Editorial


Hygiene and Food Safety at Farmers Markets Questioned

11/07/2018

Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences recently conducted a survey of food safety practices at farmers markets. The study disclosed that vendors have minimal training in food safety including storage and handling. A notable conclusion from the study was that there was a wide discrepancy between evaluation of standards by professional observers and the self-reported assessment by vendors. Almost half of farmers’ markets offer prepared foods and two thirds sell meat and poultry.

It is calculated that there are more than 8,000 farmers’ markets in operation in the U.S. A large increase occurred during the Obama Administration which promoted the direct farmer-to- consumer chain as a means of “saving” family farms.

Some of the discrepancies noted by the Pennsylvania State researchers included:

  • Failure to maintain raw and temperature-sensitive foods under refrigeration
  • Failure to implement food safety including the use of gloves when handling food
  • Concurrent handling of money and unpackaged foods
  • Allowing contact between ready-to-eat foods and high-risk foods including meat and seafood.

German "Bauermarkt Display"

The principal researcher noted that indirect and surreptitious observation disclosed deviations from acceptable practice since the traditional clipboard approach generally provides a distorted assessment of practices as store holders are alerted to the need for compliance.

The study involved assays for bacterial pathogens. E.coli was present in 40 percent of beef samples, 18 percent of pork, 15 percent of kale and 29 percent of lettuce. Of greater significance was the presence of Listeria on 8 percent of beef sampled, 2 percent on kale, 4 percent on lettuce and 7 percent on spinach. There were no studies correlating observations made by the researchers in Pennsylvania into possible outbreaks of foodborne infection.

The research team included Dr. Rama Radhakrishna, Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education, Dr. Jonathan Campbell of the Department of Animal Science and Dr. Cathy Cutter, Professor of Food Science all of Pennsylvania State College of Agriculture. They all emphasized the need for training with emphasis on food safety.

The rapid expansion of farmers markets in the U.S. during the 2010s was not accompanied by appropriate investment in facilities. The situation in the U.S. with makeshift tables and stalls in parking lots can be contrasted with traditional farmers markets in Western European nations including France and Germany. Vendors use custom trailers with refrigeration and display cases. The standard of hygiene matches that of supermarkets. Even the stalls selling vegetables and non-perishable foods conform to acceptable standards of presentation and hygiene.

USDA funding was extended to farmers markets during the tenure of Tom Vilsack the former Secretary of Agriculture, but there was a disproportionate concern for public health. The situation nationwide should be rectified with involvement of the extension departments of Land-Grant colleges.

 


 

Egg Industry News


Export of Shell Eggs and Products January-September 2018.

11/11/2018

USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-September 2018 with the corresponding period in 2017:-

PRODUCT

Jan.-Sept. 2017

Jan.-Sept. 2018

Difference

Shell Eggs

     

Volume (m. dozen)

91.1

86.2

-4.9 (-5.4%)

Value ($ million)

87.9

95.9

+8.0 (+9.1%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)

0.87

1.11

+0.24 (+27.6%)

Egg Products

 

 

 

Volume (metric tons)

32,777

24,040

-8,737 (-26.6%)

Value ($ million)

85.6

85.9

+0.3 (+0.4%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)

2,612

3,573

+961 (+36.8%)

U.S. SHELL EGG AND EGG PRODUCT EXPORTS IN JANUARY-

SEPTEMBER 2018 COMPARED WITH JANUARY-SEPTEMBER 2017

Source USDA-FAS/USAPEEC

SHELL EGGS

Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January-September 2018 decreased by 4.9 percent in volume but increased 9.1 percent in total value compared to January-September 2017. Unit value was higher by 27.6 percent or 24 cents per dozen for the comparison between 2017 and 2018. The top two importing nations represented 78.5 percent of volume and 74.3 percent of value.

Canada was the leading importer over nine months, with 34.1 million dozen representing 39.1 percent of volume and 41.1 percent of value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs with an average unit value of $1.15 cents per dozen. Shell eggs shipped to Canada represent the difference between domestic demand and production limited by a national permit system.

