Egg Industry News


Brexit Now a Reality

01/31/2021

Although the U.K. has concluded a tariff-free agreement with the E.U. there are still barriers relating to health certification that will impose additional paperwork and costs on the import and export of agricultural products. Despite the fact that the U.K. meets the health and biosecurity requirements of the E.U., Export Health Certificates will be required for animal products.

 

It is estimated that 80 percent of U.K. food imports are derived from the E.U. and in coming weeks, there will be considerable confusion and border delays.  The fact that the agreement with the E.U. was only concluded in late December eliminated the 12-month period for negotiation and transition extending through 2020. Inaction, posturing and incompetence deprived both the E.U. and the U.K. time to adjust to Brexit. And then there was COVID.

 


 

Aspergillosis Implicated in Die-Off of Mallards

01/31/2021

Following an isolated episode of protracted mortality in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in a wilderness area near Lemhi, Idaho in early December, the U.S. Geological Survey - National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI. diagnosed pulmonary aspergillosis in three birds examined.  The report was posted on December 29th on ProMed Mail.


Pulmonary aspergillosis

While there is no disputing the diagnosis that is evident on morphological examination and can be confirmed by histopathological examination and culture, the question arises as to why mature ducks apparently feeding on waste grain contaminated with Aspergillus fumigatus should have died showing pulmonary lesions.  Infection of other than hatchlings with A. fumigatus is uncommon in both wildlife and domestic avian species especially by the oral route.  In 1964 Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) inappropriately transported from Marion Island in the South Atlantic to an enclosed temperature-controlled aviary at the Pretoria zoo died of pulmonary aspergillosis. Unknown to management, the air-conditioning system was contaminated with A. fumigatus.  The group of twenty birds died over a seven-day period showing mycotic pneumonia with inhalation the most likely route of infection. 

 

It is questioned whether the affected mallards were latent carriers of aspergillus that may have been activated by some insult including environmental cold stress or a bacterial or viral infection.  Given the resources and competence of the National Wildlife Health Center it is presumed that the three ducks examined were screened for avian influenza, Newcastle disease and other frequently encountered pathogens.  It is questioned why only three ducks were submitted for examination.  Live clinically affected birds together with recently gathered dead ducks from the same population would have provided more material for diagnosticians. To quote an old and wise mentor “there is a world of difference between a diagnosis and the actual problem”.


 

Mexico Issues Ban on Imported GM Corn for Human Consumption

01/21/2021

A December 31st 2020 decree published in the Diario De La Federacion banned the importation of genetically modified corn for human consumption. The decree was noted in the USDA-FAS GAIN Report MX 2021-004 released on January 14th. There is uncertainty over the exact definition of ‘human consumption’. Mexico imports yellow corn from the U.S. to be used mainly for livestock feeding and industrial applications. The decree has created considerable concern in the agribusiness sector. 

 

According to the GAIN report, Mexico will harvest 27.8 million metric tons of mainly white and completely non-GM corn for the 2020/2021 season with an average yield of 149 bushels per acre. Mexico will import 16.5 million metric tons of corn or 35 percent of total supply. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (“Amlo”) is firmly opposed to GM technology and issued the edict in an autocratic manner without considering the consequences or advancing an alternative program of supply.  Jose Cacho President of the Mexican Corn Industry Chamber considers the decree as "completely diverse from reality"


"AMLO" el Presidente

 

Importance of Mexico as an importer of U.S. corn


 

Kemin Partnering with CSS to Recycle Supermarket Waste

01/21/2021

Kemin Nutrisurance will partner with CSS, a specialist in food recovery technology to repurpose supermarket waste into pet food.

 

CSS will apply Harvest to Harvest Technology to recover organics from supermarket waste. The purpose of the joint venture is to reduce food waste, provide innovative products for pets and to contribute to sustainability.


 

COVID Vaccination-a Personal Perspective.

01/20/2021

On Wednesday, Barbara and I received our first Pfizer mRNA vaccinations without immediate complications. Our feeling of relief is however tempered by the recognition that so many of our fellow citizens will wait for months for their protection.

 

We are deeply thankful for all who were involved in the development of the  two approved vaccines. We owe gratitude to scientists and administrators at the NIH, the CDC, U.S. Army, Federal and state public health authorities, DHSS, pharmaceutical companies, commercial carriers and the personnel involved in administration.

 

Despite the claims of development of the vaccines at “warp speed” effective products would not have been possible without the basic and applied molecular biology initiated over a decade ago in diverse laboratories on at least three continents. Science, logistics, commonsense precautions and rapid deployment of vaccines will beat this pandemic and restore our pre-COVID way of life.

 

Until 75 to 80 percent of our population is immune we cannot reduce the intensity of our personal and collective responsibility to prevent infection. This will entail continued masking, avoiding crowds, restricting travel and personal hygiene. We have sacrificed too much in illness, death, social disruption and economic loss to relent now. Today’s jabs were a reminder of what we have endured as a Nation and what we still face before we reach the “other side”. Let us hope we attain the goal of 100 million doses in 100 days.


 

Egg Week

01/20/2021

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, January 20th 2021.

 

  • Shell inventory was down a welcome 6.0 percent after a 2.1 percent decrease last week. This indicates a move towards balance between demand and supply with implications for prices extending through the remainder of January, given a reasonable anticipation of a reduction in flock size by depletion. There is little evidence of a return in the food service sector as liquid and dried-egg prices fall and reopening of the economy is delayed by a surge in COVID-19 incidence rates in many regions suggesting more restrictions.

 

  • The U.S. flock in production was down 0.9 million from the week of January 19th 2021 to 321.2 million, with fewer molted hens resuming production due to depletion and a lower number of pullets reaching peak against the reality that there was no seasonal December increase in demand or price increase

 

  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were up 6.4 and 6.5 percent respectively from the previous week to 83.5 and 81.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were 1.8 percent higher at an average of 57.5 cents per dozen. During past weeks Midwest prices have sharply lagged both the corresponding weeks in 2019 and the 3-year average. It is apparent that unlike previous years the pre-Christmas rise failed to materialize. The price rise this past week reflects increased demand with only a moderate decrease in flock number.

 

  • The Midwest price of breaking stock was up 1.5 percent to an average of 37.5 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were up 12.2 percent to an average of 27.5 cents per dozen.

 

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports circulated on January 19th 2021 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were up 6.5 percent on average from the previous week as delivered to DCs, attaining 83.5 and 81.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were up 1.8 percent to an average of 57.5 cents per dozen reflecting an oversupply from young flocks. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing and transport) cost of 68.2 cents per dozen in December 2020. The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

 

The January 19th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 03) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $0.86 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending January 10th 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $0.77 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $0.92 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was almost the same as the 3-year average and about 25 cents per dozen above the corresponding week in 2020.


 


Sad Passing of Blair J. Van Zetten

01/20/2021

EGG-NEWS regrets to record the sad passing of Blair J. Van Zetten an industry stalwart who passed on Monday, January 18th in Scottsdale, AZ.  Blair was born in Oskaloosa, IA and graduated from Upper Iowa University with a Baccalaureate degree in business.  He assumed the presidency of Oskaloosa Food Products in mid-1975, a company founded by his late father, John.

 

Blair was an active participant in the industry having served the American Egg Board, the United Egg Association, the United Egg Producers and the Farmers and Ranchers Alliances.  He was a founding member of the Iowa State University Egg Industry Center and served as the Chair from 2008 through 2011.

 

Recognition of his contributions during his productive career included the ISU Alumni Association Award, the Urner Barry Egg Person of the Year in 2016 and induction into the Iowa Poultry Association Hall of Fame in 2019.  He served many community associations including the Oskaloosa Chamber of Commerce, the Oskaloosa Community Development Board and was a past-Chair of the TruBank Board of Directors and was an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church. 


The late Blair Van Zetten

 

A funeral service will be held at 10h30 January 26th at the First Presbyterian Church in Oskaloosa.

 

EGG-NEWS joins the industry in extending condolences to his widow Wendy and sons Jason, Brandon and Travis and his sister Cheryl Van Zetten. 

He will be sadly missed.


 

Dr. Jewel Hairston Bronaugh Appointed as USDA Deputy Secretary

01/20/2021

Dr. Jewel Hairston Bronaugh has been nominated to serve as the Deputy Secretary of USDA.  The position is the second-highest executive official in the USDA and involves responsibility of running the day-to-day operations of the Department.

 

Dr. Bronaugh is currently the 16th Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, a position she has held since 2018. Dr. Bronaugh earned a Baccalaureate degree in education from James Madison University and completed both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in technical education from Virginia Tech.  During her career she served as the Dean of the Virginia State University College of Agriculture before being appointed to her current position by Governor Ralph Northam.


Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh
 

In commenting on the appointment, Gov. Northam noted, “as Commissioner of the VDACS, Dr. Bronaugh has been a true leader - promoting the Agency’s core mission while taking on new challenges including our COVID-19 pandemic response and farmers’ mental health, focusing economic development to improve food access in underserved communities and engaging youth in the field of agriculture.”

 

Matt Lohr of Virginia, who previously was the Director of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service under the outgoing Administration, observed, “America’s farmers and ranchers can be sure they have a true friend, an advocate working for them in DC.”

 

 

 In remarks announcing the appointment, President Elect Biden stated, “Our Administration will hit the ground running to deliver immediate, urgent relief to Americans; confront the overlapping crises of COVID-19, the historic economic downturn, systemic racism and inequality and the climate crisis, and get this Government working for the people it serves.” 


