Editorial

 

Biofuels Contribute to Excess Evolution of Carbon Dioxide

Dec 9, 2016

    

The intent of the U.S. Biofuels Program initiated by Congress in 2005 to establish energy independence has proven to be deleterious to the environment. Applying “national interest” and environmental considerations to bolster intensive lobbying from proponents of corn-based ethanol, Congress progressively extended the Renewable Fuel Standard from 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into gasoline by 2012 to 15.4 billion gallons in 2015.

  

A recent study conducted by Dr. John DeCicco, a research professor at the University of Michigan rebuts the environmental benefits from corn-based ethanol.  The study took into account the reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide associated with cultivation of corn on all farms in the U.S. Corn removes approximately two tons of carbon dioxide per acre during a growing season.  Total reduction of carbon dioxide by U.S. farmland cultivating corn amounted to 49 teragrams (49 million metric tons) of carbon dioxide.

DeCicco calculated the release of carbon dioxide associated with cultivation of corn including fuel, fertilizer and other inputs, in addition to the carbon dioxide released from the fermentation production of ethanol and the burning of ethanol added to gasoline at a rate of 10 percent.  The evolution of carbon dioxide amounted to 132 teragrams meaning that only 35 percent of biofuel-related carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 through 2013 were offset by the program of biofuel production from corn.

Given the availability of natural gas and oil from newly discovered fields and the application of fracking the question of energy independence has been largely resolved. This is especially the case now that the U.S. is exporting both oil and gas. The second justification for the biofuels program relating to environmental advantages has also been scientifically discredited. 

The Renewable Fuel Standard persists as a manifestation of political expediency benefiting farmers in corn states and ethanol producers to the detriment of consumers.  Ethanol from corn was intended as a stopgap measure until fuel could be produced from biomass.  Despite investment of billions of dollars in projects, fuel from biomass has proven neither practical nor financially viable leaving a Congressionally-mandated program as a gift to vested interest and as an environmentally unacceptable alternative.

   

Egg Industry News

 

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, December 5th 2016

Dec 9, 2016

    

OVERVIEW

Midwest-wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes increased by 16 percent and 17 percent respectively this week compared to constant values last week, stabilizing after a 25 percent fall the previous week.

The progression of prices during 2016 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

  

The Friday November 2nd USDA Combined Region value which lags Midwest Weekly values by one week, followed last week’s stability in price for Midwest commodity eggs delivered to warehouses at $0.51 per dozen, compared to the 12-month trailing peak price of $1.80 per dozen in early November 2015. 

The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $0.46 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the Northeast Region, attained $0.54 per dozen. The current USDA Combined Price is approximately $1.40 per dozen below the three-year average which is inflated by the rise in prices during 2015, attributed to the post-HPAI shortage of all eggs.

The driver for depressed prices is the increased production from a large number of hens relative to demand. There is concern over the steady increase in the national flock in previous weeks although hen numbers have shown relative stability for two consecutive weeks attaining 302.6 million in production, up 100,000 hens.

Generic shell-egg stock increased by 2.3 percent. Dried-egg inventory of 27 million pounds is extremely high, as is the National stock of frozen egg products.   

   
 

AEB ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

Dec 9, 2016

    

Anne L. Alonzo President and CEO of the American Egg Board (AEB) has announced appointments and promotions at the conclusion of the 40th Anniversary Year of the AEB.

She stated “We look forward to new milestone achievements in 2017, I’m thrilled to share this news related to our incredible team,” Alonzo added “With these additions and the contributions of our entire staff, we are positioned to deliver increased value and an even higher return on investment to America’s egg farmers and the collective egg production industry going forward.”
 