Hong Kong ranked a close second in imports during the first nine months of 2018 with 33.6 million dozen representing 38.9 percent of volume and 33.2 percent of value at $31.9 million with a unit value of $0.95 per dozen.

Mexico was a distant third in rank during the first nine months of 2018 with 5.2 percent of volume and 4.7 percent of value,

The Caribbean Region represented 6.2 percent of export volume in January-September 2018. This region was down 60.7 percent in volume and 26.6 percent in value compared with January-September 2017. The unit value of shell eggs exports to the Caribbean averaged $2.13 per dozen for the nine-month period in 2018 which appears inordinately high, warranting validation of USDA data or an investigation of the price discrepancy.

EGG PRODUCTS

The total volume of exported egg products during the first nine months of 2018 decreased by 26.7 percent but total value was higher by 0.4 percent compared to January-September 2017. Unit value increased by 36.5 percent to $3,573 per ton from $2,612 for January-September 2017, reflecting the relationship between World supply and demand. Export volume during 2017 was influenced by the fipronil crisis and by avian influenza in the E.U.

During January-September 2018, Japan represented 32.5 percent of the total U.S. export volume with 8,471 m. tons, a decrease of 4.3 percent over the first nine months of 2017.

Mexico continued as the 2nd-ranked importer with 3,495 m. tons representing 14.5 percent of volume and 11.5 percent of value at $9.9 million. Mexico decreased volume over January-September 2018 by 29.0 percent and total value decreased by 2.9 percent compared to the corresponding nine months of 2017. In September 2018 imports of egg products by Mexico fell by 29.1 compared to September 2017.

Canada ranked third among importers attaining 14.7 percent of volume and 10.0 percent of value exported.

For January-September 2018, the 4th-ranked E.U-28 imported 1,698 m. tons of egg products, representing 7.0 percent of the volume during the first nine months of 2017 and 35.0 percent less value compared with the first three quarters of 2017. Volume of 2,251 m. tons in 2017 was presumably influenced by shortages occasioned by HPAI. The transitory impact of fipronil contamination ceased in early 2018 as flocks were replaced in Holland and Belgium.

South Korea posted a 79.5 percent lower volume for January-September 2018 compared with the first nine months of the previous year. Value declined by 53.6 percent with a unit value of $4,841 per m. ton which is far in excess of the average value of $3,573 denoting a special product mix.

COMMENTS

Successful conclusion of NAFTA negotiations led to the trilateral USMCA announced on September 30th. Exports of shell eggs and egg products to our neighbors were valued at $74.7 million in 2017.

Prospects for long-term exports of shell eggs will be limited by the willingness of importers to accept the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principle of regionalization in the event of exotic Newcastle disease and isolation of H5 or H7 avian influenza irrespective of pathogenicity. This concern follows the early 2017 cases of North American-lineage H7N9 HPAI in broiler breeders and some backyard flocks. Most importing nations, with the noted exception of China, are now applying regionalization and permitting imports on a county or state-exclusion basis following H5 or H7 AI infection.

The recent diagnoses of END in over 170 backyard flocks in five counties in California should not impact exports since importers are complying with the OIE principle of regionalization. The outbreaks of LPAI in four organic turkey flocks in California and six commercial flocks in Minnesota should not impact export of eggs.

Generally pasteurized egg products should not be subject to any embargo imposed following reports of
 


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, November 14th 2018.

11/14/2018
  • Hen Numbers in Production increased 1.2 million to 322.4 million.
  • Shell Inventory Down by 4.5 Percent from Previous Week.
  • USDA Midwest Benchmark Generic Prices for Extra Large, Large and Medium Sizes up Respectively by 6.1, 6.3 and 12.7 Percent from Past Week.

