Implication of the Failure of the FDA to Diagnose Pet Mortality

Feb 25, 2015

The American Veterinary Association has posted a number of articles relating to mortality in dogs and cats fed jerky treats manufactured in China.  The problem emerged in 2007 and has apparently resulted in 6,000 complaints of illness following consumption of chicken or duck-origin treats.  Reports filed with the FDA include 1,000 deaths of dogs and nearly 6,000 illnesses in addition to a few cases in cats and not unexpectedly, in three pet-owners.

Despite assays for heavy metals, mycotoxins and other chemical contaminants the FDA has not been able to isolate or identify any specific toxin, known pesticide, drug, antibiotic, rodenticide or pathogen responsible for the problem. Most affected and dead dogs have shown renal failure reminiscent of Fanconi Syndrome, a congenital condition in certain breeds, although a wide range of pure-bred and mongrel dogs have been affected.

The FDA apparently is now somewhat complacent that the number of complaints recorded from May to September 2014 declined to a total of 270 compared to 1,800 during the preceding seven months.  This has little to do with the presumption that the toxic agent is no longer in the treats but is due to voluntary recall of products by distributors and the reality that pet-owners have stopped purchasing and feeding these Chinese-origin treats. This is attributed to warnings by Veterinarians, postings on the social media and articles in the mainstream press.


Egg Industry News


H5 HPAI Diagnosed in Minnesota

Mar 6, 2015

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will notify the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) of a laboratory-confirmed case of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial turkey breeder flock in Pope County, in West-Central Minnesota. One of two houses on the farm was affected, with a mortality rate of 80 percent. 

It is anticipated that importing countries will initiate embargos on U.S. poultry products from the state.


Kroger Reports Results for Fiscal 2014.

Mar 6, 2015

In a press release dated March 5th the Kroger Company announced results for Fiscal 2014 ending on January 31st 2015.

The following table summarizes the results for the year and compares the values with the corresponding previous fiscal year.


USDA Prices and Inventory Report, February 2, 2015

Mar 6, 2015


The Midwest market stabilized and started to move upwards during the past week consistent with seasonal trends. Approximately 2 to 3 percent increases were recorded for Extra Large, Large and Medium sizes with an additional 3 to 5 cents fpr the current week.

Young pullets are now coming into production to satisfy pre-Easter demand as older flocks have been replaced. Patterns of placement, molting and depletion of flocks are returning to seasonal levels. The rate of increase in the total national stock of generic eggs rose only slightly (0.9 percent). This was the second week in a row under a 1 percent rise, suggesting that the market has bottomed as we move towards Easter. Total stock comprised 1,451 thousand cases, of which 81 percent comprised shell eggs.

Eggs broken this past week decreased fractionally to 1.417 million cases. Concurrently the proportion from in-line complexes increased again from 58.3 percent to 58.6 percent, suggesting restoration of the shell-egg market. The price of breaking stock delivered to Midwest plants remained constant with a price range of 81 to 83 cents per dozen. Checks were also stable with a range of 63 to 69 cents per dozen.



Prestigious Slate of Speakers for 2015 Alltech REBELation.

Mar 4, 2015

Alltech has announced the line-up of speakers for the 2015 Alltech REBELation, 
to be held in Lexington, KY. May 16th to 20th.

The committed participants will include:-

  • General Colin Powell, U.S. Army Retired, former United States Secretary of State
  • Jim Stengel, former Global Marketing Officer, Procter & Gamble, and Author, Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies
  • Raymond McCauley, Biotechnology & Bioinformatics Chairperson, Singularity University
  • Captain Mike Abrashoff, Former Navy Commander and Author, It's Your Ship
  • Bob Langert, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, McDonald’s
  • Jerry O’Callaghan, Director of Investor Relations, JBS
  • Dan Glickman, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; Former Congressman (D-KS); Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market
  • Lisa Bodell, Innovation Expert, Founder and CEO of futurethink and Author, Kill the Company
  • John Calipari, Head Coach of 2012 NCAA National Basketball Champions, the University of Kentucky Wildcats
  • Dr. Ron Hardy, Director of the Aquaculture Research Institute
  • George Chamberlain, President of the Global Aquaculture Alliance
  • Bill Samuels, Jr., former President of Maker’s Mark
  • Sam Calagione, Founder and President, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
  • Greg Koch, CEO and Co-Founder of Stone Brewing Co.
  • John Osborne, General Manager – R&D, Operations Research, The Kroger Co.
  • Paul Hill, Chairman of the Board, West Liberty Foods
  • Peter Gandolfo, Business Development Director, The Drucker Institute
  • Brian Coan, Vice President, Enterprise Supply Chain at Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Gary Cooper, President of the National Turkey Federation and Cooper Farms