  

Anne Alonzo

Personnel changes include:-

  • Sofia Therios joins the AEB as Vice President for Marketing. Therios has corporate, field and entrepreneurial experience gained in the consumer packaged goods, restaurant and foodservice areas. She has held leadership roles at McDonald’s Corporation, ConAgra Foods and Kraft Foods. In her new position Therios will manage the activities of the Consumer Media and PR Committee.
  • Dr. Tia Rains was promoted to Executive Director of the AEB Egg Nutrition Center (ENC), after more than three years with the organization. Her previous experience includes leadership roles at Kraft Foods and Biofortis Clinical Research. .Rains earned her baccalaureate degree in Food Science and the Ph.D. in Nutritional Science.
  • Allison Pigatto, MS, RD, LDN, joins the ENC team as a Nutrition Engagement & Outreach Intern. She most recently worked for Gourmet Gorilla, where she gained extensive knowledge concerning the nutrition guidelines for school foodservice.
  • Ken Hoffman was promoted to Vice President of Finance & Operations. He joined the AEB almost two years ago responsible for the AEB budget and finances. He is credentialed with a BS in Agricultural Economics, Masters of Accounting Science and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Management Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. 
  • Gwen Ramirez has been promoted as Director of Administration & Employee Relations after serving with the AEB for over three years from The Coca-Cola Company. A military veteran, she earned a BS in Business Management. Ramirez will coordinate CEO activities and daily administration, as well as serving as the primary employee liaison. 
  • Ada Escobar joins the AEB as the Office Manager. With more than a decade of administrative and office experience, she is currently in her senior year at Trinity International University, working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Nonprofit Administration.

EGG-CITE wishes the new appointees and those promoted every success in their efforts to advance the image and profitability of our Industry.

   
 

NOVEMBER 2016 USDA EX-FARM BENCHMARK PRICE RISES 22 PERCENT

Dec 9, 2016

    

NEGATIVE MARGINS CONTINUE DESPITE LOW FEED COST

Introduction.

Comments supplementing the production summary tables for the latest series reflecting USDA October 2016 statistics and prices made available by the EIC on November 7th 2016, are tabulated together with comparison values from the previous September 8th 2016 posting.

EGG-CITE summarizes weekly USDA data on egg production and prices in each edition.

  

November 2016 Cost and Revenue Data

The USDA reports data for six regions, respectively comprising the Northeast, South East (Mid-Atlantic), South Central, Midwest, Northwest and California (NW and California combined in some tables)

  • The USDA ex farm benchmark blended egg price in November 2016 rose to 35.9 cents per dozen, 22.5 percent more than in October but still resulting in a loss of 23.3 cents per dozen as delivered from the laying house. The November 2016 value should be compared to 162.5 cents per dozen for the corresponding month in 2015 and 124.0 cents per dozen in November 2014. It is noted that from November 2014 through March 2015, prices were inflated in anticipation of implementation of California Proposition #2 in January 2015 and also at the end of this period by the seasonal pre-Easter rise. Thereafter prices responded positively to shortages caused by HPAI in the upper Midwest with a peak in August 2015.
  • During the first four months of 2016 there was no material change in average feed price expressed as a component of the first-cycle production cost per dozen over the five regions monitored by the USDA. During May feed cost rose 10.3 percent over April to 35.75 cents per dozen and then by an additional 3.8 percent to 37.12 cents per dozen in June. The feed component of cost fell 1.3 percent from September to 30.90 cents per dozen in October. Average feed cost over the first eleven months of 2016 attained 32.7 cents per dozen. Feed cost during 2015 averaged 34.9 cents per dozen. The average feed cost in 2014 was 43.2 cents per dozen in contrast to 2013 which was considerably higher at 50.12 cents per dozen, reflecting the drought-affected crop of 2012.
  • Combining data from the USDA and the EIC (formerly data from the University of California), producers recorded a negative margin of -23.3 cents per dozen at farm level for flocks in November compared to a negative margin of -29.3 cents per dozen in October. The algebraic average margin for eleven months of 2016 is -9.7 cents per dozen with losses experienced for each of the past eight months.  Ex-farm margin for 2015 amounted to a monthly average of 74.5 cents per dozen. For 2014, average ex-farm contribution margin was 33.9 cents per dozen with all months positive. During 2013, a monthly algebraic positive average margin of 15.3 cents per dozen was earned.
  • The simple average price of feed for November over 4-regions (no data posted for the Southeast this month) was $200.39, 1.8 percent higher than in October. The Northwest recorded the highest cost among four regions in November at $217.77 compared to the lowest region, the Midwest at $172.65 per ton. The average figure includes ingredients plus milling and delivery at approximately $10 per ton.  A 3.7 percent increase in the price of soybean meal from $323 per ton in October to $336 per ton in November was the driver of the cost increase. The price of corn increased by 0.8 percent to $147 per ton in November. There was a $48 per ton differential in corn price between the Midwest and the Northwest in November 2016. Average feed cost during 2012 was $315.80 per ton compared to $300.80 for 2013.  Average feed cost per dozen during 2014 was 43.1 cents per dozen with the prevailing price of feed of $259.10 per ton for the five regions. Feed price will continue to be the major factor driving production cost and hence margin. Each $10 per ton difference in feed cost represents 1.75 cents per dozen.