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on November 13th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large, Large and Medium sizes were up respectively by 6.1, 6.3 and 12.7 percent compared to the past week. The progression of prices during 2018 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The November 13th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 46) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.19 per dozen delivered to warehouses week ending November 9th. This price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.10 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.25 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 5 cents per dozen below the three-year average and 3 cents per dozen above the corresponding week in 2017.


 

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT

11/09/2018

According to the November 8th 2018 WASDE Report #583, 81.8 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2018 to produce 14.62 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.60 Billion bushels from 88.3 million acres harvested. The levels of production for the two commodities are based on revised projections of yield and acreage harvested. Ending stocks were revised based on anticipated domestic use and exports.

See the WASDE posting summarizing the November 8th USDA-WASDE Report #583 in this edition documenting price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced, used and exported from the 2018 harvest

Quarterly corn and soybean stocks were estimated by USDA in a release on September 28th to total 2.14 Billion bushels (14.7 percent of the 2017 harvest) and 0.44 Billion bushels (10.0 percent of 2017 harvest) respectively. Of the "old soy crop" 0.10 Billion bushels are held as on-farm storage, up 15 percent from the corresponding period in 2017. Off-farm storage is up 58 percent to 0.34 billion bushels. Disappearance from June to August was 0.78 Billion bushels, up 18 percent from the corresponding period in 2017. This reflects accelerated shipments in anticipation of increased tariffs imposed by China. Since August soybean exports to China have ceased.

The following quotations for the months as indicated were posted by the CME at close of trading on November 9th together with values for the corresponding months in parentheses confirmed a slight decline in prices after an upturn during the previous week.

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec.'18 369 (371)

March '19 380 (383)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. '18 875 (874)

March '19 899 (899)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Dec. '18 306 (311)

March '19 311 (315)

Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal were:-

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK____________________

Corn: Dec. quotation down 2 cents per Bu. (-0.5 percent)

Soybeans: Nov. quotation up 1 cent per Bu. (+0.1 percent)

Soybean Meal: Dec. quotation down $5 per ton (-1.6 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

Markets were essentially unaffected by release of the November WASDE. There is no immediate prospect of resolving the trade dispute with China before the 2018 harvest is completed. The Administration previously announced that negotiations are underway to arrange a meeting between President Trump and Premier Xi in late November at the G-20 Meeting but there has been no confirmation of a specific date or agenda. Markets fluctuate in response to conflicting messages from the White House concerning possible resolution of trade issues with China.

The financial future for row-crop farmers appears bleak despite the promise of $12 billion as "short-term" compensation. Recent comments from the USDA suggest that this value may be trimmed. Farmers will not be placated by the promise of a year-round E-15 blend since the logistic problems of delivery to consumers and legal challenges will delay any positive price benefit. The loss inflicted on farmers by the trade war with China is a gain for livestock producers who will benefit from lower feed costs. Of course the hog and poultry industries have experienced higher costs for a decade as a result of the RFS, a gift which keeps on giving. The RFS is a boon to Midwest politicians, corn growers and ethanol refiners at the expense of anyone in the U.S. who eats or uses any form of transport.


 

Status of 2018 Corn and Soybean Crops

11/04/2018

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on November 5th updated the 2018 corn and soybean harvest.

Seventy-six percent of the corn crop has been harvested conforming to the 5-year average. There is concern over mycotoxicosis associated with early and persistent drought which occurred in some Midwest states during the "silking" stage coupled with wet conditions at the time of harvest.

Eighty-three percent of the soybean crop has been harvested compared to eighty-nine percent for the 5-year average. Harvest was delayed by rain during the past three weeks but advanced eleven percent this past week. The problem facing farmers and elevators will be storage given the rise in ending stocks occasioned by cessation of exports to China. Some relief may occur with the sale of the Southern Hemisphere harvest.

EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA and will continue posting updates through the end of harvest.