 

Pressure on Incoming Biden Administration Over Small Refinery Waivers

01/19/2021

Six senators representing corn-production states addressed a letter to President-elect Biden urging rejection of small refinery exemptions, currently the subject of litigation and delay by the EPA.  The Senators led by Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) are requesting the incoming administration to release the renewable volume obligations and restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuels Standard.


Sen. Tammy Duckworth

 

Status of Science in the Biden Administration

01/19/2021

President-elect Joe Biden announced on January 17th that Dr. Eric Lander will be appointed as Science Advisor and Head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and will also serve as a cabinet member.  Currently Dr. Lander is the president of the Broad Institute jointly operated by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is both a mathematician and molecular biologist and served for eight years in the Obama Administration as Co-chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Dr. Lander, regarded as a polymath was the co-leader of the Human Genome Project before founding the Broad Institute. The appointment of Dr. Lander was met with approval from the scientific community.

 

Dr. John Holdren, the Science Advisor in the Obama administration stated, "he's incredibly good at explaining complex scientific issues and he is a fabulous choice with his breadth of knowledge across many disciplines".

 

In developing objectives, President-elect Biden has instructed Dr. Lander to address the future of science and technology with regard to public health, climate change, innovation, social equity and to work "broadly and transparently with the diverse scientific leadership of American society and engage the broader American public".

 

It is generally accepted that the present director of OSTP Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier has maintained a low profile during his two-year tenure and was essentially silent during political interference in scientific aspects of policy involving the Census Bureau, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the EPA.

 

Concurrently with the announcement of the appointment of Dr. Lander, President-elect Biden named Nobel Prize winner Dr. Frances Arnold to serve as co-chair of PCAST together with Dr. Maria Zuber.

 

Dr. Francis Collins, a Nobel Prize winner and Director of the National Institutes of Health since 2009 will continue in his current position, given the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and involving his coordination of projects involving development and evaluation of vaccines and therapeutics.


 

Alltech to Review Current Mycotoxin Situation in Webinar.

01/19/2021

A webinar featuring Dr. Max Hawkins of the Alltech Mycotoxin Management Team will air on Monday, January 25th 2021 at 09h30 EST.  Topics to be discussed will include the mycotoxin status of the 2020 harvest.  Alltech is a leader in mycotoxin assay, interpretation of data and providing appropriate recommendations for mitigation.

 

Registration is available on <go.alltech.com/2020-harvest-analysis-us>.

 

Dr. Hawkins obtained his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Tennessee and has extensive experience in nutrition and production having served as a technical consultant for agribusiness companies before joining Alltech in 2011.


Dr. Max Hawkins

 

HatchTech to Present at the 2021 IPPE Virtual Marketplace

01/19/2021

HatchTech will present in the IPPE Virtual Marketplace to take place from January 25th-29th, 2021.  Presentations will be made by Danny van Roekel of the Netherlands and Jim Mckay U.S. representative, in addition to the Techtalks where Joost ter Heerdt will review the benefits of early feeding associated with the HatchCare system that has been in operation for six years.  For additional information, access <www.hatchtech.com>.


 

FDA Commissioner Reviews 2020 Agency Achievements

01/19/2021

In an address to the Alliance for Health Policy on January 6th, Dr. Stephen Hahn, outgoing Director of the FDA outlined achievements of his agency following a one year tenure in 2020.  These included:-

 

  • The Smarter Food Safety Blueprint that will create greater traceability.
  • 2020 Leafy Greens STEC Action Plan in response to recurring episodes of infection attributed to produce contaminated with irrigation water.
  • Approval of 28 drugs to prevent or treat livestock and companion animal diseases.
  • Approval of various therapeutic agents and emergency use authorization for two COVID vaccines.

Dr. Stephen Hahn

Despite the fact that Dr. Hahn emphasized the science-based decision-making process for the FDA, the reputation of the Agency has been degraded by perceptions of political interference. This is evidenced by  emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine and antibody therapy to treat COVID, both unproven “quick-fix” interventions.

 


 

NIFA Funding Research on SE

01/19/2021

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has funded a project at Ohio State University relating to Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) in relation to shell-egg pasteurization.  The study will investigate transcription of genes encoding for stress regulators and virulence when SE is cultured in shell eggs and exposed to a range of heat and ozone treatments.  The virulence of SE derived from in-shell treatments will be evaluated using a mouse model.  The project designated OHO 03057-CG will be concluded in 2023.


 

Pulsed Ultraviolet Light to Decontaminate Egg Shells

01/19/2021

Dr. Paul Patterson of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Pennsylvania State University has demonstrated the efficacy of pulse ultraviolet light to decontaminate shell surfaces.  Dr. Patterson considers that the technology could replace the use of immersion and sanitizers.

 

Pulse UV irradiation also has application in decontaminating hatching eggs.  During a 27-second period of exposure, eggs are exposed to high intensity ultraviolet light generated by a xenon flash lamp generating 90 pulses with a duration of 360 micro-seconds.

 

The economics of pulse ultraviolet irradiation has yet to be determined for commercial egg packing plant and hatchery application.  In the case of table eggs, the principle of reducing surface contamination is self-evident.  The process will however not remove fecal staining and accordingly downgrades will be far higher than with conventional washing. The cost of diverting otherwise saleable eggs to breaking should be considered in the cost of the alternative technology.


Dr. Paul Patterson

 

In the case hatching eggs, many of the pathogens involved in increasing embryonic and first- week chick mortality are motile and penetrate the shell within 30 minutes of lay.  Although subsequent shell decontamination at the hatchery will reduce bacterial load, the installation of equipment in hatcheries may not materially increase hatchability or livability.  Weekly USDA broiler data indicate an average hatch of between 81 and 82 percent of eggs set and the restraints to hatchability and broiler chick viability relate to factors other than bacterial contamination except in specific complexes.

 

Irrespective of the eventual commercial deployment of pulsed ultra violet technology, the studies conducted by Dr. Patterson represent an advance in applying a physical process to a biological system with potential improvement of food safety.


 

Thijs Hendrix Inaugurated into the French Academy of Agriculture

01/19/2021

On January 6th Thijs Hendrix founder of Hendrix Genetics in 2005 was inaugurated as a Member of the prestigious French Academy of Agriculture.  Hendrix is the third generation involved in poultry breeding as the son of Harry Hendrix who died in 2010 and Grandfather Thijs Hendrix (1884-1954) who established a breeding enterprise in 1923 in Ospel the Netherlands. Thijs Hendrix serves as the president of Hendrix Genetics and is still active in animal breeding and life sciences.

 

In 2005, the Institute de Selection Animale of France and Hendrix poultry breeders merged and the company was expanded in 2007 by acquisition of Euribrid, then owned by the Animal Breeding Division of Nutreco, a Dutch agricultural conglomerate.  Currently Hendrix Genetics has operations and joint ventures in 25 nations and supplies genetics to egg, turkey, aquaculture and pork industries in 100 nations.


Thijs Hendrix (right) receives award from
Ambassador Jean-Francois Blarel.

 

The French Academy of Agriculture is a source of scientific, technical, legal, political and social information relating to agriculture and facilitates exchanges between scientists and the government of France.  The Academy dates back to 1761 established by royal decree and was formerly restructured by government charter in 1915.


 

Emergence of Variant Strains of SARS-COV-2

01/19/2021

Public health authorities and molecular biologists worldwide have intensified sequencing of SARS-COV-2 isolates following the emergence of variant strains. In the UK, mutations in the spike protein have given rise to the B1.1.7 lineage and a similar but separate mutation has been identified in a spontaneously arising strain in South Africa. The U.S. has lagged in intensity in sequencing isolates and accordingly the presence of the UK variant was not recognized before community transmission occurred. 

 

An example of “seek and ye shall find” is the demonstration of a novel variant in the Columbus OH. area identified by Dr. Dan Jones Vice-chair of the Division of Molecular Pathology at Ohio State University.  Dr. Jones stated, “We are now in a period where the virus is changing quite substantially.  This is the moment as we are starting to see changes with vaccinations being introduced and where the virus has been in the human population for some months.  We do want to be looking out very carefully for the emergence of not just single mutations but new strains that have multiple mutations.”

 

As yet there is no evidence that the variant strains that are now present in over 60 nations are any more pathogenic than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus but they are evidently more infectious.  Resulting pressure on medical facilities and on the economy is obvious since more people are contracting the infection within a limited time.  To date, studies have shown that vaccines currently evaluated and approved are effective against the variants. 


 

Animal Rights Group Draws Attention to North Carolina Game Fowl Activities

01/17/2021

Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wilderness Foundation have mounted a campaign opposing breeding and illegal export of fighting cocks from North Carolina to Mexico, Guam, the Philippines and Vietnam.

 

Animal fighting of any form is prohibited under a federal law enacted in December 2019.  It is illegal to sponsor or exhibit animals in a fighting venture, knowingly attend a fighting venue, knowingly buy, sell, possess, train, transport, deliver or receive an animal for the purposes of animal fighting and to use the U.S. Postal Service to distribute fighting animals or paraphernalia.

The organizations headed by Wayne Pacelle alerted the three U.S. Federal Attorneys General in the state of North Carolina to the existence of an active game fowl industry operating under the umbrella of the North Carolina Game Fowl Breeders Association despite the fact that cock fighting is a felony under North Carolina law.

 

Apart from the welfare considerations involved, movement of live birds absent compliance with existing health regulations represents a danger to the poultry industry with respect to persistence and transmission of both erosive and catastrophic diseases including AI and END.