Read the full report at http://egg-cite.com/statistics/single.aspx?contentID=8161

   
 

PERDUE FARMS ASSOCIATES TO PACK HOLIDAY MEALS FOR NEEDY FAMILIES

Dec 9, 2016

    

For the fifth consecutive year, Perdue Farms will pack holiday meals for families in need helped by the Maryland Food Bank.  In early December, associates packed more than 1,200 meal bags to be distributed throughout the Eastern Shore.

The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation has donated $10,000 to the event matched by $5,000 from the Associates of Perdue AgriBusiness.

   
   
 

AEB Issues Commemorative Booklet

Dec 9, 2016

    

The American Egg Board celebrating its 40th year has issued a commemorative booklet depicting each of the annual promotional achievements since 1976. Highlights include:-

  • Introduction of recipe booklets
  • Photo- ops with First Ladies at White House Easter Egg Roll events
  • A review of posters and advertisements featuring eggs
  • Introduction of the Egg Products Marketing Act
  • Funding of the Egg Nutrition Center from 1984 onward to debunk the “Cholesterol Myth”
  • First National Egg Month in 1990
  • AEB Website launched in 1996
  • Good Egg Project in 2009
  • Per capita consumption of 252 eggs in 2013
  • Wake up to Baconcampaign in 2015
  • New York Times declares 2016 “the Year of the Egg”

Copies of the booklet can be obtained from the AEB by E-Mailing Ashley Richardson, Industry communication Director <arichardson@aeb.org>

   
   
 

Hampton Creek

Dec 9, 2016

    

The media has been silent recently on the achievements and progress of Hampton Creek in its efforts to “disrupt” the food industry and displace hens with egg-free substitutes. This is unusual after being accustomed to frequent news releases, interviews and projections.

   

Last we knew, Co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick was facing SEC and DOJ investigations regarding his unorthodox marketing (or “quality control”) activities and Hampton Creek was awaiting an infusion of capital from investors.

Despite a posting on the Hampton Creek website, the Just Mayo™ brand is not on the shelves of an early supporter, Whole Foods Market, in the NC Triangle area. There are a number of competing egg-free mayonnaise substitutes on shelves in supermarkets including products from Unilever and private companies.

Just interested---

   
 

HPAI Situation in South Korea Deteriorates

Dec 9, 2016

    

The Korea Herald quoted by Dow Jones reported on December 8th that to date four million chickens, mostly in egg-production flocks have been depleted to control H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) out of a reduced population of laying hens estimated to be 67 million before the onset of cases.

The supply situation is exacerbated by the loss of about 4 million hens from heat during August and September. The nominal flock size to maintain equilibrium between supply and demand in South Korea is considered to be 75 million hens in production with a population approaching 50 million which would place per capita consumption at over 400 annually.

  

Currently eggs are marked at $1.90 to $2.00 at retail in the Seoul metropolitan area but a reduced supply will inevitably result in escalation especially if large complexes are infected in coming weeks.

There may be export opportunities for both shell eggs and products given that Korea has now qualified the U.S. as a supplier, applying the OIE principle of regionalization and noting that our Nation has been free of AI for many months.

   
 

CONFLICT BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER COMMISSION AND EGG CORPORATION

Dec 9, 2016

    

Australian media have reported on an ongoing conflict between the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd. which represents egg farmers.  At issue is the definition of “free range”.  A draft standard which has been under consideration for some time will require an outside stocking density of approximately 10 square feet per bird.

  

A new association entitled Egg Farmers Australia has been formed partly in opposition to the Australian Egg Corporation which has been in existence for fifteen years. 