WEEK ENDING

Crop Parameter (%)

October 28th

November 4th

5-Year Average

Corn Emerged

Corn Silking

Corn Dough

Corn Denting

Corn Mature

Corn Harvested

100

100

100

100

100

63

100

100

100

100

100

76

100

100

100

100

100

77

       

Soybeans Emerged

Soybeans Blooming

Soybeans Setting Pods

Soybeans Dropping Leaves

Soybeans Harvested

100

100

100

100

72

100

100

100

100

83

100

100

100

100

89


 

USDA-WASDE FORECAST #583 November 8th 2018

11/08/2018

OVERVIEW

The October 11th 2018 USDA WASDE projections for the 2018 corn and soybean harvests are based on actual planting data, crop progress with monitoring by "scouts", recorded crop progress and the fact that 70 percent of the new-crop corn and 87 percent of soybeans have been harvested. The acreage for corn was retained from the July through October projections at 81.8 million acres (83.1 million in 2017). Soybeans will be harvested from 88.3 million acres (89.5 million acres in 2017).

The USDA lowered corn yield by 1.0 percent to 178.9 bushels per acre from the October WASDE (175.4 bushels in 2017). Soybean yield was reduced by 1.9 percent from October to 52.1 bushels per acre (49.5 bushels in 2017).

The November USDA projection of ending stock for corn was lowered by 4.4 percent to 1,736 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans was raised 7.7 percent to 955 million bushels resulting in predictable declines in CME quotations.

The 2018 corn and soybean crops will be the second largest ever but will be harvested during a time of uncertainty regarding previously projected, anticipated and actual export volumes. The USDA projections of ending stocks and hence prices for corn and soybeans take into account current announced tariffs on U.S. products but do not reflect tariffs or unlikely resolution of the trade conflict with China.


 

R-Calf in Montana Granted a Motion to Include 13 Other States in Lawsuit

11/09/2018

The Federal district court in Montana has granted a motion for R-Calf, the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consolidate 13 additional states in the action.

The USDA is under injunction not to compel cattle producers in Montana to pay the Montana Beef Council without obtaining consent from producers. According to a report in the Kansas Ag Connection on November 6th, cattle producers can individually decide if they want half of the mandatory assessments collected to be spent by the Montana Beef Council or alternatively all of their contributions to be assigned to the Cattleman’s Beef Board checkoff program under the control of the USDA-AMS.

R-Calf claim that the various state beef councils have been sending as much as $10 million in checkoff funds annually to the National Cattleman’s Beef association which serves as a lobbying group without the strict controls imposed on the Cattleman’s Beef Board.

For a number of years, discontent in the beef industry has been simmering, and the use of checkoff funds is an important consideration among producers belonging to industry groups administered by the USDA. Generally checkoff funds can be used for research, promotion of a commodity and educational purposes with the objective of ethical promotion of a product. Federal law disallows funds to be used for lobbying or promotion of commercial entities or brands or disparagement of products or companies.


 

Walmart Beats Amazon in Grocery E-Commerce Survey

11/13/2018

Matthew Boyle of Bloomberg recently reported on the survey conducted by Retail Feedback Group dealing with service provided by online retail groceries.  Walmart scored on the Click-and-Collect service deployed in 2,000 stores with an additional 1,000 to be added by the end of 2019.  Walmart also makes use of DoorDash and Deliv for home delivery against payment of a fee. 

 

Amazon offers grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market stores for Prime customers in 60 cities and has recently introduced in-store pickup.

 

Predictably the survey determined that perishable products including meat, seafood and produce are purchased preferentially in-store as consumers believe this ensures freshness


 

USPOULTRY Allocates $385,000 in Research Grants

11/13/2018

USPOULTRY Foundation has approved $385,000 for five research grants through the Comprehensive Research Program.

