Egg Industry News



As the January 19th edition is compiled the following items are of interest to subscribers of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS

  • The Cliff-hanger Budget Process: The House passed their version of the Budget Continuing Resolution—now it is up to the Senate.
  • U.K. Imposes Avian Influenza Prevention Zones: Following isolation of HPAI from a reassortant H5N6 virus from wild birds precautions to prevent contact between domestic flocks and migratory birds have been imposed
  • JBS sells Five Rivers Cattle Feeding Company: Beleaguered JBS SA has sold the Five Rivers Cattle Feeding Company to Pinnacle Asset Group for $200 million
  • FDA to Release Guidance on FSMA: According to an FDA press release certain provisions of the FSMA applicable to the feed industry will not be enforced and will be the subject of an advisory.
  • U.S. Soy Crop a Record: Farmers in the U.S. harvested 4.39 billion bushels from 89.5 million acres with an average yield of 49.1 bushels per acre.

(SMS 137-18 January 19th 2018) 


Severe Weather in 2017 Caused $300 Billion in Damage in the U.S.


A report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed the extent of extreme temperature and climatic conditions in 2017. These were manifest by two major hurricanes with flooding, wildfires in the West and tornadoes in the Midwest. NOAA confirmed that 2017 was the third-warmest on record. Each of the five warmest years since 1895 have occurred since 2006. The average annual temperature in the Lower 48 was 2.6 F above the average for the previous century.

Global warming has been blamed ironically for the extremely cold weather characterized as a “bomb cyclone”. Melting of the polar icecap which is a reality, interfered with circular weather patterns around the Northern Artic allowing the southward movement of polar air across the northern tier and eastern U.S. states.

 Commentators have forcefully distinguished between “climate” which relates to long-term trends and “weather” which is of short duration. Climate scientists have warned that global increases in temperature will affect agriculture and obviously will impact poultry production over the long term.

(SMS 123-18 January 2018)


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, January18th 2018


Hen Numbers in Production Stable at 316.6 Million. Inventory down12.1 Percent. Mid- January Prices Lower by 10 Percent From Previous Week.


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on January 16 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down by 10.5 and 10.7 percent respectively from last week and Mediums were 10.9 percent lower. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The January 16th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 03) documented a USDA Combined Region value of $1.12 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $1.03 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the South Central Region attained $1.18 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately 20 cents per dozen above the corresponding three-year average but following a similar trajectory.

The number of producing hens this week was down 0.1 million to 316.6 million. The hen population is at a high level relative to non-seasonal consumer and industrial demand. The total U.S. egg-flock comprises 320.1 million hens including 2nd Cycle birds and those in molt on all farms.


Alltech to Present Results of 2018 Global Feed Survey


Aidan Connolly, Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Corporate Accounts for Alltech will present the results of the 7th annual Alltech Global Feed Survey during the IPPE. The survey will contain information obtained from the Asia-Pacific region including new nations with a total of 142 countries representing more than 30,000 feed mills.







(SMS 122-18 January 17th 2018) 


Cal-Maine the Subject of an Intrusion Video


Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), an extremist animal rights organization posted a video purportedly obtained and clandestinely recorded at a Lake Wales, FL. complex at some undetermined time.

The video depicts:-

  • Inhumane handling of hens during depopulation which if authentic represents a lack of supervision of contract personnel

  • Mummified carcasses of hens in cages without specifying the prevalence in relation to the complex

  • Cockroach infestation which was probably localized since these insects are not generally encountered in high-rise laying houses.

  • Accumulation of eggs on belts which may have been due to a defect in an old installation.

    It is evident that the footage and many of the images, although not necessarily representing cruelty, were selected to create an impression of suboptimal housing and management. Different flocks were depicted and specific birds with skin lesions, cloacal prolapse or other defects not representative of the population of hens on this or any other farm, received inordinate emphasis as an appeal to the emotions.

    A review of the ARM website discloses that Whole Foods Market is a sponsor and has supported the organization and its activities through a “Donate a Dime” program.

    As with most intrusion videos Cal-Maine Foods responded with a clarification and statement which is reproduced in entirety:-

JACKSON, MS. Jan. 16, 2018-- Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM) today issued the following statement in response to a staged video released by Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), involving a Cal-Maine Foods employee and the treatment of laying hens at the Company’s Lake Wales, Florida, location:

Cal-Maine Foods is an industry leader in accepting and implementing animal welfare measures. All of the Company’s eggs are produced in accordance with United Egg Producers (UEP) animal care guidelines. Each employee involved in the care and handling of hens is required to review, sign and comply with the Company’s code of conduct regarding the ethical treatment of hens, which also requires employees to report any possible violations. The ARM video was taken by a former employee acting as an undercover activist, and he chose to disregard required farm procedures as part of his intent to misrepresent our efforts to provide proper care for our hens. The employee’s job included identifying and addressing the type of issues shown on the video, and he failed to meet his job requirements. The video depicts another employee deliberately mistreating a hen, and that employee was immediately terminated. Once the video was presented to us, we cooperated with the local sheriff’s department and officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in their investigation, and we provided them access to the Lake Wales facility. They reported they did not find comparable conditions to what was shown on the video. We believe that this was an isolated incident and does not reflect the ethical standards of animal care expected of all Cal-Maine Foods employees. Further, we continue to work with our animal welfare team to prevent this from happening in the future.

All of Cal-Maine Foods’ facilities are operated in full compliance with existing environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permits. As a fully-integrated shell egg producer, all shell egg facilities are subject to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and are subject to various state and local health and agricultural agencies.

(SMS 125-18 January 17th 2018)


Benefits of Consuming Whole Eggs on Muscle Development


A cooperative study conducted by scientists at the Universities of Illinois and Toronto supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture demonstrated the benefit of consuming whole eggs over egg white following exercise.  Subjects consuming whole eggs showed greater stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis providing a benefit as measured using an isotopically labeled amino acid, leucine.




(SMS 118-18 January 16th 2018)  


Dr. Tia Rains Promotes Egg Consumption for Babies


Dr. Tia M. Rains, Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center, funded by the American Egg Board recently published on aspects of nutrition on brain development from conception through to the second birthday. Eleven nutrients have been linked to cognitive development and any deficiency among the group will potentially result in impairment of intelligence and reasoning ability.  The critical nutrients include essential amino acids, essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, iron, zinc, copper, iodine, choline, folate and vitamins A, B6 and B12 especially during the first “thousand days”.  Eggs are rich in protein, choline, iodine and zinc with some specialty eggs showing higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals in addition to omega-3 fatty acids including DHA.



(SMS 119-18 January 16th 2018)


Illegal Manufacture and Distribution of Ice Cream


The Ohio Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert relating to FlexFrost Protein ice cream deserts. The product was manufactured in an unlicensed plant in Columbus, OH without appropriate food safety protocols.

Desserts were packaged in 4-ounce containers and were distributed among other recipients to eight school systems and The Ohio State University. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is currently conducting a trace forward investigation to ascertain the points of delivery and to conduct a recall.

During recent years, established dairy manufacturing plants have encountered problems associated with E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria. In the case of FlexFrost, the absence of an HACCP system and other protocols may well have prejudiced microbiological quality although no reports of illness have been received. The saving grace is probably the limited size of manufacture, although distribution to schools is extremely troubling.


(SMS 120-18 January 16th 2018)


New Jersey Clamps Down on Illegal Distribution of Raw Milk


According to Federal Rules raw milk may not be distributed across state lines other than for “personal consumption”. The entity termed Udder Milk has contravened the restriction facilitating transport of milk from Pennsylvania to New Jersey where it is distributed by families within the state.

Authorities in New Jersey have issued cease and desist orders to eight families in accordance with the New Jersey Public Health and Food Protection Program. New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada and Rhode Island absolutely prohibit sale of raw milk in any form.

Federal and state laws were enacted in the 1920s when it became apparent that raw milk was responsible for dissemination of tuberculosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis, colibacillosis.

Raw milk represents less than one percent all milk consumption, but is responsible for 80 percent of milk-borne infections including emerging campylobacteriosis and STEC E.coli infection.


(SMS 121-18 January 16th 2018)




BioChek IPPE Lunch Meeting



BioChBioChek will host a lunch event during the International Production & Processing Expo,
on Weon Wednesday January 31st. in Roob B 315. GWCC. Dr. Luuk Stooker, will be the guest
 speakspeaker with a with Q&A to follow.
The titThe title of the presentation is:-

"The development of an NDV-Fusion protein ELISA
and its place in a full NDV diagnostic strategy"

Dr. Stooker serves as the BioChek Sales Director for Europe,
Middle East and Africa. He joined BioChek in the summer of
2016 as Senior Poultry Product Manager progressing to his
current role during the fall of 2017.