 

Reassuring News on Efficacy of Pfizer COVID Vaccine in Israel

01/17/2021

Clalit Health Services, the major HMO in Israel has determined that recipients of the Pfizer vaccine showed a lower rate of COVID-19 infection compared to non-vaccinated people over 60 year of age.  The study was based on 200,000 recipients of vaccine with a significant difference recorded 14 days after vaccination. The difference between vaccinates and those not vaccinated was apparent before the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine suggesting that effective immunity is established rapidly after receiving the first dose.

 

 


Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu receiving COVID vaccine

It is noted that the vaccination program in Israel has proceeded efficiently and rapidly with 25 percent of the total population vaccinated within three weeks of the release of the Pfizer vaccine.


 

Validating Feed Mixing with Micro-Tracers®

01/16/2021

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. 

 

View the rest of the article here.


 

Inflation Evident in U.S. Consumer Prices

01/16/2021

On Wednesday, January 13th the Department of Labor reported that U.S. consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in December compared to November and were 1.4 percent above the comparative value for 2019.  Core prices, excluding food and energy, rose 0.1 percent from November to December and were up 1.6 percent on the year.

 

According to the Department of Labor, the price of core goods was 1.7 percent higher in November 2020 compared to November 2019.  Core services were up 1.6 percent compared to last year.

In reviewing the impact of inflation in ingredient prices on the poultry industry, the CME per bushel price of corn increased 32.9 percent from January 13th 2019 from $3.89 to $5.17 per bushel on January 13th 2020.  Soybean meal increased by 30.4 percent from $355 per ton on January 13th 2019 to $463 per ton on January 13th 2020. The collective effect of the January 2020 to 2021 escalation in prices of corn and soybean meal alone represents an increase in production cost of 10.5 cents per dozen for eggs and 5.9 cents per live weight pound for broilers.  In addition the cost of fuel, consumables and labor have risen consistent with inflation and producers have borne the additional costs of preventing COVID-19 in 2020.


CME Corn c/bushel 2020

 

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT

01/15/2021

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: JANUARY 15th 2020.

 

  • The financial and economic uncertainties of the transition to a Biden-Harris Administration are diminishing but the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate. The commodity market this past week was influenced by the WASDE revisions for the corn and soybean harvests, exports and ending stocks.

 

  • The direction of agricultural and trade policy to be implemented in 2021 will emerge following the confirmation of Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary and Michael Regan as the Administrator of the EPA together with other Cabinet appointments and their subordinates relevant to agriculture. Following the result of the January 5th Georgia runoff elections for the Senate, the cabinet and sub-cabinet nominees by President-elect Biden will likely be approved.

 

  • S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers are paying close to $5.30 per bushel for corn and $14.20 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis.

 

  • Corn and soybeans were respectively 6.8 percent and 2.7 percent above the previous week representing the highest levels in three years. Soybean meal rose by 5.0 percent, disproportionate to the price of soybeans.

 

  • According to the USDA FAS Export Report for the week ending January 7th 2021 export orders for corn amounted to 28.66 million metric tons (1,129 million bushels) with 16.72 million metric tons (657.1 million bushels) actually shipped. Over the past week export orders for soybeans attained 14.56 million metric tons (534 million bushels) with 41.15 million metric tons (1,510 million bushels) actually shipped.

 

The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 15H00 on January 15th 2021 compared with values posted at close of trading on January 8th 2021 (in parentheses) reflecting specified months in 2021 for delivery.

 

COMMODITY

Corn (cents per bushel)

 March 531 (497)

May 534 (498)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

 March 1,415 (1,377)

May 1,412

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

 March 462 (440)

May 457

 

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

 

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn: March quotation up 34 cents per bushel (+6.8 percent)

Soybeans: March quotation up 38 cents per bushel (+2.7 percent )

Soybean Meal: March quotation up $22 per ton (+5.0 percent )

 

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 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

 

This week the changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal would raise nest-run production cost for eggs by 2.5 cents per dozen and for broilers 1.4 cents per live pound. Over the past three weeks escalation in the price of major ingredients have added 7.4 cents per dozen and 4.2 cents per live-weight lb.

 

According to the January 12th WASDE, corn harvested in calendar 2021 will attain 14,183 million bushels with ending stocks projected at 1,552 million bushels. Final values will be modified by actual export volume, domestic use and the February WASDE, incorporating planting intentions. Compared with January 8th at 15H00 the CME quotation for corn on January 15th was up 34 cents per bushel for March delivery to 531 cents.

 

The social restrictions imposed in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 will reduce ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons or 10 percent of projected 2020-2021 requirement accepting a nominal ten percent addition to gasoline. A significant proportion of the U.S. ethanol fermentation capacity is off-line or operating at lower than capacity at present and the outlook for increased demand is questionable. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency the industry produced on average 941,000 barrels per day for the week ending January 8th 2021. Ethanol stocks stood at 23.7 million barrels on January 8th 2021. Ethanol was priced at $1.63 per gallon on January 15th up 29 cents per gallon from January 8th and compared with a five-year low of $0.92 per gallon on March 26th 2020. Concurrently gasoline at $1.52 per gallon (quoted, New York Harbor) is 11 cents per gallon higher than ethanol but has a 63 percent higher BTU rating.

 

With more plants producing ethanol in the 4th quarter of 2020 and into 2021, DDGS is freely available but at a higher price than in the fourth quarter of 2020. Eastern Corn-belt product was priced at $217 per ton on January 12th 2021, $9 per ton higher than the previous week (at 4.3 percent, DDGS was higher disproportionately than the 2.7 percent increase in the price of corn) and $58 per ton more expensive than January 14th 2020.

 

 Soybeans were the beneficiary of demand by China with price rising to 1,415 cents per bushel on January 15th for current month delivery. The USDA documented a 2021 crop of 4,135 million bushels. Ending stocks according to the January 12th 2021 WASDE projection will attain 140 million bushels, down from the December 2020 projection of 175 million bushels.

 

On January 12th 2021 Meat and Bone meal quoted Central U.S. attained $365 per ton, unchanged from the previous week and up $145 per ton from January 14th 2020.

 

On January 15th the BRL exchange with the CNY was 0.81, (down CNY 0.02 from the previous week). The conversion of the US$ to the CNY was set at 6.66 on January 15th, up a substantial CNY 0.18 from the previous week.

 

For consecutive calendar years 2017 through 2019 the U.S. supplied 34.4 percent of soybean requirements for China amounting to 95.5 million metric tons. This was followed by a decline to 16.9 percent of 88.5 million metric tons in 2018 and 16.6 percent of 88.0 million metric tons in 2019. The USDA anticipates that soybean imports by China will amount to 95 million metric tons during the 2020-2021 market year.

 

For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 2.1 million metric tons of corn from the U.S., 4.8 percent of total exports of 43.3 million tons, but 12 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year. The U.S. Grains Council documented sales of U.S. corn to China through December 31st 2020 during the 2020/2021 year amounting to 11.7 million metric tons (460 million bushels) with 65 percent yet to be shipped.

 

For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 16.3 million metric tons of soybeans from the U.S., 36.2 percent of total exports of 44.9 million metric tons, but 3.9 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year.

 

COMMENTS

Subscribers are referred to the January 12th 2021th WASDE #608 under the STATISTICS TAB. on

 

Approximately $16 billion was disbursed under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in early 2020. An additional $14 Billion relief package was announced by the Administration on September 18th with all of the allotment having been distributed.


 

Maple Leaf Foods Commits to U.S Tempeh Production

01/15/2021

Michael McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods has announced a $100 million project to expedite tempeh production under the Light Life ® brand. 

 

Plagued with delays in establishing the Shelbyville, IN plant-protein facility, the company has acquired an existing building of 120,000 square feet in Indianapolis that will be converted to produce 10,000 tons of tempeh annually.  Installation of equipment will commence during the first half of 2021.  Subject to demand, it is possible that Maple Leaf Foods may double the projected production capacity.

 


 

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs Appoints Director of Communications

01/14/2021

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs U.S.-RSP) and the International Poultry Welfare Alliance (IPWA) have announced the appointment of Candace Bergesch as the Director of Communications for both organizations that have a joint structure and shared goals.

 

In commenting on the appointment, Ms. Bergesch stated, "The U.S.-RSPE and IPWA have made great strides in sharing their advancements in poultry welfare and sustainability due in large part to a very committed group of members representing all facets of the value chain".  She added, "it is my commitment to build on their hard work with impactful communications that will bring the story of poultry and eggs sustainability forward in a meaningful and transparent way”.


Candace Bergesch

Ms. Bergesch was previously affiliated to the Osborne Barr Agency in St. Louis, representing the United Soybean Board and Novus International.


 

Argentina Backtracks on Corn Export Ban

01/14/2021
In mid-December the Government of Argentina imposed a ban on the export of corn.  The action was an attempt to retain corn for domestic consumption as human and livestock feed. This attempt to regulate commerce created a backlash from farmers who were deprived of the benefits of increasing corn prices on the international market.  Argentina desperately needs foreign exchange given the ongoing economic crisis precipitated by mishandling by the socialist government.

 


Argentine Farmers Protest Policy on exports

 

It is obvious that precipitously canceling exports would result in erosion of confidence among importing nations  currently depend on Argentina for their requirements of corn and soybean meal. Workers at soybean crushing plants and export terminals in the Port of Rosario recently returned to work after a strike in December extending into the current month. This action precipitated by inflation was partly responsible for a sharp rise in corn and soybeans on the CME demonstrating the interconnectivity of the World’s commodity markets. 

 

The government has now imposed a 30,000 metric ton cap on daily export sales of corn after rescinding the blanket ban. 