In a recent court action, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission maintained that some advertising and labeling claiming “free range management” was deceptive. A former Director of the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd. who operates a large farm was fined as a result of the statutory inquiry and the Chair of the organization resigned.  The Australian Egg Corporation Ltd. is now under the direction of Rowan McMonnies, a lawyer by profession who is conversant with consumer and competition law. 

Relative strengths of the Australian Egg Corporation Limited and the new organization, Egg Farmers Australia has yet to be determined. It is evident that an acceptable standard for stocking density must be developed and subjected to audit to maintain consumer confidence in label claims.

   
 

FDA TO PUBLISH FINAL RULE ON MENU-LABELING

Dec 9, 2016

    

The Food and Drug Administration announced that the Final Rule on menu labeling will be issued on May 5th 2017.  In commenting on this decision, Cicely Simpson, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy for the National Restaurant Association stated, “Today’s announcement by the FDA gives the foodservice industry the time it needs to empower its customers to make the best choices for themselves”.  She added, “we have long advocated for a nationwide Federal menu labeling standard that gives customers access to uniform nutritional information at restaurants and obviates a patchwork of state and local laws”.

  

 Implementation of the menu labeling requirement which was incorporated into legislation in 2010 has not been enforced, based on Congressional restraint. On May 5th 2017 restaurants and foodservice businesses with twenty or more locations operating under the same brand will have to post calorie information and provide supplementary nutritional data on request.

It is noted that many quick service restaurants have preempted the 2017 date or were required by state or local laws have posted calorie, sodium or fat content.

   
 

AEB Promotes International Egg Recipes

Dec 9, 2016

    

The universal acceptability of eggs is evident in the range of international recipes circulated by the American Egg Board. 

John Howeth, Senior VP for Food Service and Egg Product Marketing commented that “most Americans embrace being a part of the demographic melting pot.” 

He added “it’s surprising how common the use of eggs is in diverse cuisines and applications.” 

In their weekly report the AEB described:-

  • Malaysia’s Nasi Lemak – hard-cooked eggs with coconut rice and anchovies
  • Mexico’s Huevos Motulenos – eggs on fried tostada with tomatoes, ham, beans, plantains and black beans
  • Sri Lankan Appam – pancakes made with rice flour and served with eggs, coconut cream and honey
  • Venezuela’s Arepas – corn cakes filled with butter, cheese, meats, eggs and avocado
  • Japan’s Tamagoyaki – omelet made from thin layers of cooked egg with rice, sugar and soy sauce.

Enjoy-it’s an EGG!

  

 

   
 

Jewel-Osco to Open Prestige Store

Dec 9, 2016

    

Jewel-Osco has announced that a 45,000 square-foot store at the intersection of Clark and Division Streets in Chicago will be refurbished as a high-end supermarket appealing to urbanites   The location will include a 15,000 square foot mezzanine level with a full-service bar and fresh food offerings.

Dave Hene, Senior Real-estate Manager for Jewel-Osco noted “we really wanted to make a statement for the Jewel-Osco Brand. You can't take a store in this kind of property and just put in what you would do in any other neighborhood or out in the suburbs.”

  

 The Jewel-Osco banner is a part of Albertson’s umbrella, under ownership of AB Acquisitions LLC.  Jewel-Osco operates 186 stores throughout the Chicago metro area and in Indiana and Iowa. Combined the Albrtson’s family comprises 2,200 stores with 265,000 employees and includes Acme Markets, Shaw’s and Star Markets.

The Jewel-Osco store in downtown Chicago will obviously compete with the Whole Foods Market urban concept and will cater to affluent urbanites who demonstrate a high level of loyalty as to their supermarket or destination food store of their choice.

   
 

USDA DATA ON CAGE-FREE PRODUCTION

Dec 9, 2016

    

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

EGG-CITE will summarize and comment on data and trends in a new monthly Cage-Free Report, supplementing the information presented weekly in the Production and Pricing Report.

  

The report for the month of November issued on December 5th provides the following data:-

Flock Size (million hens)

November*       September

Certified Organic

14.1                 13.5

Cage-free hens

23.5                 17.0

Total non-caged

37.6                  30.5

*Unchanged from previous month

Rate of lay 75.3 percent

 

Average weekly production (1,000 cases)

Certified Organic

206,448

Cage-free

344,079

Total non-caged

550,527

 

Average Wholesale Contract Price C-F, L. Brown

$1.64/doz.

