Purdue University Study on Consumer Knowledge

Sep 26, 2014

A study conducted by Purdue University has shown that most consumers obtain their knowledge on poultry welfare from the various animal rights organizations.  This situation is fraught with complications for intensive livestock production since those opposed to commercial farming systems are in reality promoting a vegan agenda. The internet and social media are replete with misinformation, anecdotal observations and deceptive reports which create false impressions.

Ongoing publicity relating to confined housing of hens has simmered since the run-up to the ballot for the 2008 California Proposition #2. The National Chicken Council and USPoultry are now becoming proactive in using the internet to refute accusations of improper housing and management and welfare issues including “antibiotics and hormones”.  Individual egg, broiler and turkey producers have either established their own websites or are developing postings which promote understanding and acceptance of modern housing and production systems.

There is a small but vociferous minority among consumers including those promoting veganism who will never be reconciled to any form of livestock production.  The efforts of the poultry industry should therefore be directed to a broad spectrum of concerned but currently uninformed consumers representing the “reasonable majority”.

An extremely troubling component of the adverse publicity to which intensive poultry production is subjected lies in the aggressive proselytizing by the HSUS and kindred organizations at the school and university levels.  These groups have identified school teachers and student leaders as target recipients of biased propaganda.

With respect to egg production, the American Egg Board has in large measure dispelled negative images relating to cholesterol and has enhanced the image of eggs among nutritionists and households.  Unfortunately there is less attention on the part of the egg industry to effectively counter concerns over confined housing.  Perhaps the advent of enriched modules will serve as the rallying point for a change in attitude.

It is evident however that our industry organizations and individual companies will have to exercise a higher level of sophistication in their publicity. We will have to match the standard evidenced by opponents of intensive agriculture who have clearly appropriated the high ground.  Studies such as the Purdue University report suggest that appropriate responses to consumer concerns will benefit understanding and enhance the image of the industry.


Egg Industry News


Corn Prices

Oct 1, 2014

Restrictions in the availability of rail transport for the bumper 2014 corn harvest has resulted in considerable regional deviation in the basis above the Chicago Board of Trade futures price.  Corn buyers in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and eastern Colorado are affected.

The basis which represent the difference between the local cash price and the CBT quotation ranges from 10 cents to 83 cents per bushel which is significant in relation to a $3.30 per bushel CBT price.  EGG-CITE and sister publication CHICK-CITE have commented on congestion in the northern-tier railway networks attributed in part to transport of petroleum products from new fields and from shale.  The situation is not expected to ease in coming months.


Happy Egg Company Wins Golden Egg Award

Oct 1, 2014

The Happy Egg Company, a subsidiary of Noble Foods of the UK, received the Golden Egg Award at the 50th International Egg Commission Conference in Edinburgh on September 11th.

The award recognizes the marketing acumen of the company achieving sales of $10 million in the U.S. in 2014. Noble Foods is considered to be the premier egg brand in the UK.

Happy Egg Company packs products in six, ten, and twelve packs in yellow cartons manufactured from recycled and compostable material.


Egg Replacement for Baking

Oct 1, 2014

Neat® Foods has announced the commercial launch of the neat egg™ derived from chia seed and garbanzo beans.  The product is intended to replace eggs used for baking but allowing acceptable leavening. It is also unclear whether the inherent functional properties of egg are duplicated in the synthetic product.

It is evident that the neat egg™ is simply a partial egg replacement for home baking. Neither this product nor the offering by Hampton Creek Foods is a “synthetic egg” contrary to the claims made by the respective companies to “replace eggs”.  The product is priced at approximately $6.00 per 4.5ounce pouch.  To reconstitute the product to be equivalent to one egg for baking, one ounce of neat egg™ is required.  This means that the product would cost approximately $1.30 to replace a single egg costing 20 cents.  Obviously there is a high cost associated with being a vegan.


Salmonellosis among Purchases of Day-Old Chicks Continues

Oct 1, 2014

Inaptly named Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio continues to disseminate Salmonella serotypes including Infantis, Newport and Hadar according to a posting on ProMed-Mail.  During the past month, 44 new cases have been reported from a wide number of states extending from Washington to South Carolina and from South Dakota to Texas.  To date there has been 224 confirmed cases with 71 hospitalizations.


World Egg Day

Oct 1, 2014

October 10th has been designated as World Egg Day by the International Egg Commission.  The date also marks the first anniversary of the International Egg Foundation.  This is a global charitable foundation to assist citizens of developing countries with greater access to eggs.  The International Egg Commission will cooperate with Heart for Africa to support an orphanage in Swaziland and will also fund construction of an egg farm to provide food for the orphanage and local community.


Export Opportunities in Asia

Oct 1, 2014

The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council announced that meat and poultry products can now be exported to Cambodia and Myanmar.

Opening new markets is essential to maintaining export volume, especially in the light of the embargo by the Russian Federation.


Shane Commentary


EPA Backs Down on Alt Case

Oct 1, 2014

Following an adverse ruling against the Environmental Protection Agency by the U.S. Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, the EPA has decided not to pursue further appeals in the case initiated against Lois Alt in October 2013. At issue is the EPA contention that the Clean Water Act empowers the Agency to regulate runoff, potentially containing particulate matter, from farmyards. The EPA initially issued an order threatening Lois Alt with a fine of  $37,000 per day unless she applied for a Clean Water Act permit to cover storm water runoff.

The EPA is concerned that an appellate court decision upholding the lower court ruling would further prejudice EPA regulation of CAFOs. A posting by the EPA on Friday September 19th claimed that the decision to abandon further litigation was based on “the need to conserve resources”.  The posting stated “a smart and strategic enforcement program requires us to make choices about where to spend our time for the biggest benefit to the public”.


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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Industry Prices: Wed Oct 1
 Corn3.22 $/bu
 Soybeans9.18 $/bu
 Soybean Meal298.30 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer99  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 112-115 ¢/doz