 

AEB Appoints Chief of Operations and Outreach

01/14/2021

The American Egg Board announced on January 12th that Mike Koenigs will assume the position of Chief of Operations and Outreach reporting directly to Emily Metz, President and CEO of AEB.  In his role, Koenigs will be responsible for AEB finance, human resources and outreach to egg producers, the food chain and allied industry.


Mike Koenigs AEB

In commenting on the appointment, Emily Metz stated, "implementation of the AEB new strategic vision and five-year plan SVFVP calls for ambitious changes to our operations and how we approach outreach.  Koenigs’ breadth of experience across industries, his deep expertise in agriculture, especially working with commodity marketing and promotional organizations making him an ideal choice to lead these transformations". 

 

Koenigs has an extensive background in the pork and dairy industry and was most recently Vice President at global PR agency Weber Shandwick, leading integrated counsel, strategy and support for major clients.


 

India Belatedly Reports Outbreaks of HPAI to OIE

01/14/2021

Despite the fact that media reports have indicated the presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza strain H5N8 in eight states with extensive losses, Dr. Atul Chaturvedi, the Secretary, of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries Animal Husbandry and Dairy of the Government of India officially reported on outbreaks confined to the state of Kerala on January 9, 2021.  The outbreaks in this State commenced on December 21st and were confirmed on January 4th. 2021.

 

The outbreaks have been widely publicized in eight affected states and predictably resulted in a sharp decline in consumption of both eggs and meat as is the traditional response to reports of avian influenza.  Although there is no evidence of infectivity among consumers from eggs or poultry meat from flocks infected with H5N8, it is a consistent observation that consumer resistance follows any rumor or report of avian influenza.  This has led to suppression of official notification of mortality in the high density areas of egg and broiler production in India complicating diagnosis and control measures.

 

Schadenfreude aside, it will be interesting to observe the effect of H5N8 outbreaks on the growing export market for eggs and egg products enjoyed by India especially to the Middle East and whether embargoes will generate opportunities for the Ukraine, Poland or even the U.S.


 

Questions over Organic Certification of Products from India

01/14/2021

On Monday November 11th the National Organic Program administered by the USDA-AMS announced that new regulations would be introduced to certify organic products supplied by India.  The Agricultural Marketing Services informed the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority that the U.S. - India organic recognition agreement established in 2006 will be terminated.  By mid-March 2021 USDA certifiers will list organic suppliers in India in a database confirming that suppliers have applied for certification under the National Organic Program.  After July 2022 USDA organic certification will only be recognized by USDA-accredited certifiers to importat organic products from India.

 

Organic producers in the U.S. purchasing ingredients from suppliers in India have the obligation to inform their suppliers that National Organic Program certification through a USDA-accredited certifier is absolutely required by July 12, 2021.

 


 

APHIS Organizes HPAI E.U.-Asia Update

01/14/2021

USDA-APHIS will present a webinar on Tuesday February 2nd at 11H00 EST to review the prevalence of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Europe and Eastern Asia.  In addition wild bird surveillance in the U.S. will be considered together with biosecurity.

 

The agenda will include an introduction from APHIS Associate Administrators Drs. Jack Shere and Mark Davidson. The program will include presentations on:-

  • HPAI in Europe and East Asia by Dr. Sherrilyn Wainwright

 

  • Wild bird surveillance in the U.S. by Dr. Tom Gidlewski, APHIS Wildlife Service

 

  • Poultry biosecurity audits in North Carolina by Dr. Michael Martin, NCDA

 

The invitation to attend was extended by Dr. Burke L. Healey, Deputy Administer of APHIS Veterinary Services.

 

Registration is at www.ems8.intellor.com

 


 

Alltech ONE Virtual Experience to feature 2021 Agri-Food Outlook

01/14/2021

The January session of the Alltech ONE Virtual Experience will feature the 2021 Agri-Food Outlook, exploring themes of trust, health, sustainability and inclusion, with insights supported by data from Alltech’s industry-leading surveys. Attendees are invited to explore the data and go beyond the numbers as Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech, will speak to industry experts about the trends shaping the future of agri-food. 

 

The session will highlight results from the 10th annual Alltech Global Feed Survey, which will once again serve as an invaluable barometer for the state of animal production. The annual Alltech Global Feed Survey is the strongest evaluation of compound feed production and prices in the industry and is the most complete data source of its kind. 

Complete survey results, including interactive graphs and maps, will be launched on the Alltech ONE Virtual Experience platform in conjunction with the session.

  

The program will be presented on Tuesday, January 26th 2021 08H00 EST 

 

 The 2021 Agri-Food Outlook presentation and survey data will be available through the Alltech ONE Virtual Experience. Register for the Alltech ONE Virtual Experience here.


Dr. Mark lyons CEO and president Alltech Inc.

 

Egg Week

01/13/2021

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, January 6th 2021.

 

  • Shell inventory was down 2.1 percent after a 7.8 percent increase last week. This indicates a move towards balance between demand and supply with implications for prices extending through the remainder of January, given a reasonable anticipation of a reduction in flock size by depletion. There is little evidence of a return in the food service sector as liquid and dried-egg prices fall and reopening of the economy is delayed by a surge in COVID-19 incidence rates in many regions suggesting more restrictions.
  • The U.S. flock in production was down 1.8 million from the week of January 5th 2021 to 322.1 million, with fewer molted hens resuming production due to depletion and a lower number of pullets reaching peak against the reality that there was no December increase in demand or price increase
  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were unchanged from the previous week at 78.5 and 76.5 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were unchanged at an average of 56.5 cents per dozen. For past weeks Midwest prices have sharply lagged both the corresponding weeks in 2019 and the 3-year average. It is apparent that unlike previous years the pre-Christmas rise failed to materialize.
  • The Midwest price of breaking stock was down 9.7 percent to an average of 36.5 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were unchanged at an average of 24.5 cents per dozen.

 

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports circulated on January 11th 2021 the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were unchanged on average from the previous week as delivered to DCs, attaining averages of 78.5 and 76.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were unchanged to an average of 56.5 cents per dozen reflecting an oversupply from young flocks. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing and transport) cost of 68.2 cents per dozen in December 2020. The progression of prices during 2018-2020 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The January 11th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 02) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $0.86 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending January 3rd 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $0.77 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $0.92 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was almost the same as the 3-year average and about 10 cents per dozen above the corresponding week in 2019.


 


WOTUS Rule in Limbo

01/12/2021

The Federal Clean Water Act of 1970 failed to define the term “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS). During the Obama administration, a new WOTUS Rule was proposed and was the subject of considerable litigation. Over the tenure of the current Administration the Navigable Waters Protection Rule replaced the 2015 version of WOTUS clearly defining waters subject to Federal jurisdiction.  These included territorial seas, tributaries of rivers, lakes and ponds and wetlands adjacent to waters subject to Federal jurisdiction.

 

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) justifiably excluded ground water and ephemeral water that would have created problems for the agricultural sector.  Since a flood of litigation followed publication of the 2020 Rule, there will obviously be revisions, but effected by a new Administration.

 

The conflict between environmentalists and those that grow our food and produce our goods will probably go on until the Mississippi evaporates.

 


 

Variant H1N2 Influenza Virus Detected in Patients in Brazil

01/12/2021

An influenza A strain H1N2 variant virus was detected in two individuals with a history of contact with hogs during mid-December 2020.  There is concern over the emergence of variants that circulate in commercial hogs that are susceptible to both mammalian and avian strains of avian influenza. Antigenic shift may occur in the viral genome when the infection circulates in large populations of livestock in close concentration and with deficient biosecurity. It is possible that mutations could result in a strain that is infectious among humans.  Authorities in Brazil are conducting surveillance with application of sequencing to detect the emergence of strains with a pandemic potential.

Possible emergence of pandemic strain by reassortment

 

Recall of Mushrooms in Canada

01/12/2021

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled Belle Grove Brand mushrooms produced by Monaghan Mushrooms of Campbellville, ONT.  The product had limited limited distribution in the Province of Ontario.

 

This is the first occasion that mushrooms have been involved in proliferation of Clostridium botulinum although the growth substrate may have been contaminated with spores of Botulinum  especially if horse manure was used in cultivation. Previous cases of listeriosis have been attributed to contaminated mushrooms.   

 

No report of illness has been received and in view of the fact that the use by date was January 15th, mushrooms that are highly perishable will have been consumed, discarded or recalled this week.


 

Albertsons to Test Robotic Pick-Up Kiosks

01/12/2021

Albertsons is testing a temperature-controlled pick-up module in a Chicago Jewel-Osco location.

 

To use the system customers will select a kiosk pick-up option on their online checkout and designate a time for collection.  By entering a code on the control panel of the module, pre-ordered groceries whether fresh, refrigerated or frozen are automatically delivered.


Cleveron Kiosk in the E.U.

The modules designed and fabricated by Cleveron are also under evaluation by Walmart and ASDA in the U.K.

 

Albertsons has sharply increased their number of curbside orders with 1,400 locations available representing more than half of 2,300 stores in thirty-four states.  Albertsons should have 2,000 click-and-collect centers in operation by the end of 2021.


 

USDA-WASDE FORECAST

01/12/2021

USDA-WASDE FORECAST #608 January 12th 2021

 

OVERVIEW

The January 12th 2021 USDA WASDE Report was updated from the December 2020 edition to reflect the 2021 season. There was no change in either corn or soybean harvest areas from the December 10th WASDE report but this may be altered by world prices and weather considerations. The corn acreage to be harvested is currently estimated at 82.5 million acres and soybeans will be harvested from 82.3 million acres.