Range

$1.30 to $2.22/doz

 

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

$2.86/doz

USDA 6-Region

High (S. West)

$2.95/doz.

 

Low (M’west)

$2.63/doz.

 

   
 

Costco Reports on Q1 of FY 2017

Dec 9, 2016

    

In a release dated December 7th Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) announced results for the 1st Quarter of Fiscal 2017 ending November 20th. The market reacted favorably despite the 0.7 percent miss against expectation on the top line.

   

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).

   
 

RISE IN PRIVATE LABEL BUISNESS

Dec 9, 2016

    

The recent mid-November Exposition organized by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) held in Chicago, showcased innovations in food products and packaging.  Private label business surpassed $118 billion in 2015 with a growth rate approaching two percent

According to Nielsen, store brands in 2015 represented 18 percent of stores’sales value attaining $62.5 billion in U.S. supermarkets.  Growth rates for store brands in drug stores exceeded that of national brands last year. 

  

According to the PLMA, there was considerable growth from deep discount stores including Aldi and Save-A-Lot in addition to Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.  These non-traditional supermarkets achieved $140 billion in sales representing a potential savings of $44 billion annually to shoppers who selected store brands.  According to McMillianDoolittle L.P. of Chicago, the majority of U.S. of food retailers will add to private label offerings in 2017. 

With the advent of Lidl in the U.S., there will be more competition in the private label space with lower prices and fewer s.k.u. counts on shelves.  Consumer surveys show that millennials in particular are more loyal to their favorite stores than their parents with 90 percent of those surveyed shopping in only two stores. 

Brian Scharoff President of the PLMA notes, “Store brands remain the retailer’s most potent weapon in developing strategies for the millennial group”.  He added, “store brands provide flexibility in opportunities to be creative with product assortment and concepts without waiting for national brands”. 

The trend towards store brands is evident with both generic and specialty eggs, to the detriment of national brands, which are experiencing difficulty in maintaining volume in a prolonged low-priced market with large differentials.

   
 

WALMART TESTS COMBINATION CONVENIENCE-PICKUP CONCEPT

Dec 9, 2016

    

Wal-Mart is testing a new concept to boost their eCommerce initiative.  Essentially the prototypes resemble a modern convenience store selling fuel in the forecourt and stocked with groceries, hot sandwiches and coffee in a 4,000 square foot sales area with aisles allowing access to groceries on shelves. 

 

What distinguishes the Wal-Mart operations in Huntsville, AL. and Denver, CO. is that shoppers can pick up groceries previously ordered on-line.  Gina Kretoski, responsible for Walmart eCommerce noted, “The concept was born because at Walmart because we are constantly looking for ways to add convenience.

Customers are changing the way they shop and we want to make sure we’re changing too”.  Online grocery pickup is open from 08H00 to 28H00.  Orders received by 13H00 will be available from 17H00 on the same day.  Orders are filled from local Walmart Supercenters and the service is free.

   
 

FRANCE DIAGNOSES H5N8 ON A DUCK FARM

Dec 9, 2016

    

Following the recent upsurge in reports of H5N8 in the EU, France announced isolation of virus from a duck farm in the southwest region of the Nation.  In early 2016 this area was affected by avian influenza among commercial farms holding geese and ducks to produce foie gras. (See report February 24th).

After a slow start to control and eradication attributed to inaction by regulatory authorities and deficiencies in biosecurity, the late-winter outbreak was eventually contained. Many dozen family-operated farms were affected resulting in bans on importation of poultry products from France and leading to a collapse of the foie gras industry due to embargos imposed by Japan and other importing nations. 

  

December 3rd was to have been the deadline for a declaration of freedom from AI.  It is possible that exports of the high-value foie gras product may continue if importing nations accept the principle of regionalization although it is noted that many of the production farms with up to 10,000 ducks are located in the southwest of France.

   
 

PULSE NET IDENTIFIES MULTI STATE OUTBREAK OF SALMONELLOSIS

Dec 9, 2016

    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infection involving nineteen diagnosed cases extending from January 11th to October 24th 2016. 

Although cases have been reported from eight states, Wisconsin recorded twelve patients.