Dr. Stooker earned his DVM from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and has extensive experience in the diagnosis
and control of poultry diseases.

The BioChek Smart Veterinary Diagnostics technical team will be available on
Booth B7314 , from January 30th until February 1st, 2017.
To register for the BioChek lunch please contact Tim Goode:


BioChek B.V.
Fokkerstraat 14
2811 ER Reeuwijk
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)182 582 592


BioChek US
Scarborough 3 Southgate Road
Scarborough, ME 04074
United States
Tel: +01 (207) 883-3003

(SMS 109-18 January 16th 2018)


Smithfield Foods Converts to Group Housing for Pregnant Sows


When the Egg Bill was mooted, there was considerable opposition from the swine industry since adoption of Federal standards for hens was considered as a “slippery slope” which would lead to legislation against gestation crates for sows. At the time the system was generally regarded in disfavor by consumers and customers as inhumane. In response to trends in welfare Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods and other integrators announced that would transition to group-housing for pregnant sows and would abandon “gestation crates”.

Since 2007 Smithfield Foods has committed more than $360 million to complete the transition in the U.S. and in all operations worldwide.  Poland and Romania have already completed conversion and joint ventures in Mexico are planning to complete the change by 2022.

Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods stated, “Smithfield's leadership in animal care is reflected in today's landmark announcement.”  He added, “Achieving this goal is a testament to the fact that, at Smithfield, we keep our promises. We stand committed to continue leading the industry in both animal care and transparency.”

When opposition from the swine industry was raised in relation to the Egg Bill, EGG-CITE predecessor to EGG-NEWS noted that, “the train had left the station” and that adherents to gestation crates were attempting to play King Canute by ignoring the ground swell to change the housing system.  Opponents of the transition claimed that productivity would be adversely affected by adopting group housing.  Initial evidence suggests that the opposite is the case and that capital expenditure on conversion is both necessary from a welfare and image perspective and also to maintain customer goodwill.

(SMS 094-18 January 15th 2018)



Dispute over Tax Abatement for Montana Egg Packing Plant


Cascade County Commissioners will continue the review the application by Montana Egg for a $7 million tax abatement following erection and commissioning of their packing plant in Great Falls, MN.  The Cascade County Commission was split over an agreement to grant the abatement at a meeting in mid-December. Given news reports concerning the dispute and the willingness of the Commission to reconsider the application, it is more likely than not that approval will be granted.  Two Commissioners agreed that it would be beneficial for applicants to provide details of projects and submit a formal request before initiating a project.


(SMS 095-18 January 15th 2018)


Whole Foods Market to Operate New DC in Chicago


Whole Foods Market has opened a 140,000 ft.2 distribution center on Chicago’s South Side. The facility will serve 60 stores in eight Midwest states and the Province of Ontario. The new DC replaces a Muncie, IN. operation. The design of the Chicago facility in Pullman, includes installations which improve energy use including high efficiency interior and exterior lighting, thermosiphon oil cooling and redistribution of refrigeration and waste to heat floors.

 Obviously the DC was planned and erected before the acquisition by Amazon and was in part a demonstration of the Whole Foods commitment to philanthropy and civic service. It is doubtful whether under new ownership that previous decisions made by John Mackey concerning the image of his company will continue. Amazon will demand a positive return on improvements which are accretive to profits.


(SMS 107-18 January 15th 2018)


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sonny Perdue to Headline Poultry Market Intelligence Forum at the 2018 IPPE


In a January 10th release, US Poultry and Egg Association announced that Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Sonny Perdue, will speak at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 31st during the Poultry Market Intelligence Forum sponsored by USPOULTRY in room C-202/204. The program will include review of domestic and global economies and improvements in performance affecting both poultry meat and egg production. The Poultry Market Intelligence Forum will run from 09h00 to 10h30.


(SMS 108-18 January 15th 2018)


Frozen Egg Patties Added to USDA Purchase Program


The American Egg Board has announced that frozen egg patties have now been officially added to the USDA Federal Purchase Program for school food service serving.

This benefit to the industry results from promotions by the AEB to the USDA Agriculture Marketing Services Commodity and Procurement and Food Nutrition Services Team.

Detailed specifications for frozen patties are available from the AEB.




(SMS 091-18 January 14th 2018)


Awareness of U.S. Egg Products in Japan


The combined promotional efforts of the American Egg Board and USAPEEC in Japan through seminars and chef contest have increased awareness of U.S. egg products and their versatility.  The usage survey among food processors disclosed that 40 percent were aware of U.S. dried egg products and 30 percent of respondents reported using dried egg white during the past year.

For the period January through November, Japan received 11,256 metric tons of egg products valued at $39.8 million representing a 34 percent increase in value from corresponding eleven month period in 2016. Exports of egg products to Japan represented 28 percent of total exports of 40,461 m. tons for the eleven month period in 2017

(SMS 092-18 January 14th 2018)


Modifications to Dividers for the EggsCargo System® to Accommodate Robotics


Twin Pack Special Products has announced that the dividers for EggsCargo System® have been modified to facilitate handling by robots. The new modified dividers are however compatible with all existing EggsCargo System dividers supplied by Twin Packs Special Products.  No modification of robot end arms will be required.  The modifications were designed and completed with the cooperation of suppliers of robots to ensure compatibility.

The changes which have been made are illustrated in the diagram.

(SMS 093-18 January 14th 2018)



Sad Passing of Wally Newman


Wallace "Wally" Newman, died peacefully on January 5, 2018 in Alpharetta, GA. at the age of 92.  He was born July 11, 1925 in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1943 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. After training as a radioman, his first assignment was in the battle of the North Atlantic, on a Q-Ship, the USCGC Bighorn. He was subsequently promoted to Radioman 1st class and transferred to LST741 in the Pacific Theater where he fought in the invasion of Iwo Jima.

After WWII Wallace married and moved to a farm in Toms River, NJ, Shortly thereafter he built and operated a poultry farm where his three children spent their early years.

From 1955 until 1980 Wally Newman worked for Big Dutchman starting as the Salesman for New Jersey, and eventually becoming Sales and Marketing Manager for the Company. From 1982 until 1995 Wally served as Sales and Marketing Manager for the Chore-Time Egg Production Division. He was instrumental in extending the market penetration by the Company during a period of rapid expansion of the egg-production industry which was at that time erecting high-rise houses with multi-tier, stair-step cages.

Wally was a consummate gentleman with a phenomenal ability to remember people and their circumstances. He was a skilled negotiator with an extensive knowledge of the industry and his equipment. He was always ready to help with suggestions and was at his happiest interacting with his customers, all of whom were friends, at industry meetings and shows.

Wally was buried in a private ceremony in Woodbridge NJ on Sunday January 7th with a U.S. Coast Guard honor guard in attendance. He is survived by four grandchildren, daughter Barbara and sons Neal and David, president of Northeast Agri- Systems, Lititz, PA.

(SMS 080-18 January 12th 2018) Amended January 14



Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-November 2017.


USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing the first eleven months of 2017 with the corresponding period in 2016:-


Jan.-Nov. 2016

Jan.-Nov. 2017


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



+1.7 (+1.5%)

Value ($ million)



+2.1 (+1.9%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



-0.01 (+1.0%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



+15,514 (+62.2%)

Value ($ million)



+38.4 (+54.5%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



-133 (-4.7%)





Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January-November 2017 increased by 1.7 percent in volume and 1.5 percent in total value compared to the corresponding period in 2016. Unit value was higher by 1 cent per dozen for the eleven-month comparison between 2016 and 2017. Hong Kong was the leading importer, with 34.2 million dozen representing 30.2 percent of volume and 28.2 percent of value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs with an average unit value of 94.2 cents per dozen.




According to the January 12th 2018 WASDE release, 82.7 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2018 to yield 14.60 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.39 Billion bushels from 89.5 million acres harvested.


On Friday, January 12th 2018 at 15H00 on the CME, the following rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal were recorded, together with the bracketed value for the previous week. Futures suggest stable ingredient prices going forward.