 

The January 2021 WASDE estimate of corn yield was lowered 3.8 percent to 172.0 bushels per acre, (175.8 bushels per acre in 2020). The estimate of soybean yield was reduced 1.0 percent to 50.2 bushels per acre. (50.7 bushels per acre in 2020)

 

The January 2021 USDA projection for the ending stock of corn was reduced by 8.5 percent to 1,552 million bushels. Due to exports the ending stock for soybeans was reduced by 20.0 percent to 140 million bushels.

 

Projections for ending stocks of both corn and soybeans have influenced recent CME price quotations concurrently with increased exports to comply with the Phase-One trade agreement with China. The January 2021 WASDE projected the corn price to be $4.20 per bushel and soybeans at 1,115 cents per bushel.

 

It is accepted that projections are based on the assumption that China will not completely honor commitments that were disrupted during the first quarter of 2020 by COVID-19. China booked substantial orders for corn and soybeans to be delivered through August for the 2019-2020 market year in addition to large quantities booked from September onwards for the 2020-2021 market year. Reports on volumes of commodities exports to China will be included in upcoming editions of CHICK-NEWS and in subsequent mailings as data becomes available.


 


USDA Grain Stocks Report

01/12/2021

The USDA quarterly Grain Stocks Report released on January 12th documents storage of commodities produced in the U.S. classified according to on-site and remote facilities including elevators and commercial installations. Quantities of corn and soybeans, the two major crops relevant to poultry production were:-

 

“Corn stored in all positions on December 1st 2020 totaled 11.3 billion bushels, down slightly from December 1st 2019. Of the total stocks, 7.05 billion bushels are stored on farms, down 1 percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 4.28 billion bushels, are up 1 percent from a year ago. Indicated disappearance for September through November 2020 is 4.78 billion bushels, compared with 4.51 billion bushels during the same period last year”.

 

“Soybeans stored in all positions on December 1st 2020 totaled 2.93 billion bushels, down 10 percent from December 1st 2019. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 1.31 billion bushels, down 14 percent from a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 1.62 billion bushels, are down 6 percent from last December. Indicated disappearance for September through November 2020 totaled 1.73 billion bushels, up 43 percent from the same period a year earlier.


 

Costco Wholesale Reports on December 2020 Sales

01/11/2021

Costco, regarded as a barometer of consumer demand, posted a 12.3 percent increase in sales for the five week period ending January 3rd 2021.  Total sales attained $19.14 billion, up from $17.04 billion in December 2019.  Costco Wholesale recorded successively monthly year-over-year increases over the corresponding months of 2019 amounting to16.9 percent in September, 15.9 percent in October, and 15.1 percent in November.

 

Comparable-club sales in December 2020 rose by 10.9 percent, excluding the impact of fuel and foreign exchange.  U.S. sales increased by 11 percent, excluding fuel, leading Canada at 5.7 percent although international increased by 15.8 percent. 

 

E-commerce sales increased by 62.5 percent, including the impact of foreign exchange.  Comparable club sales were lower during the preceding three individual months demonstrating a decline from 15.5 percent in September to 13.4 percent in November.

 


 

Incoming Biden Administration to Intensify Oversight of Environmental Pollution

01/11/2021

In a public address on December 19th National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, previously a Director of the EPA in the Administration of President Obama, outlined changes at the EPA effected during the current Administration.  She noted that approximately 600 scientists left the agency during the four-year period in critical areas including climate change, public health and enforcement.

 

President Elect Biden has committed to decarbonizing the Nation’s electric generation by 2035 and ultimately achieving net-zero U.S. greenhouse gas emission by 2050.  The U.S. will rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.


Gina McCarthy

 

It would appear that priorities will be directed towards pollution from industry and power generation. Ethanol policy of the EPA and the Department of Energy in the incoming Administration is as yet unknown, although it is expected that current practice of diverting corn to biofuel will continue. The issue of enforcing refinery waivers will be considered by the Supreme Court in the current session.

 

The U.S. egg production industry should recognize a more active EPA from 2021 onwards with implications for stricter control of water and air quality from concentrated animal feeding operations. 


 

EGG-NEWS Welcomes QC Supply as Sponsor

01/10/2021

QC Supply headquartered in Schuyler, NE. has emerged as a single-source for the poultry industry west of the Rockies.  The company was founded in 1982 by Lonnie Kitt, operating out of a garage in his hometown.  QC Supply has now grown to a network of 27 locations in 14 states.

 

Serving as a single source solution QC Supply connects customers with the equipment they need to maintain efficient production.  The Company mission to “ensure the sustainability and livelihood of the American Family Farmer” keeps the Company focused on the markets they serve. Over 40 years of operation, QC Supply has earned the goodwill and confidence of the farming community through honesty, accountability, teamwork and service.  QC Supply represents the Nation’s most important manufacturers including nine sponsors of this newsletter.

 

A seamless-solutions approach is applied in the QC business model linking farmers, integrators and manufacturers. Equipment categories supplied and installed by QC Supply include feeding and extending from bin to beak; watering installations, heating and ventilation components including fans, louvers, control systems; biosecurity supplies and building components including lighting, plumbing, and curtains.  QC Supply stocks a range of items to promote health of flocks including rodent control, medicators, and syringes. The Company owns CASCO Products, that manufactures several efficacious cleaning and disinfecting products for livestock and poultry.

 

In response to expansion in the poultry industry, QC Supply developed a turnkey solution capable of addressing projects ranging in size from $50,000 to more than $300 million with general contracting services in 14 states. QC Supply offers planning and design, construction and schedule management. The Company participates in project startup and offers services and support to achieve benefits from advanced installations. QC Supply served as the general contractor for the Tyson expansion at the Union City broiler complex.

 

For additional information on the range of products and services, access the QC Supply website on the right side of the welcome page or phone 1-(800) 433 6340.


 

Albertsons Companies to Suspend Delivery and Rely on Third Party Contractors

01/10/2021

Albertsons Companies that encompasses Safeway, Vons and other banners will lay off delivery drivers and provide service through DoorDash effective March 1st. This Company is now a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize, parent of competing supermarket chains including Stop-and-Shop and Food Lion in the U.S., potentially creating a conflict.

 

According to an Albertsons company spokesperson, “the decision will allow us to compete in the growing home delivery market more effectively.”

 

The decision, essentially running contrary to the policies of other major chains to maintain curbside service and home delivery was possibly facilitated by passage of California Proposition #22 on November 3rd.

 

The commitment to DoorDash by Albertsons Companies has engendered criticism from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.  Their president Marc Perrone stated, “Exploiting the passage of Proposition #22 to destroy the good-paying jobs of these dedicated frontline workers in the middle of a public health crisis is simply wrong.”

 

 


 

FSNS Appoints SVP for Science, Quality, and Training

01/10/2021

Dr. Nandini Natrhan has been appointed as Senior Vice President for Science, Quality, and Training. Dr. Natrhan earned a doctorate in food science from North Carolina State University and a masters degree in the same field from the University of Delaware.

 

Previous to her appointment, Dr. Natrhan was Senior Director of Science Operations for Keystone Foods. She has extensive experience in microbiology and analytical systems and has served on a number of advisory committees relating to the food industry.

 

John Bellinger, CEO of FSNS, stated “As our SVP of Science, Quality, and Training, Dr. Natrhan brings a wealth of experience and knowledge and we are fortunate to have her join the FSNS team.”


 

FreshDirect Integrated into Ahold Delhaize

01/10/2021

Ahold Delhaize has completed the acquisition of FreshDirect, an online grocery delivery company functioning in seven Northeast states including major metropolitan areas. 

 

Frans Miller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, commented “We are pleased that we can definitively welcome FreshDirect to our family of great local brands.”  He added, “We are looking forward to working with our new FreshDirect colleagues.” 

 

FreshDirect has operated for two decades offering home delivery.  With the advent of COVID-19, FreshDirect introduced a two-hour service in New York City subsequently extended to contiguous areas.

 

CEO of FreshDirect David McInerney will continue to lead the company.  He stated “Ahold Delhaize will build on FreshDirect’s success ensuring the continued growth of our company while creating synergy and maintaining the uniqueness of the brand.”  McInerney paid tribute to investment companies Centerbridge, Brightwood Advisors, Maverick Capital, and W Capital Partners who have supported the company.

 

FreshDirect will be supported by Peapod Digital Labs, a subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize and will contribute to the expansion of the Company omnichannel strategy in the U.S. that includes 1,400 existing pick-up locations competing with services offered by Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger.


 

Change in Egg Products Export Procedures

01/10/2021

According to an advisory in the January 11th USAPEEC MondayLine the latest Egg Products Final Rule has repositioned egg products under the 9000.1 Directive common to meat and poultry exports.  This will require changes in documentation with use of the 9060-6 Health Certificate.

 

USAPEEC will provide guidance on the changes by contacting <jmurphy@usapeec.org>.


 

HPAI in Senegal

01/10/2021

According to a January 8th 2021 posting on ProMED Mail officials in Senegal reported to the OIE an outbreak of H5N1 strain highly pathogenic avian influenza on a farm in Thies, near Dakar.  Approximately half of the 100,000-hen flock died with the remainder of 1st and 2nd cycle hens depleted by January 3rd. The outbreak was investigated on December 23rd 2020 and was confirmed by PCR on December 30th by the Department of Agriculture Veterinary Laboratory in the capital Dakar.

 

There was no indication of the source of the infection presumed to be migratory birds.

 

A previous outbreak of HPAI H5N1 in West Africa occurred in Togo, resulting in extensive depletion of flocks.