 For a full listing of confirmed speakers to date and registration details visit www.alltech.com/REBELation


Egg Industry Center Finalizes Program for Forum

Mar 4, 2015

The 7th Annual Egg Industry Issues Forum will be held at the Embassy Suites, Downtown Des Moines, Iowa,
on Tuesday April 7th and Wednesday April 8th

Click the More button to view the detailed agenda.


Introduction of the Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act

Mar 4, 2015

Previously Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.  This was submitted as an amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill but was withdrawn before consideration. After adoption the Keystone Bill was vetoed by President Obama.  Accordingly the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 was reintroduced on February 27th and will be referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, Chaired by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA)


Maryland Governor Imposes a 12-Month Moratorium on Proposed Manure Regulations

Mar 4, 2015

Previously EGG-CITE has reported on the environmental rules signed by outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley (D) enacted in the hours before transition to Governor Larry Hogan (R).

Governor Larry Hogan has issued a new set of rules representing a compromise between opposing factions.  Although similar to the previous regulations favored by Senator Paul G. Pinsky (D-Princes Georges County) the plan advanced by Governor Hogan suspends the contentious “Phosphorus Management Tool.”


Opposition to Transatlantic Trade Agreement in the UK

Mar 4, 2015

EGG-CITE has previously commented that many organizations representing agriculture in the EU are opposed to the Transatlantic Trade Agreement as it would effectively expose the high cost of production to competition from more efficient U.S. agriculture.

British poultry producers are now opposing the agreement through the National Farmers Union.  In what might be regarded as a cynical address to delegates to the European Parliament, Duncan Priestner, the Chairman of the Poultry Board of the National Farmers Union, stated that “British consumers expected and demanded higher welfare, environmental and food standards”.  What was not stated is that the cost of isolationism and parochialism will be borne by consumers at the checkout counter.


Proposed Settlement in Shell Egg and Product Antitrust Case

Feb 27, 2015

A legal notice was posted in the February 24th edition of the Wall Street Journal relating to Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation case number 08-md-02002 entered into the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The notice confirms settlement by plaintiffs NuCal Foods Inc. and Hillandale Farms of PA Inc. and Hillandale-Gettysburg L.P.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants conspired to limit the supply of shell eggs and egg products therby raising the price of these commodities in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act which prohibits agreements that unreasonably restrain competition.


Aldi Expanding in Texas

Feb 27, 2015

According to a report in the Dallas News, Aldi intends competing directly with the Wal-Mart small-store concept in Texas.  The German-based company considers that it has the potential to establish and operate 450 stores in the state with the intention of bringing the total U.S. count to 2,000 by 2018.

Currently Aldi operate a distribution center in Denton, TX but has a second DC under construction in Rosenberg, TX. near Houston, which will open in early 2016. Aldi is actively seeking suppliers for their full range of private label products.

Wal-Mart has opened 37 Neighborhood Markets in 12,000 square foot and 40,000 square foot configuration in Texas over the past two years.  Neighborhood Markets are showing a 7.7 percent same-store sales increase over the past year based on the attributes of convenient access and availability of fresh foods, pharmacies and other services.


Whole Foods Market Offering Discounts on Fewer Items

Feb 27, 2015

A February 24th article in Supermarket News confirms that Whole Foods Market appears to be reducing the number of items which have been discounted in the New York metro area.  An analyst for Sterne Agee who has tracked Whole Foods circulars over 21 months noted deals on 26 items at an average discount of 33 percent.  A year ago Whole Foods Market offered discounts on 31 items at an average reduction of 29 percent.