Corn (cents per bushel)

March ’18  347  (351)        

July      ‘18   363  (367)            

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Jan.      ’18  944  (960)    

March ’18   974  (970)      

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Jan.      ‘18  308  (318)

March ’18   321  (321) 

Changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal this week were:-

Corn:                     March quotation down 4cents/Bu        (-1.1 percent)

Soybeans:            Jan. quotation down by 16 cents/Bu.   (-1.7 percent)

Soybean Meal:    Jan. quotation down by $10/ton           (-3.1 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 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


See WADE posting on CHICK-NEWS under STATISTICS tab summarizing the December 11th USDA-WASDE Report #572, reviewing price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced during the 2017-18 season.


(SMS 076-18. January 12th 2018)


USDA- WASDE FORECAST #573, January 12th 2018



The January 12th 2018 USDA WASDE projections for the 2018 corn and soybean harvests were estimated based on preliminary intentions to plant by farmers and historical data. Harvest areas for corn and soybeans were projected to be 82.7 million acres (83.1 million in 2017) and 89.5 million acres (unchanged from 2017) respectively. The USDA raised corn yield to176.6 bushels per acre (175.4 bushels in 2017). Soybean yield was lowered to 49.1 bushels per acre (49.5 bushels in 2017). Ending stock for corn was raised 1.6 percent to 2,477 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans was raised 45.6 percent to 470 million bushels.


The projection of the corn harvest was raised 0.2 percent from December 2017 to 14,604 million bushels compared to the 2017 harvest of 14,577 million bushels and down 3.6 percent from the 2016 near-record harvest of 15,148 million bushels. None of the major categories of use were appreciably changed. The projected USDA range in farm price was narrowed to 295 to 355 cents per bushel. At 15H00 on January 12th CME quotations for January and May 2018 corn were 347 cents and 363 cents per bushel respectively.




The following topical items will be considered in greater detail in subsequent editions of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS:-

  • Progress on NAFTA: With the Sixth Round of negotiations due to start in Montreal in late January conflicting signals are emerging from the Administration. The President failed to address specifics at the AFBF Convention on Monday 8th but expressed the hope that a “better deal” will be concluded. Subsequently there were threats about a unilateral withdrawal. The Secretary of the Treasury commented Thursday 11th that a deal will emerge from the talks. Canada is talking up the benefits of NAFTA but avoiding the issue of Controlled (read ‘restricted production’) Marketing agreements on dairy, poultry and eggs which favor producers and limits trade opportunities for the U.S.

  • Dissolution of the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association: Prominent companies continue to disassociate themselves from the GMA. The latest includes Cargill, following luminaries such as Campbell Soup. At issue is the desire to claim non-GMO status on labelling to attract a millennial demographic.

  • AI Continues to Spread: Incident cases have been recorded in the UK, Japan and South Korea attributed to H5N6. Studies are in progress to establish epidemiologic relationships among isolates from Asia and the E.U. and specifically whether the same reassortant strain is involved. Cases of H5N8 continue in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia impacted.

  • USDA FSIS Proposes Comprehensive Revision of EGG Packing and Processing Regulations: A 250-page document proposing changes in procedures and emphasizing HACCP and Standard Sanitation protocols has been circulated for public comment.

  • Human Influenza Affecting the U.S. Population: The annual influenza season has commenced and appears to be severe given the low level of immunity in the population based on a mismatch between vaccine antigens and prevailing strains. Notwithstanding the lack of efficacy estimated at 30 percent protection for 2018, persons coming into contact with poultry should receive a seasonal vaccine to prevent the rare possibility of reassortant event.

  • The ‘Amazonization’ of Whole Foods Market: In a concerted drive to enhance earnings Amazon is introducing changes to the disadvantage of local and family suppliers in favor of centralized sourcing, the 365 Brand and paid merchandizing.

(SMS 075-18 January 11th 2018)


Shakedown Suit Initiated Against Walmart Stores Over Perception of Organic Eggs


Due to changes in legislation in California favoring trial lawyers, the state has become a hotbed of class-action suits claiming deceptive advertising. The latest in the series involves Donnie Lee Gibson v. Walmart Stores et al. filed in the District Court, Northern District of California, (Case number 18-00134)

 At issue is the perception that the plaintiff presumed that organic eggs were from hens allowed access to pasture. Regulations currently in effect under the National Organic Program allow for sunporches to be used to provide access to “sunshine”. The eggs in question were produced at a farm with state-of-the-art houses providing access to sunporches which meet USDA standards.

The lawsuit alleges that “consumers paying more for organic eggs have been deceived”, noting “It’s very important that consumers get what they think they are paying for.” From a legal standpoint, if the producer is in compliance with the National Organic Program regulations, they are entitled to place the USDA Certified Organic seal on packaging. It is understood that there was no deception by placing artwork on packs depicting chickens on pasture or green foliage.

In point of fact, small pens for token “outside access” as used by many organic producers are essentially covered in earth or mud since concentration of hens over a limited area denudes foliage. Even with pasture management with up to 100 square foot per hen, grass is absent in enclosures in Midwest and Northern-tier state operations during winter. 

In 2016, the National Organic Program proposed outside access requirements of up to 2 square foot per hen. This was a cynical attempt to reduce competition from efficient in-line organic egg production complexes holding upwards of 500,000 hens with houses equipped with aviary installations. With the advent of the new Administration in 2017, the NOP proposed rule was withdrawn, subject to further study.

The Gibson v. Walmart Stores suit is without merit since eggs were produced in accordance with the provisions of the National Organic Program and Wal-Mart made no representations either direct or indirect concerning grass, soil or outside access for flocks. What the plaintiff may or may not have believed or perceived is immaterial in law and it is hoped that Walmart and co-defendants will vigorously defend the action. If desired the token plaintiff could have purchased pasture-reared eggs at $7 per dozen, but apparently chose to buy less-expensive USDA Certified Organic product.

(SMS 072-18 January 10th 2018)


Monthly Egg Report






Summary tables for the latest USDA 2017 December statistics and prices made available by the EIC on January 8th 2017, are summarized, tabulated and discussed in comparison with values from the previous December 7th 2017 posting reflecting November 2017 data.


Review Article Promotes Balanced Diets with Animal Protein


A recent comprehensive review article citing 67 references* concluded that nutrient dense diets containing animal protein reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.  The authors concluded that consumption of unprocessed lean meats, poultry and eggs at recommended levels in a diet incorporating fruits, vegetable, whole grains, nuts and legume would not be deleterious subject to the stipulation that added sugar, sodium and saturated fat should not exceed current recommendations. Unfortunately these restrictions are at present not observed by consumers.

The review refutes the contention that plant-based foods and diets excluding animal products are beneficial with respect to cardiovascular health.

*Petersen, K.S. et al Healthy Dietary Patterns for Preventing Cardio Metabolic Disease: The Role of Plant-Based foods and Animal Products.  Current Development in Nutrition DOI: 10.3945/cdn. 117.001289. November 6, 2017.

(SMS 063-18 January 9th 2018)



OIG Recommends Improvements for FDA Recalls


The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services has issued report A-01-16-16-1502, containing recommendations to “improve the strategic coordinated oversight of recall execution”.  A study conducted within the Agency identified deficiencies in FDA initiation of recalls, their monitoring and maintenance of electronic records.  The study revealed that the FDA did not consistently evaluate health hazards in a timely manner and complete audit checks in accordance with procedures or maintain accurate recall data in the digital Recall Enterprise System.

The FDA agreed with the conclusions and recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General and will initiate action to remedy deficiencies to promote public health.


(SMS 064-18 January 9th 2018)


Outbreak of STEC E. coli Attributed to Lettuce


The CDC, the FDA and the Public Health Agency of Canada are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157: H7 infection.  A total of 17 illnesses were confirmed from 13 states from November 15th through December 8th 2017.

Whole genome sequencing is in progress although initial results show commonality among isolates from patients.  Preliminary conclusions suggest that Romaine lettuce is the vehicle of infection but the epidemiology of the outbreak has yet to be defined.

Produce is emerging as an important source of bacterial infections including STEC E. coli, Salmonella and even Listeria.  Tracing outbreaks to origin is complicated by the multi-tier distribution system for fruit and vegetables.  It has been suggested that blockchain technology will be beneficial as demonstrated by Walmart Stores in trial conducted in the U.S. tracing the origin of mangos.







