates for in-store and online execution



Department of Justice Opposes Motion by Stewart Parnell to Vacate Sentence

Stewart Parnell is currently serving an 18-year sentence in the Hazelton Federal Prison in West Virginia for his role in the extensive Salmonella outbreak caused by the Peanut Corporation of America.  As the CEO he was found guilty in September 2014 and has waged a rearguard legal battle since this time.  His October 2014 petition for retrial based on alleged juror misconduct and prejudice was rejected.  Following sentencing in September 2015 an appeal was rejected by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. 


In September 2019 Parnell petitioned on the basis that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment rights by the incompetence of his counsel.  Parnell claims that the verdict was influenced by his trial counsel failing to petition the Court for a change in venue and failing to disqualify jurors who had heard of the outbreak.


The Department of Justice maintains that the verdict was free of juror bias since Stewart Parnell and his brother were found not guilty on some of the counts. The DOJ notes that the trial was held five years after the outbreak.


Dredging Mississippi River to Generate Return

Chris Bennett writing in Ag Web Farm Journal documented the projected return from dredging the lower reaches of the Mississippi River.  Expending $217 million on the most southerly 250 miles stretch will allow vessels to carry additional grains and soybeans.  Increasing the depth of the main channel by five foot will generate an additional $460 million annually and make the U.S. more competitive than Brazil and Argentina. 


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that for every dollar expended, the return will amount to $7.20.  Mike Steenhoek, Executive Director of the Soy Transportation Coalition cited in the article stated, “This project is a big deal for the export strength of U.S. agriculture in the future, and it’s also significant for farmers in the near-term since the project is going to mean better prices for famers at their elevators.”  The U.S. will be able to land soybeans cheaper into ports including Shanghai based on a lower combination of truck and barge costs compared to Brazil that is heavily dependent on truck transport from major growing areas to export terminals.


The infrastructure plan includes allocation of funding to improve locks and other facilities that would further increase the efficiency of the waterway system.


Sanovo Installing Pasteurization Plant in Mexico

Proan of Mexico will soon commission a pasteurization plant with a capacity of 4,000 gallons per hour. The plant, with equipment supplied by Sanovo will service the hotel, restaurant and catering sector in Mexico. Sanovo pasteurizing installations are available with capacities of 250 to 4,000 gallons per hour and can process sugared and salted products with high viscosity.


During the first eight months of 2021, Mexico imported 4,128 tons of egg products valued at $9.0 million.  Imports during 2021 were respectively 48 percent lower in volume and 39 percent in value compared to the first eight months of 2020 suggesting greater reliance on domestic production.



Improvement in COVID Data

For the week ending Friday October 8th, the seven-day average of new COVID infections fell to 99,669 compared to 152,400 per day for the first week of September.  Hospitalizations declined from 101,700 in September to 68,700 during the first week in October.  Fatalities, a lagging indicator, were slightly higher with 2,426 dying of COVID per day, compared to 2,226 in early September.  To date confirmed cases of COVID have risen to 44.2 million with 710,500 confirmed fatalities. Both figures are in all probability underestimates.

Notwithstanding the ongoing unacceptable incidence rate of COVID, at least 35 percent of our population has not been vaccinated with a high concentration of those hesitant or rejecting vaccination resident in southern and northwestern states.  COVID is unfortunately now regarded as a political issue whereas it should be a matter of public health concern. Control and eventual eradication should be subject to the application of scientific principles and recommendations by the medical community and not politicians or talk-show media.



It is axiomatic that until COVID is controlled, the economy will be fettered by a patchwork of restrictions of fluctuating intensity. Continual bickering by politicians on both sides of the issue of protective measures including vaccination, masking and common sense precautions has been unproductive. Simply denying the existence of COVID is illogical and an affront to the reality of over 710,000 deaths to date.


As a nation we are making progress in controlling COVID but the action we have taken to suppress the infection should be intensified in coming months since co-morbidities with possibly influenza and other respiratory viruses including RSV may result in spikes in mortality especially among our fellow citizens with predisposing conditions including the elderly, the obese and the immunosuppressed.


Fortunately we will soon have emergency use authorization of mRNA vaccines at an appropriate dose for children aged 5 through 12.  As with adult vaccination, the challenge will be to assure parents of the safety and effectiveness of vaccination.  Rising incidence rates as children have returned to school, coupled with hospitalization and unnecessary mortality should stimulate acceptance of vaccination demonstrated to be the simplest and most effective method of controlling the infection.


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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