The projects as selected comprise:

  • Improving Cage Free Air Quality, Hen Welfare and Egg Quality with Artificial Turf and A Manure Removal System - Purdue University (made possible by a gift from Midwest Poultry Services)

  • Examining the Roles of Macrophages and Vascular Inflammation in Broiler White Striping University of California - Davis (with a grant from Simmons Foods)

  • Identifying the Contribution of Broiler Genetics on Gut Health and Immune Response When Challenged with Salmonella Typhimurium - University of Maryland (with a grant from Ingram Farms)

  • Investigating the Impact of Anthelmintic Resistance in Nematode Parasites of Poultry -University of Georgia (with a gift from Wayne Farms LLC)

  • Response of Broilers Fed Phytase Enzymes of Different Optimal pH Ranges Alone or in Combination - Mississippi State University (with a grant from Peco Foods)

In commenting on the awards, Tom Hensley of Fieldale Farms noted, "Research continues to be an important component of USPOULTRY and the Foundation as a service to the industry." He paid tribute to the Research Advisory Committee for its efforts in evaluating proposals and providing recommendations for funding.


 

Phibro Animal Health Reports Q1 Results

11/13/2018

On November 6, Phibro Animal Health reported results for the first quarter of Fiscal 2019 ending September 30th 2018.  The company posted net income of $16.3 million on sales of $200.2 million.  Net income and sales were both three percent higher than the corresponding first quarter of Fiscal 2018. 

 

In commenting on results, Jack Bendheim Chairman, president and CEO stated, “Our animal health business reported another positive quarter despite turbulence in currencies, economic conditions in certain countries and continued weakness in the dairy fundamentals.”  He added, “We are investing P & L expense dollars to develop future growth opportunities.  The spending is focused on expanding our portfolio of nutritional specialty and vaccine products and developing an entry into the companion animals segment.”


Jack Bendheim

 

Hendrix-Genetics Receives Grant for Africa Project

11/13/2018

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a multi-year grant to Hendrix-Genetics to establish a breeding program to develop strains suitable for rural Africa supplying smallholder farmers.

 

The project entitled Sustainable Access to Poultry Parent Stock to Africa will provide improved dual-purpose breeds intended to perform under difficult conditions on the Continent.

Louis Berrault, General Manager of Sasso stated, “We are excited to use our extensive expertise in poultry breeding to benefit smallholder farmers in Africa.”  He added, “With the Foundation’s support we are committed to further build on a sustainable infrastructure to supply healthy parent stock across Africa.”

Randall Ennis, CEO of the World Poultry Foundation commented, “This project will give a huge boost in realizing how the Foundation’s mission of poultry as a solution for the hungry as it empowers farmers to build a better life with improved breeds to secure their income.”

 

Although improved genetics will be beneficial, restraints to achieving acceptable production at the smallholder level include adequate nutrition and disease.  A model which has proved successful in some nations involves distribution of started pullets to be housed under confinement in villages.  Distribution of day-old chicks without a support structure for vaccination and absent a supply of balanced feed is a worthless exercise.

 

In the context of urban demand in nations with an infrastructure of harbors, roads and domestic production of feed ingredients and a cold chain for distribution, using improved specialty breeds for eggs and broilers respectively, represents a greater benefit to the population based on superior performance especially in feed conversion.


 

SELEGGT Unveils Gender Selection Technology

11/08/2018

A joint venture between Dutch incubation company HatchTech and German supermarket chain REWE Group has developed a practical gender identification system for commercial-level hatching eggs with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

 

On the 9th day of incubation a sample of allantoic fluid is withdrawn through a laser-produced  hole in the shell 0.3 mm in diameter. The fluid is assayed in real time for the presence of estrone indicating an egg with a female embyo. This allows removal of half the setting comprising eggs wit male embryos. According to preliminary studies the outer shell membrane seals the extraction aperture and does not affect hatchability or chick quality.

REWE will market commercial eggs designated as derived from pullets “without brothers” This is considered a marketing advantage in a nation increasingly concerned over the destruction of 45 million day-old cockerel chicks.

 

Seleggt GmbH is developing a business model to make the system available as a “cost-neutral” service. Commercial application is anticipated in early 2020. REWE will roll-out commercial eggs initially in 223 stores in Berlin and will extend to 5,000 REWE and PENNY stores in Germany.