(SMS 065-18 January 9th 2018)


Songbirds and Rodents Innocuous in Spread of 2015 HPAI Outbreaks


According to a recent article in PeerJ*, scientists at Iowa State University in cooperation with  colleagues in the U.S. Department of Agriculture APHIS and Western State Colorado University, demonstrated that small songbirds and diverse rodents captured on farms in Iowa  impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza were not associated with the spread of the virus.

A total of 449 birds and rodents were swabbed internally and externally without evidence of infection with influenza virus applying RT-PCR assay.  A sample of 402 subjects failed to show antibodies against avian influenza.  In contrast, 83 of 527 waterfowl sampled from wetland and poultry sites yielded influenza A virus applying RT-PCR assay.

This study supports previous conclusions concerning the epidemiology of the 2015 epornitic.  The virus was introduced into areas in Iowa with a high concentration of egg producing flocks by migratory waterfowl.  Deficiencies in biosecurity facilitated the introduction of virus into commercial egg-production flocks.

* Houston, D. D. et al Evaluating the role of wild songbirds or rodents in spreading avian influenza virus across an agricultural landscape.  PeerJ DOI 10.7717/peerj.4060 December 13, 2017

(SMS 066-18 January 9th 2018)


Problem of Keel Fractures and Deformities Evaluated


In an article* circulated by Lohmann Breeding Company of Germany, Dr. W. Icken and colleagues evaluated the literature concerning keel (sternal) abnormalities including deformation and fractures. The authors considered 16 peer-reviewed articles from 1998 to 2013, documenting keel deformities in various housing systems.

Data was also presented on two breeding lines which demonstrated differences in the prevalence and heritability of keel defects. The study conducted by Lohmann Breeding Company evaluated 5,869 pure hens of two different White Leghorn lines which were scored by palpation at 46 and 70 weeks of age respectively.  Intra-observer reliability for palpation score was high (r = 0.82) in both lines confirming that the evaluation technique was consistent and reproducible.  Heritability was moderate in line A with a 75 percent prevalence of deviations (h2= 0.30). In line B which demonstrated 15 percent deviations heritability was estimated to be h2 =0.15.  Palpation score was not correlated with either body weight, egg weight or shell breaking strength.  There was an indication that precocious egg production was negatively correlated with palpation score. 

The review of literature showed a low prevalence of severe keel bone deformities in single or group-caged hens among three lines.  In contrast, studies in 2011 and 2012 showed a relatively high (25%) prevalence of keel deformation in hens housed in aviaries reflecting the designs of modules in perches at this time.

The authors concluded that keel deformation is multifactorial with a genetic predisposition but with the predominant causation relating to housing system. Experience with aviaries has shown that design of modules, location of perches and aisle-width influence keel damage.  Ameliorative approaches include management which encourages developing balance and pectoral musculature in pullets by housing in rearing modules compatible with the laying system. Additional approaches include adjusting light levels and confining pullets in modules for up to three weeks after 16-week transfer.  With the adoption of aviaries for commercial production of eggs as an alternative to conventional cages, directed studies are required  to understand the factors which contribute to keel deformities and also the effect on production and welfare.

*Icken, W. Genetic aspects of keel bone deformities and fractures determined by palpation in laying hens. Lohmann Tierzucht Newsletter. December 2017


(SMS067-18 January 9th 2018)


Uzelac Industries Satisfies Drying System Needs for the U.S. Poultry Industry


Uzelac Industries Inc. is welcomed as a new sponsor of EGG-NEWS. The Company is an established major supplier of rotary drying systems for the poultry industry, including installations for Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Michaels Foods, Tyson Foods and Foster Farms. Uzelac's drying systems process poultry waste including layer manure and by-products including feather meal and egg shells converting material destined to landfills to flash-dried, environmentally and commercially acceptable products contributing to sustainability and profit.

Michael Foods Inc. installed a Model SPD12000 drying system in 1993 which is operating efficiently since commissioning. This unit comprises a stainless steel single-pass, 12 foot diameter by 50 foot long drum capable of processing over 15 tons of manure per hour. The dryer reduces moisture content from 75 percent to 8 percent.

Uzelac's equipment offerings include single- and triple- pass drums, multiple fuel burners, particulate scrubbers, screening systems, coolers and more. The company also offers a full list of services, including design and application engineering, installation and start-up, training of customer personnel, parts, field service and troubleshooting. Uzelac prides itself on being cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Under the leadership of President and CEO Mike Uzelac, the Company values integrity, customer satisfaction and innovation. Family-owned Uzelac Industries operates worldwide from a home base in Greendale, WI, with a satellite location in Neodesha, KS. 

Additional information is available at or by clicking on to the Uzelac logo on the right side of the Welcome page.

(SMS 051-18 January 8th 2018) 


USDA Soliciting Research Proposals to Promote Organic Production


The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced that $17 million will be available for research on aspects of organic production including education and extension.

Land-Grant universities, Federal agencies, national laboratories, state agriculture experiment stations and research foundations will be eligible to apply.  Areas to receive funding including biological aspects of organic production, social science research and economics.

Funding was included in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Director of NIFA, Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy stated, “NIFA strives to support the development and deployment of science-based best knowledge and practices to organic producers.”

As a gentle suggestion, research should be directed at the willingness-to-pay for organic products since the rejection of organic milk in favor of conventional products and substitutes has seriously impacted producers.  There is evidence that non-GMO eggs and other agriculture products are supplanting organic in volume given the price differentials.  The National Organic Program (NOP) has done nothing to support the organic seal and to convince consumers that there are quantifiable and detectable attributes associated with organic products compared to conventional and other alternatives. The NOP has not instituted laboratory assay of statistically relevant samples of Certified Organic products to confirm non-GM status, freedom from pesticides or other contaminants. The entire certification program rests on a network of certifiers with an inherent conflict of interest, examining paperwork and loosely interpreting vague standards.

(SMS 048-18 January 7th 2017)


USDA Evaluates “Official” Labeling


The USDA Economic Research Service recently released a report entitled, Beyond Nutrition and Organic Labels – 30 Years of Experience with Intervening in Food Labels.


The report which extends over 90 pages noted that Federally-approved (“official”) labels created a degree of credibility based on clearly defined standards. Current inspection inspection protocols require time and may not be appropriate to changing tastes and emerging trends in foods.

The report also commented on the proliferation of commercial claims which have no legal definition including “non-GMO”, “raised without antibiotics” and “free-range”.

Implicit in the conclusions of the Report is the reality that the USDA Certified Organic label which involves high production costs is widely recognized and accepted. Regrettably the label is undergoing erosion in the food market due to competition from non-Federally-approved substitutes such as non-GMO which is a rapidly expanding category.

(SMS 049-18 January 7th 2018)


AEB Announces Annual Board Meeting


The American Egg Board will hold the 2018 Annual Board meeting Monday through Wednesday March 19-21, 2018 in Scottsdale, AZ.  Additional information on hotel accommodation will be provided in due course when arrangements have been concluded. Advance notice was provided to schedule calendars.  For further information contact




(SMS 050-18 January 7th 2018)


Cal-Maine Reports on Q2 of FY 2018


In a press release dated January 5th Cal-Maine Foods announced results for the 2nd. Quarter of Fiscal 2018 ending December 2 nd 2017.

The 2nd Quarter results of CALM incorporate an $80 million non-recurring provision to settle a class-action suit. Quarterly results include a positive $14 million tax benefit. The net effect of the two items represent the equivalent of $1.37 in EPS

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as $ x 1,000 except EPS)

2nd Quarter Ending.

Dec. 2nd 2017

Nov. 26th 2016

Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Net Income




Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization






According to the December 11th 2017 WASDE release, 83.1 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2017 to yield 14.58 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.43 Billion bushels from 89.5 million acres harvested.

On Friday, January 5th 2018 at 15H00 on the CME, the following rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal were recorded, together with the bracketed value for the previous week. Futures suggest stable ingredient prices going forward.



Corn (cents per bushel)

March ’18 351 (351)

July ‘18 367 (368)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Jan. ’18 960 (953)

March ’18 970 (962)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Jan. ‘18 318 (313)

March ’18 321 (317)

Changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal this week were:-

Corn: March quotation unchanged ( - )

Soybeans: Jan. quotation up by 7 cents/Bu. (+0.7 percent)

Soybean Meal: Jan. quotation up by $5/ton (+1.5 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 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

See WADE posting on CHICK-NEWS under STATISTICS tab summarizing the December 11th USDA-WASDE Report #572, reviewing price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced during the 2017-18 season.

(SMS 041-18. January 5th 2018)


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, January 5th 2018.