 

Conagra Brands Post Q2 Results

01/10/2021

On January 7th Conagra Brands Inc. (CAG) reported results for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 ending November 29th 2020.  For the quarter, net sales increased by 6.2 percent to $2.995 billion.  Net income increased 45.4 percent to $378.9 million and EPS advanced by a proportional amount to $0.77.  The company paid down $2.3 billion in long-term debt and anticipates adjusted EPS for the third quarter of fiscal 2021 to attain a range of $0.56 to $0.60.

 

The Grocery and Snacks segment posted a 12.5 percent increase in net sales with an operating profit of $316 million.  For the Refrigerated and Frozen foods segment, net sales increased by 6.8 percent and operating profit increased to $264 million.  The International segment achieved a 6.6 percent increase in sales with an operating profit of $40 million.  Consistent with COVID-19 restrictions the Foodservice segment experienced a net sales decrease of 23.1 percent and operating profit declined to $22 million.

 

Conagra Brands has a market capitalization of $16.65 billion and has traded over the past fifty-two weeks in a range of $22.83 to $38.34 with a 50-day moving average of $35.81.

 

The company has generated a twelve-month trailing operating margin of 17.8 percent and a profit margin of 9.7 percent.  CAG achieved a return on assets of 5.7 percent and 13.8 percent on equity.


 

Weekly Commodity Report

01/08/2021

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: JANUARY 8th 2020.

 

  • The financial and economic uncertainties of transition to a Biden-Harris Administration are diminishing but the impact of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate. The commodity market this past week was influenced by exports.

 

  • The direction of agricultural and trade policy to be implemented in 2021 will emerge following the confirmation of Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary and Michael Regan as the Administrator of the EPA together with other Cabinet appointments and their subordinates relevant to agriculture.  Following the result of the January 5th Georgia runoff elections for the Senate, the nominees by President-elect Biden will likely be approved.

 

  • U.S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers are paying close to $5.00 per bushel for corn and $13.80 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis.

 

  • Corn and soybeans were respectively 10.4 percent and 4.9 percent above the previous week representing the highest levels in three years. Soybean meal rose by 2.5 percent, reflecting the rise in the price of soybeans. Factors influencing prices this past week included export orders, projected ending stocks, and anticipation of the January 12th WASDE Report.

 

  • According to the USDA FAS Export Report for the week ending December 31st 2020 export orders for corn amounted to 748,900 metric tons (29.7 million bushels) with 1.03 million metric tons (40.5 million bushels) actually shipped. Over the past week export orders for soybeans attained 37,000 metric tons (1.4 million bushels) with 1.86 metric tons (68.2 million bushels) actually shipped.

 

The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 14H30 on January 8th 2021 compared with values posted at close of trading on December 31st 2020  (in parentheses) reflecting specified months in 2021 for delivery.

 

 

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

 March 497      (450)      

May    498

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

 Jan.   1,378  (1,314)

March  1,377  (1310)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

 Jan.     445       (434)

March     440     (429)

 

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

 

COMMODITY    CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK

Corn:                  March quotation up 47 cents per bushel         (+10.4 percent)

Soybeans:         Jan.  quotation up 64 cents per bushel             (+4.9 percent )

Soybean Meal: Jan. quotation up $11 per ton                             (+2.5 percent )

 

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

 

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

 

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 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

 

This week the changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal would raise nest-run production cost for eggs by 2.6 cents per dozen and for broilers 1.5 cents per live pound. Over the past two weeks escalation in the price of major ingredient have added 4.9 cents per dozen and 2.8 cents per liveweight lb.

 

According to the December 10th WASDE, corn harvested in calendar 2020 will attain 14,507 million bushels with ending stocks projected at 1,702 million bushels. Final values will be modified by export volume and domestic use and the January 12th WASDE. Compared with December 31st., at 14H30 the CME quotation for corn on January 8th was up 47 cents per bushel for March delivery to 497 cents.

 

The social restrictions imposed in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 will reduce ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons or 10 percent of projected 2020 requirement accepting a nominal ten percent addition to gasoline. A significant proportion of the U.S. ethanol fermentation capacity is off-line or operating at lower than capacity at present and the outlook for increased demand is questionable. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency the industry produced on average 935,000 barrels per day for the week ending December 31st. Ethanol stocks stood at 23.3 million barrels on January 1st 2021. Ethanol was priced at $1.34 per gallon on January 8th unchanged from December 31st and compared with a five-year low of $0.92 per gallon on March 26th. Concurrently gasoline at $1.50 per gallon (quoted, New York Harbor) is 8 cents per gallon higher than ethanol but has a 63 percent higher BTU rating.  

 

With more plants producing ethanol in the 4th quarter, DDGS is now available but at a higher price than in the third quarter. Eastern Corn-belt product was priced at $208 per ton on January 6th 2021,  $4 per ton higher than the previous week and $53 per ton more expensive than January 7th 2019.

 

 Soybeans are the beneficiary of demand by China with price rising to 1,378 cents per bushel on January 8th for current month delivery. The USDA documented a 2020 crop of 4,170 million bushels. Ending stocks according to the December 10th WASDE projection will attain 175 million bushels, down from the November projection of 190 million bushels.

 

On January 6th 2021 Meat and Bone meal quoted Central U.S. attained $365 per ton, up $15 per ton from the previous week and up $145 per ton from January 7th 2020.

 

On January 8th the BRL exchange with the CNY was 0.83, (down CNY 0.04 from the previous week). The conversion of the US$ to the CNY was set at 6.48 on January 8th, up CNY 0.05            from the previous week.

 

For consecutive calendar years 2017 through 2019 the U.S. supplied 34.4 percent of soybean requirements for China amounting to 95.5 million metric tons. This was followed by a decline to 16.9 percent of 88.5 million metric tons in 2018 and 16.6 percent of 88.0 million metric tons in 2019. The USDA anticipates that soybean imports by China will amount to 95 million metric tons during the 2020-2021 market year.

 

For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 2.1 million metric tons of corn from the U.S., 4.8 percent of total exports of 43.3 million tons, but 12 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year. The U.S. Grains Council documented sales of U.S. corn to China through December 31st 2020 in the 2020/2021 year amounting to 11.7 million metric tons (460 million bushels) with 65 percent yet to be shipped.

 

For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 16.3 million metric tons of soybeans from the U.S., 36.2 percent of total exports of 44.9 million metric tons, but 3.9 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year.

 

 

COMMENTS

 

Subscribers are referred to the December 10th WASDE #607 under the STATISTICS TAB. The January WASDE will be reviewed in the next Edition

 

Approximately $16 billion was disbursed under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) in early 2020. An additional $14 Billion relief package was announced by the Administration on September 18th with all of the allotment having been distributed.


 

EPA Rule on Scientific Research Takes Effect

01/08/2021

A controversial rule that would allow the EPA to reject research in which raw data was not disclosed took effect on January 7th as a heritage of the outgoing Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, previously a coal lobbyist.

 

Promoted as ‘progress in transparency’, the Rule would have enabled EPA to selectively discount and ignore studies involving human populations in which confidentiality of data was necessary.  Of specific concern is extensive research on the level of exposure to pollutants that may result in clinical or other health effects.  By stripping away confidentiality, recruiting of participants for future epidemiologic studies would be hampered.  The principal objective of the Rule was to provide a justification for EPA administrators to enjoin their scientists from considering published peer-reviewed and credible human research  in decisions concerning water and air pollution from chemical plants.

 


EPA Administrator Matthew Wheeler

Quoted in Science, Rep Paul Tonko (D-NY) stated the need to “reverse corrupt rule making and restore the principles of science and public health at the EPA” The Rule may be short-lived as it is possible to nullify rules in accordance with the Congressional Review Act requiring a simple majority in the House and Senate and approval by the President, a future reality.


 

GI-OVO Appoints Asia-Pacific Representative

01/08/2021

GI-OVO has appointed Jerry Yap as Senior Sales Manager for Asia-Pacific region.  In his new role, Jerry will work with colleagues in Holland to promote the EggsCargoSystem and related products.

 

Jerry will be located in Kuala-Lumpur, Malaysia and will travel to established clients in his region.

 


 

American Humane Certifies Three Egg-Production Companies

01/07/2021

The Winter Newsletter of the American Humane Association notes that three egg producers have been certified under the Association program.  These include

 

  • MPS Egg Farm, a six-generation cage-free producer <www.mpfseggfarms.com>
  • Supreme Egg Products of Ontario, Canada producing a range of pasteurized liquid eggs and hard cooked products
  • Wayne County Eggs, located in Manhattan, KS. established in 2016 as a wholesaler and distributor

To qualify for the American Humane Certified Seal, applicants undergo comprehensive, science-based third-party audits to verify compliance with American Human certified standards with regard to housing and management.


From left to right, Dan, Bob and Sam Krouse
MPS Egg Farm

 

Commercial Flocks Infected with H5N8 in Germany and France

01/07/2021

A number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza have occurred in the nations of the E.U. all attributed to H5N8 avian influenza shed by migratory waterfowl. 

 

Reuters reports that separate cases of H5N8 avian influenza as confirmed by the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, occurred in a turkey grow-out unit and a duck farm near Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony.  It is unknown whether the duck farm used free-range management that would expose flocks to infection.  It is likely that the turkey operation used confined housing.

 

Authorities in France have announced preemptive culling of 400,000 commercial waterfowl in a replay of the 2017 epornitic.  According to Reuters three quarters of the sixty-one diagnosed outbreaks of avian influenza in late 2020 have occurred in the Landes region with a high concentration of duck and goose farms. Approximately 200,000 ducks and geese have been depleted in this ongoing outbreak. 