The integrity of the process will be ensured through blockchain technology.

 

In commenting on the Seleggt process unveiled on November 8th representatives of the the participating entities commented on the technical achievement and prospects:-

  

The Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner stated “This is a great day for animal welfare in Germany. In this way we will set the pace in Europe. My Ministry has provided around five million euros to support research for promising methods of gender identification in hatching eggs. With  the market readiness of the process presented today, Germany is a pioneer. Now it is possible to identify the gender of the chicks in the hatching egg through a needle-tip tiny hole. Male hatching eggs no longer need to be incubated and killed immediately after hatching.

Dr. Ludger Breloh, Managing Director of SELEGGT stated “The Ministry's funding was tremendously important to us, especially during the research phase at the University of Leipzig. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the ministry for this support.

Despite all the euphoria, we still have a long way to go. We will work vigorously from our side to make the SELEGGT process available to the hatcheries as a cost-neutral system. Next year, we intend to move from market readiness to start of production Jan Kunath, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of REWE Group said “REWE Group promotes and funds change processes in the industry that take social demands into account – even beyond those outside the company’s own business divisions. For this reason, REWE Group set up SELEGGT GmbH, a joint venture whose mission is to conduct basic research on endocrinologic gender identification in hatching eggs until market-ready solutions are developed. I am therefore all the more pleased that, as of today, we can offer customers in our REWE and PENNY stores an alternative husbandry”

 

Further information is available on www.seleggt.com


 

Mexico Reports H7N3 HPAI on Small Farms

11/08/2018

According to a report to the World Organization for Animal Health, Mexico identified cases of H7N3 HPAI on egg production farms in each of the states of Queretaro and Guanajuato. Outbreaks involved an egg production farm and a flock of fighting cocks.

HPAI can be regarded as endemic in many states in Mexico but is suppressed by administration of inactivated vaccines.

The avian influenza situation is continuously monitored by SENASICA, equivalent to USDA APHIS.


 

Salmet Appoints Regional Business Manager, U.S. and Canada

11/08/2018

Peter Mumm will serve as the Regional Business Manager for U.S. and Canada for Salmet GmbH & Co KG.  Peter is a 25 year veteran of the North American Egg Industry and was previously affiliated to a major primary breeder.


 

Egg Nutrition Center Appoints Director of Research

11/08/2018

The American Egg Board announced that Dr. Jen Houchins will serve as the director of Nutrition Research coordinating the ongoing research program and professional communications.

 

Previous Dr. Houchins served five years with the National Dairy Council as the Director of Regulatory Affairs.  Dr. Houchins earned a baccalaureate degree from the University of Minnesota and was awarded a PhD by Purdue University.  She is a Registered Dietician and can be contacted at jhouchins@eggnutritioncenter.org


 

ENC Presented Promotional Event at Food and Nutrition Conference

11/08/2018

From left to right, Dr. Mickey Rubin and Katie Hayes, ENC and Paul Sauder, Sauder’s Egg, PA.

The Egg Nutrition Center, a unit of the American Egg Board hosted a breakfast event for attendees at the 2018 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo.  Special guest speaker was the chair of the AEB Member and Consumer Marketing Committee, Paul Sauder who provided a perspective on U.S. egg production.


 

Egg Nutrition Center Emphasizes Importance of Lutein Intake

11/08/2018

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson of Tufts University and Dr. Naiman Khan of the University of Illinois presented scientific data demonstrating the benefit of dietary lutein on brain and eye function at the 2018 Food and Nutrition Conference.

 

The Egg Nutrition Center operated a Macular Pigment Optical Density instrument at the Expo to measure the concentration of macular lutein in the eyes of attendees.  It is considered significant that approximately 15 percent of those screened among a population of registered dieticians showed suboptimal levels of lutein.