  

The value of Pulse Net, a National sub-typing network of public health and regulatory laboratories coupled with active databases is capable of identifying an outbreak when individual patients are scattered among many states or clusters.  Since whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is now widely used by diagnostic laboratories and the CDC, it was possible to demonstrate that the isolates from the patients were closely related.  Epidemiologic investigations identified direct contact with dairy calf bullocks emanating from Wisconsin as the source of infection.

Multiple antimicrobial resistance genes were identified in the isolates from fifteen patients and from eight bullocks.  Two isolates of the identical population of S.Heidelberg were shown to be resistant to amoxicillin, ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. The isolates were however susceptible to gentamicin and azithromycin.

The present case illustrates the ability of public health authorities not only to identify specific pathogens but to correlate cases which occur sporadically over a wide geographic area through the Pulse Net database.  In addition, WGS represents a highly specific investigational procedure to identify the source of a pathogen. Any future outbreak of S. Enteritidis will be traced back to the specific farm or source flock given the combined capabilities of state and federal laboratories.

   
 

ALBERTSONS VIEWING ACQUISITION OF PRICE CHOPPER

Dec 9, 2016

    

Albertsons’ Companies is in advanced talks to acquire Price Chopper for $1 billion according to a November 30th posting on Reuters

The acquisition target is closely held by the Golub family, and was established by patriarch, Lewis Golub, an immigrant from Russia in 1900 who established a store, and a warehouse. 

  

The retail chain was initiated by his family in 1932 and is based in Schenectady, NY. now operating 130 stores in three northeast states.  Albertsons, controlled by Cerberus Capital Management has 2,200 stores and is ranked second among retail food supermarket chains after the Kroger Company.

   
 

CME Prices

Dec 7, 2016

    

At the close of trading on December 2nd CME rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal are shown with values for corresponding months  indicated in parentheses:-

COMMODITY

Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec.   337    (349)

March ’17    347    (349)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Jan. 1,028    (1,044)

March ’17  1,038   (1,053)

Soybean meal ($per ton)

Dec.   312    (321)

March ’17    316    (352)

   

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

  • Corn:                     December quotation down by 12 cents.          (-3.4 percent)
  • Soybeans:            January quotation down by 16 cents.               (-1.5 percent)
  • Soybean Meal:   December quotation down by $9/ton               (-2.8 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 posting on the November USDA-WASDE Report #559 under the STATISTICS Tab for a review of quantities and price projections for commodities

     

 

   

Shane Commentary

 

ZIKA VACCINE MAY BE A TWO-EDGED SWORD

Dec 9, 2016

    

Faced with the inevitable spread of Zika virus infection and its consequences to the unborn, research and development of appropriate vaccines has received both funding and attention.  In a perspective article, Drs. Mark Lipsitch and Benjamin Cowling of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the University of Hong Kong respectively make a strong case for the development of Zika vaccines*. The researchers consider both practical and ethical considerations in testing vaccines which may or may not require administration of placebos and random selection of subjects.  In the case of evaluating prospective vaccines in 2015 against Ebola virus infection which has a high fatality rate, the ethics of administering a placebo vaccine were questioned.  In the case of Zika virus, which is a relatively mild infection, other than for pregnant women, double-blind studies are feasible.

  

Dr. Henry Miller of the Hoover Institute has raised important issues regarding widespread application of a Zika vaccine.  He raises the important question of safety and the ability to detect undesirable outcomes of vaccination with limited-scale trials.  Miller notes that Zika and Dengue fever are both caused by flaviviruses and that an immune responses to a second exposure to Dengue virus results in a severe reaction.  He suggests that Zika vaccination on a wide scale may result in an undesirable immune response if recipients are subsequently exposed to Dengue virus.  Zika virus is also associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune condition causing  transient paralysis of varying severity.  It will be necessary to confirm that Zika virus vaccines do not elicit an autoimmune response as occurred with the “Swine Flu” vaccine in 1976.

*Lipsitch, M. and Cowling, B. J. Zika Vaccine Trials. Science 353:1094-1095 (2015)

 

   

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Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
Contact     C. V.

Industry Prices: Fri Dec 9
 Corn3.60 $/bu
 Soybeans10.38 $/bu
 Soybean Meal322.90 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer68  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 52-55  ¢/doz