 

France is the only nation in the E.U. that has exercised preemptive slaughter, presumably with compensation.  Given that this ‘control’ measure was carried out only two years ago it is questioned whether vaccination might be a more financially and epidemiologically acceptable alternative notwithstanding the export implications.

 

 

 


Location of Cloppenberg, Upper Saxony, Germany

Location of the Landes Region in Costal France

 


 

Registration open for UEP January Virtual Meetings

01/07/2021

UEP’s January meetings will be virtual as we continue to focus on advocacy, collaboration and information sharing for our members.

 

The January 25 meetings will include the status of UEP’s 2020-2025 strategic priorities and key committee briefings and are open to all UEP and UEA members and industry stakeholders. The UEP Board Meeting is on January 26 and open to UEP members only.

 

Both meetings will be held on Zoom, and registration is required. Confirmations with unique meeting links will be emailed after registration. Please contact Audrey Wierson, awierson@unitedegg.com, with questions about the meetings or registration.

 

Monday, January 25th

Open to all UEP and UEA members and industry stakeholders

 

Opening Comments and Strategic Priorities
Environmental Issues Briefing and Committee Meeting Government Relations Issues Briefing and Committee Meeting Food Safety Issues Briefing and Committee Meeting
Animal Welfare Issues Briefing and Committee Meeting

 

 

Tuesday, January 26th

Open to UEP Members Only

Click here to register 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Board Meeting


 

Ascending Incidence of HPAI in Migratory Birds and Poultry in India

01/07/2021

According to a January 4th report on ProMed Mail the Conservator for Wildlife in the Pong wetlands in Himachal Pradesh (State reported on the death of over 1,800 bar-headed geese with sporadic mortality in teals, terns and other species. The Pong wetlands are home to over 100,000 birds of 114 species. Avian influenza is suspected but laboratory investigations are in progress.


Bar-headed Goose

Futility

In April 2005 an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza occurred in geese on Qinghai Lake in Western China.  Bar-headed geese migrate along the Central Asian Flyway from China to India.

 

In a related outbreak, the State governments of Rajasthan, Madhya, Kerala and Himalchal have reported avian influenza in free-living birds and in commercial poultry in high density ‘poultry belts.’ These are characterized by ineffective or non-existent biosecurity with farms in close proximity served by common feed mills. The widespread distribution of HPAI has resulted in consumer rejection of birds in wet markets, reducing unit revenue in the face of escalating feed prices. Fear of HPAI has impacted the share prices of chicken producers including Venky’s that fell sharply during the first week of January.

Depletion following HPAI


 

Herbruck’s 2020 Egg Donations

01/07/2021

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch donated over 4,600 cases of eggs (1.66 million) in 2020 to provide nutritious food for families in need in the locations where they operate.  Herbruck’s usually donates a million eggs each year to charities including the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Feeding America-West Michigan and now to Mercersburg Pennsylvania.


from left to right. Greg, Steve and Harry "Herb" Herbruck

Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch is a fourth-generation family farm based in Saranac MI. with locations in Indiana and Pennsylvania. For additional information access www.herbrucks.com


 

Eggland's Best Announces Winner of 2020 Recipe Contest

01/06/2021

Eggland’s Best declared Leah L. of Oklahoma the Grand Prize Winner in the annual recipe competition for her cardamon pecan-crusted blackberry streusel mascarpone bars.

 

In receiving the reward, Leah stated, "it's an incredible honor to be named the Grand Prize Winner in the Eggland's Best America's Best Family Recipe Contest.  This dessert evokes fond memories of my daughters picking blackberries with my mama and eating pecans with my dad".  She added, "I have found that Eggland's Best eggs make the best curd-type fillings and cheesecakes, and their freshness and taste make all my baked goods even more delicious".

 

Recipes were judged on taste, creativity and the inspiration behind the recipe.  The competition was judged on tiers comprising regions with Best-in-State winners selected by consumers voting on the Eggland's Best website.  The winning recipe can be accessed on <www.egglandsbest.com/recipe>.


 

Baltic Nations Implicate Salmonella in Imported Shell eggs

01/05/2021

A recent report from Lithuania confirms that 38,000 ten-egg cartons were recalled as a result of contamination with Salmonella.  Eggs were supplied by Ovostar, the second largest egg producer in the Ukraine following an E.U. Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. Over the past year, the State Food and Veterinary Services of Lithuania has conducted intensive store-level sampling of eggs that detected one positive out of 198 samples examined.  The Authority also sampled 311 batches for drug residue. 


Ovostar Complex Ukraine

Latvia, with a population of 2.2 million has one significantly large producer, Balcovo, with 2.8 million hens plus numerous small independent producers.  The Agriculture Minister for Latvia, Kaspars Gerards, has requested the European Commission to insist that rules regarding production and safety should be followed with direct reference to the Ukraine that is not a member of the EU, but is allowed tariff concessions. 

 

Ovostar Union, an investor group distributing Ovostar products, has complained about negative publicity maintaining that since 2013, their health and safety precautions are equivalent to EU standards.  In 2019, close to 20 million dozen eggs were exported to the EU by the Ukraine.  The current recall was attributed to the presence of Salmonella Coeln, a rare serotype that is not generally regarded as vertically transmitted.  It is noted that in the EU it is not general practice to wash eggs and accordingly fecal contamination as a result of intestinal colonization with Salmonella may be reflected in outbreaks of salmonellosis among consumers if there are deficiencies in handling and preparation of egg dishes.

 

Estonia, a Baltic neighbor of Latvia with 1.3 million population, is a net importer of eggs.  In 2018 the largest producer, Sanlind OU depopulated 200,000 hens as a result of SE.

 

Outbreaks of salmonellosis have occurred previously among the Baltic nations.  In 2015, SE resulted in 187 cases among 42 teams attending the Riga Cup skating competition.  This outbreak concurrently involved 214 cases in seven nations and was traced to eggs supplied by Poland.


 

Efficacy of the Moderna Vaccine

01/05/2021

A publication in the New England Journal of Medicine* confirmed an overall 94.1 percent efficacy rate in protecting volunteers from COVID-19 in a Phase-3 trial.  The data was evaluated by the FDA and CDC and the vaccine is now in distribution under experimental use authorization. The Moderna product, m-RNA-1273, is a lipid-nanoparticle-encapsulated mRNA vaccine expressing the perfusion-stabilized spike glycoprotein developed jointly by Moderna and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

 

It is noted that despite media reports of rapid development of the vaccine under the WarpSpeed program, the basic research on developing m-RNA spike glycoprotein vaccines dates back to 2002 initiated during the SARS outbreak.  Those questioning the speed of development should be assured that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on sound concepts and research and were not the product of accelerated development in response to either epidemiologic or political pressure.

 

The Phase-3 trial of the Moderna vaccine was launched in July 2020 to assess safety and efficacy and involved 30,420 volunteers divided equally among placebo and vaccinated treatments.  The placebo comprised 0.5 ml of saline.  The vaccine was administered as 0.5 ml of an aqueous suspension of 100 micrograms of the encapsulated mRNA product.  The Moderna vaccine requires storage at 35F to 46 F (refrigerator temperature) and is stable for eight hours at room temperature facilitating administration in remote locations. 

Of the candidates enrolled, approximately 14,100 in each category completed the sequence of an initial vaccine and a booster at 28 days after the initial administration.  Among the placebo group, there were 185 symptomatic cases of COVID-19 confirmed by RT-PCR assay. Within the vaccinates, 11 cases were confirmed, yielding an efficiency of 94.1 percent.  Among the placebo group, there were 30 serious cases of COVID-19 and one fatality.  There were no serious cases among the vaccinates.  There was a wide range of demographic characteristics at baseline among the volunteers.  Results were subdivided among ages with categories aged 18 to 65 and above 65; those at risk for severe consequences of COVID-19, male and female, and white versus communities of color.  The lowest level of protection was 86.4 among those aged 65 years and older, irrespective of risk of contracting COVID-19.  The highest level of protection was 97.5 percent among communities of color.

 

Since production of the Moderna vaccine is now scaling up in volume the challenge will be to administer the product at a rate equivalent to delivery to distribution centers.

 

*Baden, L.R. et al. Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-Co-V-2 Vaccine. New England Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa2035389. December 30, 2020.


 

Fifth Round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program Announced

01/05/2021

Based on funding included in the COVID-19 relief package passed December 21st, 2020 but delayed in enactment, the USDA will embark on a fifth round of Farmers to Families Food Box distribution. This phase is valued at $1.5 billion in purchases of food from suppliers.  Over 240 organizations previously operating under the Basic Ordering Agreements will be invited to participate with contracts awarded by January 19th and deliveries executed through the end of April.

 

The basic ordering agreement will be modified to allow inclusion of seafood products that will be eligible for inclusion along with precooked beef, pork, chicken and turkey products and eggs and egg products.  A wide range of cheeses will also be allowed.

 

The four previous programs representing 132 million boxes were criticized for inefficiency, selectivity and wastage in many areas of the Nation.  The provision of food to needy families could have been effected by simply increasing the allocations under the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program without the cost associated with middleman and cardboard boxes and the inconvenience of having to collect food at distribution centers. Recipients could have obtained their requirements from participating supermarkets and groceries. This would have allowed them the opportunity to choose products that were needed by their families. 

 

The initial Farmers to Families Food Box Program was developed in response to an immediate need for assistance and the reality that many farmers had excess produce that would otherwise have been wasted.  The program far outgrew its original intent when the White House recognized the potential for political gain from producers, contractors and ultimately recipients.