Hen Numbers in Production Down 0.1 Million. Inventory up 7.9 Percent. Year-end Prices Lower by 14 Percent.


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on January 2 nd the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down by 14.1 and 14.3 percent respectively from last week and Mediums were 8.0 percent lower. The market was influenced mainly by hen numbers and egg inventory on the supply side of the equation for the first nine months of 2017. Seasonal and weather-related factors emerged to stimulate consumption in mid-September with an upward trend in price through early October. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The January 2nd USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 01) documented a USDA Combined Region value of $1.62 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $1.54 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the Southeast Region attained $1.70 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately 40 cents per dozen above the corresponding three-year average.


Cargill Posts Q2 of Fiscal 2018 results.


In a January 3rd release, privately-held multinational agribusiness company Cargill Inc. released results for the 2nd Quarter of fiscal 2018.

The Company generated net earnings of $924 million (U.S. GAAP basis) on revenue of $29.2 billion (3.2 percent net revenue margin). Comparisons with Q2 of FY 2017 showed a 6 percent decline in net earnings but an 8 percent increase in revenue.

Commenting on results David MacLennan, Chairman and CEO stated “even as conditions vary across our global markets, we continue to realize greater benefits from operating as an integrated company with a unique combination of talent, assets, insights and solutions,” He added “during the quarter, the company announced more than $1 billion in agreed acquisitions, joint ventures and new investments in facilities. Thanks to the results of our recent strong performance, we are reinvesting in ways that enable our teams to achieve more for our customers and lead for growth.”

The Company release noted the following items relevant to the poultry industry:

  • Adjusted operating earnings in the Animal Nutrition & Protein Segment narrowly exceeded last year’s strong second quarter. Animal nutrition earnings rose across the global business, with improvement led by premix and feed additives.
  • Protein results in North America decreased slightly against a strong comparative period. Pre-season marketing by the U.S. turkey business drove whole-bird sales in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • The segment’s global poultry business trailed the year-ago quarter, as good performance in parts of Southeast Asia was offset by softer earnings elsewhere. In total, Animal Nutrition & Protein was the largest contributor to adjusted operating earnings in the second period.
  • Cargill completed several acquisitions in December that expand its focus on animal micro-nutrition. It purchased Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Diamond V, a developer and manufacturer of natural feed additives, known as microbials, which improve animal health and performance by optimizing digestive function and immune strength. The acquisition complements Cargill’s recently formed partnership with Austria’s Delacon, a leading maker of natural, plant-based feed additives. Both investments support the market shift toward sustainable, natural feed ingredients that improve animal health and embrace changing consumer values.
  • Cargill bought full ownership of its premix joint venture in South Africa, which increases the company’s presence in a region where protein demand is growing.
  • Cargill is forming a joint venture with U.K.-based Faccenda Foods. Once completed, the venture will serve the country’s food retailers and foodservice companies with fresh chicken, turkey and duck.
  • With regard to organic growth, Cargill is investing $146 million in its cooked meats facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Acquired last year, the new outlay will double the plant’s pizza toppings capacity and fund the construction of a pepperoni production facility. The two projects will come on line in mid-2018 and mid-2019, respectively.

(SMS 030-18 January 4th 2018)


Chore-Time Introduces Volution Rearing System


Chore-Time now offers the Volution Rearing System in the U.S. following acquisition of the Volito Group based in the Netherlands. The Volution System incorporates labor-saving features to prepare pullets for aviary or floor layer systems.

The two-tier Volution Rearing System is a system promotes natural bird behavior by training pullets to jump, move around and perch from day-one. As a result the future livability and productivity of pullets is optimized when transferred to cage-free production.
To train pullets, the Volution System features adjustable-height platforms and drinking lines that are gradually raised as the pullets grow. Automatically extendable perches help birds access the upper tier and movable interior perches help birds move to outer perches.

Volution System layout is designed to provide excellent visibility for easy inspection. To further reduce labor needs, double sliding doors allow workers to quickly reach birds for vaccination and transfer. As the pullets grow, the sliding doors are opened to let the pullets use the floor surface between the rows. The pullets can easily find their way back into the system at night.

Features of the Volution Rearing System include foldable barriers to restrict movement of pullets until they are sufficiently developed to access the entire house floor, partitions along the length and width inside the system, as well as feeding and drinking lines on every level. Systems can be configured in one or multiple rows.

For additional information access

(SMS 032-18 January 4th 2017)


Stop Press



  • AI Strikes South Korea: What may be a harbinger of the 2016 epornitic, South Korea has recorded 10 outbreaks of H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza since early December. The Nation has only recently replaced 20 million laying hens and other poultry depopulated to control HPAI in late 2016.
  • Organic Milk in oversupply: Imbalance between supply and demand eroded by substitutes has reduced the ex-farm price of organic milk from $40 to $27 per 100 lbs. Herein lies a lesson for organic egg production. 
  • Rodents and Songbirds not Carriers of HPAI: Studies conducted during the 2015 HPAI epornitic in Iowa failed to show that rodents and songbirds on infected farms did not carry AI virus nor were they seropositive. In contrast HPAI H5 virus was isolated from 15 percent of migratory waterfowl sampled. 
  • Federal OIG Identifies Delays and Procedures with Recalls: The FDA has accepted recommendations offered by the Office of the Inspector General to expedite recalls as a result of food safety issues, improve follow-up and enhance records.

(SMS 035-18 January 4th 2018)


Sponsored Announcement


FSNS has announced training programs in food safety and HACCP for 2018


GMO Soybeans Beneficial to Chesapeake Bay


An article in Fresh From the Field circulated by the U.S. Soybean Organization commented on the benefits of GM soybeans cultivated on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Glyphosate-tolerant soybeans allow fields to be prepared for planting without plowing. The traditional process disturbs a complex ecosystem in the soil and inhibits erosion. According to Jennie Schmidt of a family farm in Sudlersville, MD, “GMO crops have provided huge benefits to the Chesapeake Bay in terms reducing sediment pollution.”


(SMS 037-18 January 4th 2018)


Listeria Remains a Constant Threat for Foodborne Infection


Two recent FDA recall notices indicate the widespread distribution of Listeria monocytogenes contamination in foods. Nodine’s Smokehouse of Connecticut is recalling two batches of smoked salmon with possible contamination as detected in routine environmental and product sampling.

The second food contaminated with Listeria involved a consignment of sliced apple segments distributed by Fresh Pak of Detroit, MI. The presence of Listeria monocytogenes was confirmed in a random sample submitted for assay by Nyblad Orchards.

To date, no cases of listeriosis have been reported associated with the two recalls but the cases  confirm that Listeria is an ever-present concern for both processed meats and fish as well as salads and fruit. Processors obviously must include appropriate sampling protocols for the hazard in their HACCP programs since with raw produce, fruit and fish, there is no critical control point other than irradiation.

Processors of cold cuts from turkeys and other meat-producing species are aware of the risks and consequences of listeriosis and have introduced intensive surveillance of work surfaces, drains, slicing equipment and finished product. Most plants have a program to retain batch samples for subsequent microbiologic assay if required.


(SMS 038-18 January 4th 2017)


NOAA Confirms La Nina Probability


The most recent forecast by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms an 80 percent probability of a weak to moderate La Nina phenomenon developing. Sea surface temperatures have been below average since September 2017 and wind anomalies have strengthened in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific. The surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean along the equator extending eastward from Ecuador has fallen by 0.5F. NOAA will issue regular updates based on temperature monitoring by buoys.

The significance of a La Nina phenomenon lies in the impact on global climate. La Nina cycles are associated with warm weather and low rainfall in the Midwest and central Australia and increased flooding in the southern states of the U.S. and the eastern regions of Latin America.

The December 26th ENSO Alert Advisory by NOAA anticipates that the La Nina will extend through Northern hemisphere winter with a transition to ENSO Neutral conditions during the following Spring.

The impact of a La Nina event on corn and soybean production in the Midwest can be predicted based on the 2012 harvests of these crops which were depressed by drought. The resulting increase in the cost of corn, potentially rising to $7 per bushel and soybeans peaking at $18 per bushel could be encountered, based on the severity of the anticipated drought. Reference to the effect of rises in commodity cost as depicted weekly in the Commodity Report suggest that if a moderate drought occurs depressing yields, corn might rise to $5.50 per bushel and soybeans to $15 per bushel. This would increase feed cost by 8 to 9 cents per dozen.