Whole Foods Market is not commenting publicly on their pricing and circular policy but acknowledged that the Company has been working on “numerous strategies to improve pricing and price perception”.


Tyson Designated “Most Admired Company”

Feb 27, 2015

In a February 24th press release, Tyson Foods announced that it was included among “Americas Most Admired Companies” by Fortune Magazine.  The company actually moved up in the list of most admired food companies being recognized for innovation, management, and long-term investment value. 

In commenting on the award, President and CEO Donnie Smith stated, “We are proud of our company and believe it is built for growth especially after our 2014 acquisition of the Hillshire Brands company” He added, “this recognition is truly deserved by our Team Members who work hard every day to make sure we make affordable, great tasting food available for our customers to sale to families around the world”.


Beneficial Effect of Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Occular Function

Feb 27, 2015

A recent article in the peer-reviewed literature* demonstrated the benefit of supplementing diets with lutein and zeaxanthin on glare-reduction and promoting chromatic contrast.  Approximately 55 young healthy subjects were supplemented with lutein at 10 mg per day and zeaxanthin at 2 mg per day.  The control group comprised an equal number of matched volunteers receiving a placebo in a double-blind experimental design.

The trial demonstrated significant increases in the optical density of macular pigment in the treatment group compared to controls.  Chromatic contrast and photo-stress recovery time improved significantly as a result of supplementation.


Hy-Line Appointment

Feb 27, 2015

Hy-Line International has announced that Brittney Roorda has been appointed as International Marketing Manager.  Her responsibilities will include planning, implementing market activities, communications, and public relations.  She will be based at the Hy-Line International office in West Des Moines, IA.  In commenting on the appointment Tom Dixon, International Sales and Marketing Director stated, “Brittney’s wealth of experience will help Hy-Line further develop how we communicate the value which our product brings to the international egg industry”.

Ms. Roorda earned a baccalaureate degree in Public Service and Administration in Agriculture from Iowa State University and prior to her current appointment served as communications director for Des Moines First.


Big Dutchman Appointments

Feb 27, 2015

Bryant Wiley and Jeremy Houdek have been promoted to sales positions in the Commercial Egg Systems Division of Big Dutchman USA.  Both incumbents have had considerable experience in the egg industry and have been mentored by Adam Dickerson and by Terry Pollard, Senior VP Commercial Egg Systems and his associate Steve Walcott VP Commercial Egg Systems.


Shane Commentary


Wal-Mart Finds Organic Difficult to Implement

Mar 6, 2015

Charles Holley, CFO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. noted in a recent industry meeting that the initiative to expand organic food through the joint venture with Wild Oats announced a year ago has not progressed as fast as anticipated.  Holley stated, “it’s still rolling out with different products from Wild Oats at store level”. 

Wal-Mart believes that 90 percent of their customers would purchase organic food if prices were considerably lower than at present.  Holley believes “it takes working with suppliers over a period of time in order to lever the quantity to get the price down that’s affordable for our core customer”.

Wal-Mart is facing the reality that it is extremely expensive to produce USDA Certified organic products.  This is due to the cost of organic ingredients and onerous regulations and requirements that are not based on scientific or business reality. 

It is inconceivable how a company with the presumed marketing expertise of a world leader considers that their clientele, which purchases groceries fruit and meat using food stamps, is sufficiently discriminating and health-conscious as to demand and pay extra for organic products. Whole Food Markets they are not!


Allegations against PETA Lead to Legislation on Shelters in Virginia

Mar 4, 2015

On 25th February, EGG-CITE posted a report of an expose of PETA activities in their Norfolk, VA. animal shelter. It is generally accepted that this facility has operated with a “kill-rate” of approximately 90 percent of animals received for adoption or collected as strays. 

Bill SB1381 introduced by Senator Bill Stanley passed with minor amendments on a 95-2 vote.  Previously the Bill passed the Senate 33-5. The Bill defines private animal shelters as facilities operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes. SB 1381 was altered by a floor-  amendment to strike the words” and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes”.  This might be interpreted that the PETA facility would not have to care for terminally ill animals. 


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Industry Prices: Fri Mar 6
 Corn3.78 $/bu
 Soybeans9.79 $/bu
 Soybean Meal334.40 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer124  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 126-129 ¢/doz