 

Lutein is present in the yolk of eggs and nutritional value can be enhanced supplementing diets with natural pigments extracted from marigold petals which supply xanthophylls and lutein.

 

There is no U.S. RDA for lutein which is considered a critical nutrient. Dietary supplementation is recommended to prevent macular degeneration.


 

FDA Issues Recommendations Following Arizona STEC Contamination

11/08/2018

As the growers in the Yuma Valley, AZ plant their crops for the 2019 season, the FDA has issued recommendations based on the belated investigation of the extensive STEC outbreak attributed to Romaine lettuce earlier this year.

 

Based on an assessment of the source of the STEC involved in an outbreak, the FDA have placed emphasis on preventing contamination of that irrigation water.  The recommendations also include suggestions to process and pack ready-to-eat produce.  It is self-evident that in the absence of an effective decontamination procedure, lettuce, spinach and other leafy vegetables that are harvested with E. coli or other pathogens present will represent a risk to consumers.

 

Regulations introduced by the Leafy Growers Association to distance fields from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations including dairy farms and feed lots will be beneficial.  It is however necessary to constantly monitor irrigation and processing water for the presence of E. coli which may be present in sub-surface water as a result of percolation and runoff.

 

At the present time irradiation is the only absolutely effective measure to decontaminating leafy vegetables with bacteria causing foodborne disease.  This would involve installing electron beam pasteurization, analogous to X-rays at packing plants or transfer of pallet-loads of packed product to a central facility using cobalt60 isotopic irradiation at dose rates subject to FDA approval.  Ultimately consumers will have to decide whether they are willing to accept innocuous irradiation or endure with recurrent outbreaks of listeriosis, salmonellosis and colibacillosis.


 

Elanco Animal Health Enters into Strategic Partnership with Novozymes

11/08/2018

Elanco Animal Health will collaborate with Novozymes in the area of ruminant nutrition.  It is intended for the joint venture to undertake research and development to produce commercially acceptable products within a decade.  It is to be expected that the results of the collaboration will eventually extend to monogastric species including poultry.


 

Commentary


Omnivores, Vegetarians and Vegans

11/01/2018

Vegans tend to be a vociferous minority frequently proselytizing consumers to their lifestyle. The question arises as to the proportion in the U.S. population that are respectively vegans and vegetarians. A 2017 study conducted by Nielsen yielded a value of three percent of the population regarding themselves as vegans with six percent as vegetarians. Concurrently, Gallup and Harris found three percent of the population self-characterizing as vegan during the period 2012 to 2018.

These figures would appear to be high in relation to a 2016 study in Britain which showed that only one percent of those surveyed never ate meat or animal products. The U.K. value is closer to studies conducted by Faunalytics which ascertained that only 0.5 percent of the U.S. population are true vegans with additional 3 to 4 percent as vegetarians.

Obviously the discrepancy between polls and detailed surveys relates to definition. Vegans exclude all meat, fish, dairy and egg products from their diets. Vegetarians generally eschew meat but consume eggs and dairy products. Flexitarians represent a class of consumers who move between omnivorous and vegetable-based diets.

The low proportion of true vegans and a fairly stable number of vegetarians belies the increase in consumption of food products designated “vegetarian”. Obviously consumers are purchasing vegetarian foods which are incorporated in a conventional omnivorous diet. The motivation for this practice has yet to be defined although companies such as Nestle which estimates that only a quarter of consumers purchasing vegetarian meals fall strictly into this category. Obviously some consumers classified as flexitarians consider that some welfare or sustainability objectives are satisfied by eating an occasional vegetarian meal, thereby, contributing to a feeling of self-satisfaction.

The subject of veganism reviewed by The Economist on October 13th characterizes responses elicited by surveys as “aspirational self-deception, terminological inexactitude or simply hypocrisy”.

In assessing the environmental impact of egg production, the carbon dioxide equivalent emission per ton of protein from eggs is approximately 25,000 tons per ton of protein compared to beef at 275,000 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of protein.


 

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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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