(SMS 039-18 January 4th 2018)


Oldest known Albatross Still breeding Aged 67


The primary breeders of egg strains have a long way to go to beat the persistence of Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross (“gooney” bird) still breeding at 67. According to the National Geographic the world's oldest known wild bird has laid an egg at her home on the Midway Atoll.

Wisdom and her mate, Akeakamai, return each year to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument to nest and raise a single chick. On December 13th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) confirmed the pair were incubating a new egg.

In her long life, Wisdom has outlived several mates and raised anywhere from 30 to 35 chicks admittedly inferior to the cumulative chick production of SCWL hybrid parents. But what chicken logs 2 million miles of flight in a lifespan?


(SMS 034-18 January 4th 2018)


Massachusetts Welfare Law Leads to Action by Thirteen States


On November 8th 2016, Massachusetts voters approved an Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals in a ballot which passed with a 2 to 1 majority. The law defines “confined in a cruel manner” consistent with the somewhat vague wording of 2008 California Proposition #2 with respect to hens and would preclude conventional battery cages. The Attorneys General of 13 states have now re-introduced representations to have the law declared invalid as unconstitutional, invoking the Commerce Clause. This refers to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives to Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”

The Massachusetts vote raises serious questions concerning restriction of interstate commerce. Previously egg-producing states brought suit against California with respect to Law AB 1437, although Federal courts ruled that the Attorneys General bringing suit had no standing in opposing the California legislation. The intent of AB 1437 was blatantly protectionist in favor of existing California egg producers following enactment of Proposition #2. The law established identical standards for flocks producing eggs imported into the state as those prevailing in California. The real issue to be raised is whether AB 1437 interference with interstate commerce, a topic which will have to be considered by the Supreme Court but only if SCOTUS grants certiorari.

(SMS 025-18 January 3rd 2018)


Research on Current E.U. H5N6 AI Virus


The International Society for Infectious Diseases has reported on its ProMED mail site on the results of molecular assays conducted by the International Reference Laboratory at Weybridge, U.K. on isolates of H5N6 from the Netherlands. To date, seven nations in the E.U. have reported sporadic outbreaks of an H5N6 reassortants different from the strain responsible for human infections in China. In addition to the E.U., South Korea and Japan have identified the reassortant H5N6 in either wild birds or small flocks.

The Weybridge Laboratory reported that with the exception of the neuraminidase gene, all other genes are derived from an H5N8 lineage widespread in 2016. The neuraminidase gene is similar to the sequence isolated from an H5N6 reassortant present in Greece during the winter of 2016 and resembles the low pathogenicity Eurasian strains obtained from migratory birds.

It is interesting to note that the isolate of H5N6 obtained from the Netherlands was from the same farm infected by an H5N8 strain in 2016. This suggests that exchange of genetic material has taken place between H5N8 and low pathogenic H5N6.

(SMS 027-18 January 3rd 2018)


E.U. Housing Systems for Hens


According to an article in a Lohmann Tierzucht newsletter authored by Prof. Dr. Hans-Willem Windhorst of the University of Vechta the E.U. egg-producing flock amounted to 383 million hens in 2015. The housing systems comprised:-


  • Enriched cages, 56.1 percent
  • Barn housing, 26.1 percent
  • Free range, including outside access and pasture, 13.6 percent
  • “Organic” which in the E.U. requires outside access, 4.2 percent

The housing situation in 2015 reflects a change from 2010 when 45 percent of flocks were in conventional cages and 20 percent in enriched cages.

Egg production in the E.U. between 2010 and 2015, applying an index of 100 in 2010, increased by 4.8 percent, which is slightly less than an average increase of 1 percent annually. This reflects static consumption and limited net exports including shell eggs and processed derivatives. In evaluating the relative share of production among the top 10 nations in the E.U. between 2010 and 2015, there was very little change with the top-10 in 2010 representing 84.7 percent of production and in 2015, 84.5 percent.

Among the top-10, there was less than one percent difference in respective shares among producing nations in the E.U. between 2010 and 2015 with the exception of Poland, which declined from 8.9 percent in 2010 to 7.9 percent in 2015. Applying an index of 100 in 2010, exports to non-E.U. nations increased to 156 in 2015 with a volume of 283,130 metric tons. The trend in imports reflected a decrease from the index of 100 established in 2010 to 55 in 2015 with a total of 18,869 tons. The values for imports do not reflect the introduction of eggs from the Ukraine which is not an E.U. nation but was afforded privileges after 2015.

 (SMS 028-18 January 3rd 2018)




Based on the importance of cage-free production, the USDA-AMS issues a monthly report on volumes and prices for the information of Industry stakeholders.

EGG-NEWS summarizes and comments on data and trends in the monthly USDA Cage-Free Report, supplementing the information posted weekly in the Egg Weekly Price and Inventory Report.

The report for the month of December 2017 released on January 3 rd 2018 documented no change in flocks placed for Certified Organic eggs and a 0.9 percent increase in cage-free flocks compared to November, reflecting realities in the market.

Average flock production remained at a nominal 75.0 percent in December (if USDA data is accurate), indicating no material change in the average age of flocks compared to November:-

Flock Size (million hens)

Oct. ‘17 Nov.‘17 Dec. ’17

Certified Organic

14.7 14.7 14.7

Cage-free hens

34.7 34.7 35.0

Total non-caged

49.4 49.4 49.7


Average weekly production cases, December 2017

Certified Organic

214,375 was 214,375 Nov. unchanged


510,417 was 506,042 Nov. +0.9%

Total non-caged

724,792 was 720,417 Nov. +0.4%

Average Wholesale Contract Price Cage-Free Brown

$1.60/doz. Unchanged since October.


FOB Negotiated price, gradeable nest run

$1.16 to $2.10/doz. (unchanged from Nov.)

$1.55 to $1.75/doz Average $1.65/doz.

Average Advertised National Retail Price C-F, L, Brown

$2.68/doz. ($2.76 Nov.) Nov.

USDA 6-Region

High: SW

$2.95/doz. $2.81 SE


Low: NW

$2.48/doz. $2.57 MW


See weekly USDA wholesale and retail prices posted in the EGG-NEWS Egg Price and Inventory Report E-mailed each Friday

(SMS 029-18 January 3rd 2018)


Passing of Compass Group CEO


Richard Cousins (58) the CEO of multinational Compass Group based in the U.K. was tragically killed along with his two sons, fiancée and her daughter in a plane crash in Australia. The family were passengers in a charter seaplane wish crashed into the Hawkesbury River 30 miles north of Sydney. Cousins was CEO of the company for 11 years and was due to retire in 2018. He was well regarded as an executive having been named a leading CEO by the Harvard Business Review.

Under his management the Compass Group expanded to attain annual sales of $30 Billion as a food service and catering company operating in 50 countries including the U.S. with direct and indirect employment of 300,000.

The Compass Group is a leader in adopting and promoting flock welfare in addition to advancing environmental sustainability, elimination of waste and worker wellbeing.

(SMS 014-18 January 1st 2018)


Kemin Introduces Non-GMO Yolk Pigment Supplements


Following the rise in production of non-GMO eggs, Kemin has introduced a Kem GLO® formulation classified as non-GMO.  The entire portfolio is now non-GMO classified.

The range comprises:-

  • ORO GLO® 15 liquid
  • ORO GLO® 20 dry
  • Organic ORO GLO® dry powder)
  •  Kem GLO® Paprika-derived product
    The improved formulation of Ken GLO® has changed color slightly but without affecting efficacy in increasing pigmenting ability. Flowability has been enhanced and dust has been reduced by the changes in formulation.
    The new products will be available in late January 2018 without any price increase.  For further information contact Roger Myers (515) 240-5559 or
    (SMS 015-18 January 1st 2018)


United Egg Producers Debuts New Website


United Egg Producers has developed a comprehensive site  The site includes pull-down menus relating to the U.S. industry, programs offered by the UEP and information on issues including biosecurity, the environment and food safety.






(SMS 016-18 January 1st 2018)




According to the December 11th WASDE release, 83.1 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2017 to yield 14.58 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.43 Billion bushels from 89.5 million acres harvested.

On Friday December 29th at close of trading on the CME, the following rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal were recorded, together with the bracketed value for the previous week. Futures suggest stable ingredient prices going forward.