 

Political Interference in the Development of Dietary Guidelines

01/05/2021

On January 4th Politico reported on lobbying, influencing recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee responsible for compilation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  It is understood that following representations made by representatives of the alcohol industry, the definition of ‘moderate drinking’ was retained at two drinks per day instead of one per day as recommended.  The Sugar Lobby was responsible for retention in the 2020-2025 Guideline that 10 percent of calories could be derived from added sugar.  The Advisory Committee suggested a maximum of six percent of caloric intake from added sugar.

 

Obviously in compiling the guidelines, it was not possible to satisfy every constituency.  Advocates for plant-based diets consider that there were insufficient restrictions on animal-derived protein.  Some groups promoting low-carbohydrate diets suggest that higher intakes of fat have led to obesity and metabolic disease.


 

Simmons Pet Food to Establish Plant in Dubuque, IA.

01/02/2021

On December 18th, the city of Dubuque announced that Simmons Pet Food Inc. will convert and expand an existing plant to process and can pet food.  Simmons will invest $80 million over a three-year period on the existing 250,000 square foot plant  that is currently inactive. It is intended to extend the facility by 90,000 square feet with a new receiving area, freezer and warehouse.

 

David Jackson, COO of Simmons Foods stated “Equipment installation will begin in early 2021 with completion of the first phase scheduled by July 1st.”

Kansas Pet Food Plant erected
by Simmons 2019

 

Simmons is expected to receive Iowa Economic Development Authority incentives including tax credits, job training funds and other concessions. Obviously Simmons is taking advantage of the availability of meat byproducts and possibly spent hens in Iowa for their production requirements.


 

Extensive Recall of Dog Food Contaminated with Aflatoxin

01/01/2021

The FDA has announced a recall of dog food produced by Midwestern Pet Foods as a result of fatality and illness diagnosed as aflatoxicosis.  The Missouri Department of Agriculture ascertained the presence of "very high levels" of aflatoxin in feeds produced by the company. Investigations are in progress, but the ingredient responsible, presumably corn has not been identified. Major outbreaks of aflatoxicosis in dogs required feed recalls in 2006, 2012 and September 2020. 

 

Dogs are highly susceptible to aflatoxin with a threshold toxic dose range of 0.5 to 1.5 mg per Kg of body weight.  This would be associated with feed levels of 200 to 500 ppb and proportionally higher levels in corn or other contaminated ingredients incorporated into commercial feed. Dogs are also vulnerable to toxicity since a large container of contaminated feed may be the sole diet fed over successive weeks contributing to hepatic damage.

 

An evident problem relating to recalls for toxicity or deficiency in pet foods relates to the multiplicity of brand names applied to packaging of common product from a single plant.  In the present case involving a December 31st recall, three brands of Sportmix products were implicated. In previous cases, a single plant producing both premixes or complete feed was responsible for a significant number of brand recalls. This emphasises the need for traceability through the entire chain of production from ingredients through to finished products, distributed through pet stores, supermarkets and E-commerce.

 

Assay of corn, DDGS and other vegetable ingredients should be assayed for the presence of mycotoxins as a component of the plant HACCP plan using


 

Dietary Guidelines for Americans Favors Eggs

12/31/2020

The recently released published USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans has stressed the need for adequate nutrients for babies and toddlers.

 

Dr. Mickey Rubin, Executive Director of the American Egg Board, Egg Nutrition Center commented, "as a nutrition scientist and a dad, I know this is important news for parents”.  Rubin stressed the contribution of eggs to diets including choline required for brain development during pregnancy and after birth.  The Guidelines also recommends the inclusion of eggs in diets for babies to reduce the risk of allergies.  The Guidelines also stress the need for adequate nutrition for teenagers and adolescents with respect to choline, protein and vitamins.

 


 

U.K. Regulators Approve AstraZeneca Vaccine

12/31/2020

The adenovirus-based vector vaccine for COVID produced by AstraZeneca is based on research conducted by the University of Oxford. Despite questions as to the most efficacious dose level and the interval between primer and booster, the product was approved by the U.K. Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.

 

Although the AstraZeneca vaccine did not achieve the +90 percent level of protection in Phase-3 trials as the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, authorities allowed provisional registration based on a modification of the dose schedule. The second dose will be administered close to twelve weeks after the initial priming vaccination.

 

Advantages of the AstraZeneca vaccine involve low cost, possibly in the region of $3 per dose, and ease of storage, transport and handling since the vaccine will be held at conventional refrigeration temperature.

 

The decision to deploy the vaccine was in part based on the ascending incidence rate in the UK possibly associated with the variant that is apparently more infectious.  A second motivation is to have the vaccine available for developing nations especially in Africa where it has been successfully tested. There is a great need to protect populations in high-density areas with minimal health resources.

 

Dr. Andrew Pollard of Oxford University characterized the vaccine of which he was one of the developers as "a vaccine for the world".  AstraZeneca indicated that it would have up to three billion doses available by the end of 2021.  It is intended to track the response of recipients and adjust dosing regimens as indicated by results.


 

Novavax to Initiate Phase-3 COVID Vaccine Trial in the U.S.

12/31/2020

Novavax has announced that it has commenced recruitment of 30,000 subjects for a placebo-controlled trial at 108 U.S. sites.  The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine candidate comprises a suspension of nanoparticles carrying the spike protein of SARS-COV-2.  This protein sub-unit vaccine is similar in principle to the Sanofi Pasteur product that has also received U.S. funding.  The Novavax vaccine incorporates saponin as an adjuvant.  Initial results from a human trial in the U.K. were “promising” although data on efficacy and safety have not been published.

 

Novavax is far behind both Pfizer and Moderna, both having received FDA approval with approximately 12 million doses released and 2.5 million administered by the end of December 2020. 

 

Recruitment of up to 30,000 volunteers for the Novavax product will be difficult given that most potential candidates would opt for vaccination with one of the two products available and scheduled for administration during the first quarter of 2021.  Participation in the trial would obviously prevent volunteers from receiving either of the available FDA-approved vaccines. In addition, half of the group that will receive the placebo will be vulnerable and those in the sub-unit vaccine group may remain in a questionable immune status.

 


 

USDA and HHS Release Dietary Guidelines for Americans

12/31/2020

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, jointly published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services was released on December 29th.  Published at five-year intervals the Guideline provides recommendations for healthy dietary practices covering a range of ages.

 

Guidelines incorporated in the document are based on scientific principles and are used by dieticians, healthcare professionals and also form the basis of federal nutrition initiatives and policy.

 

The Guideline was developed by an advisory committee and incorporates comments from the public, academia and federal agencies. Generally guidelines are subject to both criticism and acceptance as the interests of advocacy groups are either denied or supported.

 

The Guideline advocates limiting foods and beverages high in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium.  The Guideline promotes a healthy dietary pattern for all life stages.  Nutrient-dense foods from the five groups comprising vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and proteins are promoted with limitation on caloric and alcohol intake.

 

Additional information on the Guideline is available at www.myplate.gov

 


 

Unintended Consequences of California Proposition #22

12/30/2020

The passage of California Proposition #22 was intended to improve the remuneration of independent contractors comprising the Gig Economy. 

 

In accordance with the legislation, workers will receive a partial health-care stipend subject to performing 15 hours a week in delivery service.  For a full stipend, workers are required to spend 25 hours per week in “engaged” time, not including time spent driving without an assigned delivery.  There are no allowances for time-off due to illness. 

 

GrubHub reduced the default tip charge of 20 percent to zero, but added an additional benefit fee of $1.50 to each order in California.  The money raised is assigned to a central pool for qualified recipients. Effectively this will limit the number of drivers expected to be eligible for an allocation. Drivers maintain that the changes introduced by GrubHub and other delivery companies effectively negate the benefits projected from Proposition #22.

 


 

Russia Reports on Newcastle Disease in Backyard Farm

12/30/2020

Dr. Nikolay Valsov, Deputy Head of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, of the Russian Federation Ministry of Agriculture, reported to the World Veterinary Health Organization (OIE)on an isolated outbreak of vvND in the Republic of Chechnya.

 

The epidemiologic and commercial significance of this outbreak is unknown, but the episode suggests that vvND is present in Chechnya and based on reports over the past three years, may well be endemic in the Russian Federation.  It appears that Russian officialdom only reports outbreaks in small flocks. Annual company reports may tell a different story.

 


 

Patient Contracts H5N6 AI in China—Lessons for the U.S.?

12/30/2020

Xinhua, the official news agency of China, reported on a case of H5N6 avian influenza in a patient who visited a Ningyuan live bird market before onset of clinical signs resulting in hospitalization.  Local live poultry trading was suspended in Ningyuan County in Hunan Province.  Eight large urban farmers’ markets together with 44 farmers’ markets in small towns.  in the county have been depopulated and are undergoing cleaning before reopening.

 

This pattern of responding to outbreaks of avian influenza has characterized the live-bird marketing system in China for two decades. When human cases are identified markets are closed, stock is depleted followed by “disinfection”. With the building of consumer and political pressure markets are reopened and the cycle begins again. China will only be free of avian influenza among consumers when a decision is made to eliminate the sale of live birds in urban areas. The transmission of avian strains of influenza to humans requires mutations and the marketing system therefore has the potential to generate a pandemic strain.

 

By the same token why does the U.S. tolerate live bird markets in our cities? Why are state and local officials providing services and expending resources on monitoring facilities patronized by ethnic groups? Why do we support a system that exposes our domestic commercial flocks to the risk of avain influenza and place in jeopardy our chicken exports representing 16 percent of RTC output?


 




































































































































































































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