Corn (cents per bushel)

March ’18 351 (352)

July ‘18 368 (369)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Jan. ’18 953 (950)

March ’18 962 (960)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Jan. ‘18 313 (313)

March ’18 317 (317)

Changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal this week were:-

Corn: March quotation up by 1 cent/Bu. (+0.3 percent)

Soybeans: Jan. quotation up by 3 cents/Bu. (+0.3 percent)

Soybean Meal: Jan. quotation unchanged ( - )

  • 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 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

See WADE posting on CHICK-NEWS under STATISTICS tab summarizing the December 11th USDA-WASDE Report #572, reviewing price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced during the 2017-18 season.

(SMS 2,123-17. December 29th 2017)


Chipotle Apparently Facing Foodborne Infection in Los Angeles


Posting on the public website has led health authorities in Los Angeles to investigate a possible outbreak of norovirus infection at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in the City.

The diagnosis has not been confirmed but is suggestive of the infection which is carried by personal and can be transmitted through food and contact with cutlery, crockery and from the restaurant environment.

Chipotle along with other restaurants chains have experienced outbreaks of norovirus in previous years.  The company is perhaps more vulnerable than competitors as it serves a high proportion of meals as non-cooked presentations requiring manual handling.

Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle noted that the company was made aware of the potential outbreak and had taken appropriate corrective measures including decontamination of the store.

Given publicity relating to diverse outbreaks of E. coli, Salmonella and norovirus, the media and investment community are understandably sensitized to food-safety issues associated with Chipotle.  Following announcement of the suspected norovirus outbreak, shares of the company (CMG) fell 3 percent closing at $302 on Thursday December 21st

(SMS 2,111-17 December 28th 2017)



China Embraces Facial Recognition Technology to Develop Unmanned Convenience Stores


According to a December 14th article in the South China Morning Post- Technology Supplement, online retailer will establish a joint venture with China Overseas Land and Investment Company to establish unmanned convenience stores. The property developer will erect stores and will provide technology and support based on experience gained in supply chain management and logistics. Two test locations have operated in Beijing for three months incorporating radio frequency identification, facial recognition and smart inventory restocking.

Other groups have also announced their intention to enter the unmanned convenience store market in China including Alibaba Group Holdings, BingoBox and DeepBlue.

According to the article, available space and numbers of transactions which can be conducted in a limited period are restraints but will be overcome as the concept advances.

In a related development, Kroger will add cashier-less technology to 400 stores in 2018. Handheld scanners for the retailer’s Scan, Bag, Go app will allow shoppers to scan barcodes on groceries and pay at self-checkout registers. Eventually, the company intends to allow payment directly using the app eliminating the register entirely.  

The Kroger initiative will compete with Amazon Go, which has yet to debut. It is understood that Wal-Mart is also testing cashier-less technology as Project Kepler in a dozen stores in six states.

(SMS 2,119-17 December 29th 2017)


USDA Reports on Fraudulent Certificates


The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service which administers the National Organic Program has noted that Vietnam Agricultural Biotechnology Stock Company has issued fraudulent certificates claiming organic status. The local certifier confirms that the company has not certified the organization located in Dac Lak province of Vietnam.

Reference to the USDA website documents numerous companies claiming false organic status or attempting to sell organic products. A high proportion of these companies are located in Asia including Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan and Cambodia but in addition suppliers include the Ukraine, Mexico and Ecuador.

It is evident that if the USDA wished to maintain the integrity of the USDA certified organic seal, they will have to change their approach to certification and adopt block chain technology.


(SMS 2,120-17 December 29th 2017)





USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, December 28th 2017.


Hen Numbers in Production up by 2.6 Million but Inventory Down 4.3 Percent. Pre-Christmas Prices Lower by 7.7 Percent.


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on December 26th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down by 7.7 and 7.8 percent respectively from last week and Mediums were 1.7 percent lower. The market was influenced mainly by hen numbers and egg inventory on the supply side of the equation for the first nine months of 2017. Seasonal and weather-related factors emerged to stimulate consumption in mid-September with an upward trend in price through early October. Thereafter prices entered a steep downward trend for three consecutive weeks bottoming five weeks ago. This situation reversed with three consecutive weekly rises leading into the Thanksgiving weekend. Prices reached a plateau three weeks ago and then declined for the most recent two weeks. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The December 22nd USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 64: No. 52) documented a USDA Combined Region value of $1.75 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $1.67 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the South Central Region attained $1.82 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately 30 cents per dozen above the corresponding three-year average.




The following contemporary topics will be considered in detail in forthcoming editions of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS in January 2018:-

  • Dairy Industry Expresses Concern Over International Trade Negotiations: A commentary in The Wall Street Journal confirms the impact of failure to negotiate an equitable NAFTA agreement and bilateral trade agreements with Asian nations that import a high proportion of U.S. dairy products. The Administration and Secretary Wilbur Ross are now subject to criticism from the agricultural sector for their intransigence and a preoccupation with industrial jobs to the disadvantage of farm families and workers
  • ISA of Japan is Intent on Introducing Modern Egg Production to India: Current reports on the plan for ISE to establish modern in-line egg-production complexes in India fail to consider the complexities and economic factors of operating in the Nation.
  • Opposition to Massachusetts Animal Housing Law:   To date 13 states have requested SCOTUS to consider the constitutionality of the Massachusetts Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals. A Writ of certiorari would be required to consider whether the Act is inconsistent with unrestricted interstate commerce.
  • What is the Real Motivation for the UAE ban on Poultry Imports from Saudi Arabia? A recently announced ban on introduction of live poultry and uncooked eggs and meat into the UAE from Saudi Arabia cannot be justified by outbreaks of avian influenza in Saudi Arabia since the disease is endemic to the Gulf region.
  • Mitch Daniels Condemns Opposition to GMO Technology:  The president of Purdue University and a former Governor of Indiana claims campaigners against GMO crops are “anti-science” and are indulging in foolishness that only rich societies can afford. He points to the potential advantages of GM technology in developing nations where starvation is rampant.

(SMS 2,112-17 December 28th 2017)


Value Menus Will Compete Among QSRs in 2018


Three major QSRs will introduce value menus in a concerted attempt to increase traffic and market share.

On January 4th McDonald’s Corporation will introduce the $1, $2 and $3 menu following on the success of the 2017 $1/$2 beverage and the $5 for a 20-piece McNuggets deal.

Jack in the Box will introduce Value Done Jack’s Way on January 1st with a range of items priced at $1 to $5.  Taco Bell a subsidiary of Yum! Brands has a $1 Stacker,  an egg sandwich which will be added to the Dollar All Day menu.  Ultimately, Taco Bell will offer twenty items at $1.

Cited on CNN, Jason West of Credit Suisse noted, “Fast food competitors are gearing up to combat this new value effort from McDonald’s, setting up 2018 as a potential year for intensive discounting in the fast food space, particularly during the first part of the year.”

Reducing selling prices through value menus at a time when food inflation is emerging will obviously impact margins but QSRs are committed to increasing market share at the expense of competitors.


(SMS 2,109-17 December 28th 2017)


Whole Foods Market’s 365 Emerging as a Top Food Brand through Amazon


The Progressive Grocer reported on December 20th that among private label food products, the Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value brand is a leader especially during the pre-Christmas period.

Amazon is able to merge technologies especially with customers accessing Alexa™ with request for seasonal beverages including hot chocolate among a range of 365products.









(SMS 2,110-17 December 28th 2017)




According to the December 11th WASDE release, 83.1 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2017 to yield 14.58 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.43 Billion bushels from 89.5 million acres harvested.

On Friday December 22nd at close of trading on the CME, the following rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal were recorded, together with the bracketed value for the previous week.



Corn (cents per bushel)

March ’18 352 -

July ‘18 369 -

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Jan. ’18 950 (968)

March ’18 961 (979)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Jan. ‘18 313 (321)

March ’18 317 (326)

Changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal this week were:-

Corn: March quotation up by 5 cent/Bu. from Jan. ‘17 (+1.4 percent)

Soybeans: Jan. quotation down by 18 cents/Bu. (-1.9 percent)

Soybean Meal: Jan. quotation down by 8/ton from Dec. ‘17 (-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 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

See WADE posting on CHICK-NEWS under STATISTICS tab summarizing the December 11th USDA-WASDE Report #572, reviewing price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced during the 2017-18 season.

(SMS 2,100-17. December 22nd 2017)


Blockchain Technology Can Positively Verify the Authenticity of Organic Ingredients


The Times of London recently published an explanation of how blockchain technology can authenticate the status of organic and fair-trade ingredients. Blockchain can be viewed as a ledger on which transactions are recorded in a double-entry format. The system which is cloud-based should be tamper-proof and will document each stage in the progress of an ingredient from point of cultivation to delivery for almost instantaneous traceback.

It is accepted that for some time unscrupulous dealers have fraudulently reproduced and modified certificates accompanying consignments of coffee, soybeans, corn and spices. Blockchain technology should solve the problem of doubtful provenance by requiring both parties to a transaction to file reciprocal details concerning change in status or ownership.



(SMS 2,092-17 December 22nd, 2017)


E.U. Bans Formaldehyde Feed Additives


Formaldehyde was classified as a feed additive in 2013 by the European Commission. The authorization expired in 2015 and since this time there has been considerable debate over renewal based on the classification of formaldehyde as a carcinogen, placing the compound within the scope of Directive 2004/37/EC relating to the protection of workers form occupational risk.

At this time, employers are obliged to protect workers from exposure in accordance with the Directive.

Following expiry of the consultation period on December 19th The European Commission elected to ban feed additives containing formaldehyde. This is a retrograde decision which will have public health outcomes. Balancing the absolute reality of foodborne infection against the future extremely low probability of carcinogenicity is a bad trade-off.

Finland and the U.K. have issued temporary reauthorization for formaldehyde in animal feed based on the obvious advantages of suppressing Salmonella and other pathogens.

(SMS 2,093-17 December 22nd 2017)



PMI Bulldog Egg Carton Separator for Six-Pack Cartons




PMI Machine and Supply Company of Lakeland, FL have developed and refined the Bulldog Carton Separator to split a conventional fiber or PVC carton into two six-egg packs.

Designed by Michael Greeson in response to requests by supermarkets and packing plants, the Bulldog replaces knives, scissors, hotwires and other makeshift methods of dividing cartons.

The Bulldog receives cartons traversing a conveyor belt. The rapidly rotating blade slices through the point of separation producing two clean-edged six-pack cartons without damaging the contents. Cartons exit the separator cleanly without adherent foam particles, fiber dust or deposits.

The Bulldog Separator is recommended by Dolco Packaging since it is compatible with deep-V cartons.



Features of the Bulldog Separator include:

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Compatibility with Diamond-Moba or Staalkat packers
  • Early modes in operation since 1994
  • Can separate either open or closed cartons

The clip demonstrates operation of the Bulldog Carton Separator with both input and exit views.

The installation is available from PMI Machine and Supply Inc. at a cost of $1,875 per unit plus shipping and handling. Discounts offered for the purchase of more than one machine.

For further information contact Michael L. Greeson: or at (863) 944-4201


View the video of the Bulldog Carton Seperator in Action at


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, December 21st 2017.


Hen Numbers in Production up by 0.2 Million but Inventory Down 2.2 Percent. Pre-Christmas Prices Lower by 5.1 Percent.


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on December18 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down by 5.1 percent from last week and Mediums were 0.9 percent lower. The market was influenced mainly by hen numbers and egg inventory on the supply side of the equation for the first nine months of 2017. Seasonal and weather-related factors emerged to stimulate consumption in mid-September with an upward trend in price through early October. Thereafter prices entered a steep downward trend for three consecutive weeks bottoming five weeks ago. This situation reversed with three consecutive weekly rises leading into the Thanksgiving weekend. Prices reached a plateau the previous week and then declined this past week. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The December18 USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 64: No. 51) documented a USDA Combined Region value of $1.83 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $1.76 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the South Central Region attained $1.90 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately 18 cents per dozen above the corresponding three-year average.

The number of producing hens this week was up 0.2 million to 314.2 million. The hen population is at a high level relative to non-seasonal consumer and industrial demand. The total egg-flock comprises 320.3 million hens over two cycles and in molt on all farms, percent (0.2 million) from last week. This suggests many young and molted flocks were timed to enter production just before Thanksgiving but the hen population did not increase thereafter as previously predicted.


Iowa Egg Council to Donate to Food Bank


The Iowa Egg Council in cooperation with Fareway Stores will donate a dozen eggs to the Food Bank of Iowa for every two dozen brought by customers of Fareway stores in the state.  It is anticipated that the project will result in the donation of 22,000 dozen.


(SMS 2,086-17 December 21st 2017)


Lidl Reevaluates U.S. Entry and Store Concept


Recent reports in financial periodicals have questioned the success of the entry of Lidl to the U.S. market.  To date the Company has opened 37 stores in the Carolinas, Virginia and Delaware with additional stores under construction in New Jersey.  Each of the stores is approximately 35,000 foot in extent and essentially resemble the locations of “cousin” Aldi but with wider aisles and more lavish décor.

Lidl is now considering stores of 15,000 foot in extent and will convert existing vacant locations.  After an initial flurry of activity as stores opened, traffic has declined from approximately 2.5 percent of visits mid-year in the areas where they operate to 1.9 percent in September.

(SMS 2,087-17 December 21st 2017)


NLRB Overturns Joint Employer Ruling


Under the previous Administration, the National Labor Relations Board established “indirect control” standards to designate joint-employer status.  The 2015 ruling effectively created a situation in which franchisers such as McDonald’s Corporation were co-responsible for the employment conditions of the personnel employed by franchisees.  The ruling strengthened the role of unions and generated the potential for extensive litigation.

Alexander Acosta, Secretary of labor has withdrawn the previous guidance issued by then Secretary of Labor Tom Perez under the previous Administration.  The decision by the NLRB will however be subject to Congressional confirmation.  In an editorial on December 18, The Wall Street Journal suggested that Congress incorporate the direct control standard into law to entrench the principle of separation.

(SMS 2.088-17 December 21st 2017)


Passing of Hilda Eisen at 100


A lengthy obituary in the December 16th Wall Street Journal documents the challenges and achievements of Hilda Eisen and her late husband, Harry, who established a major egg enterprise in California in the late 1950s.

Hilda Eisen, born in Poland in 1917, was a victim of the Holocaust, living for two years as a partisan in Polish forests where she lost her first husband.

Hilda and Harry moved as refugees to the U.S. in 1948 and worked as manual laborers in the food industry until they had learned English. They purchased 100 chickens to establish a farm in Arcadia near Los Angeles. Hilda washed and packed eggs and her husband initially sold them on street corners from a bicycle. The enterprise prospered and a farm was established in Norco in Riverside County, eventually becoming Norco Ranch, Inc. The enterprise was sold to Moark, a subsidiary of Land O Lakes in 2000. At this time, the Eisen’s had built annual sales to $100 million and managed an enterprise with 450 employees.

Both Hilda and Harry were noted for their philanthropy to both Jewish and civic charities. They were also noted for their patriotism to their adopted country with frequent public expressions of “Thank God we live in America”.

(SMS 2,091-17 December 21st 2017)





The following items of significance to our industry will be reviewed in greater detail in upcoming editions of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS.

  • Spending Bill Passes Both the House and Senate: With hours to spare the stop-gap legislation to continue funding the Federal government was passed by the Senate in the early evening of December 21st after prior passage in the House, effectively kicking the can forward to January 19th, 2018.
  • Tax Overhaul Bill on President’s Desk: Following passage in the Senate (51-48) and a second vote in the House (224-201) the tax overhaul Bill was sent to the White House. Tax code and tax regulations were changed to reduce the corporate rate to 21 percent. The Bill established seven income tax rates, doubled both the standard deduction and child tax credit and allowed full and immediate expensing for capital expenditure for businesses.
  • Chipotle Confronted with Possible Norovirus Event in a Single LA Restaurant: Reports of an unconfirmed outbreak of a condition suggestive of norovirus infection were posted on the website <>. A single LA restaurant is implicated and is undergoing decontamination. Chipotle shares fell 2.1 percent from the close on December 20th following release of a statement to end at $292 on December 21st.
  • FDA Report on Antibiotic Use in Livestock in 2016: The annual review issued by the FDA documented antibiotic use by the broiler (792 tons) and turkey (1,650 tons) industries in 2016 amounted to 2,442 tons excluding ionophores. The two segments of livestock production consumed 3.8 percent and 8.0 percent of a total of 20.6 tons for all species. The quantity of antibiotic use expressed as a dose per live weight produced in 2016 revealed that broilers collectively generated a weighted dose of 0.015 mg/kg compared to turkeys at 0.31 mg/kg, a twenty-fold difference.

(SMS 2,090-17 December 21st 2017)   


View More