Editorial

 

Application of Whole Genome Sequencing is a Two-edged Sword

Apr 26, 2017

    

The Centers for Disease Control in conjunction with the California Department of Public Health, scientists at Land Grant universities and the USDA-FSIS recently published on an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg which affected 146 confirmed cases in 24 states during 2014.  The article* demonstrates that whole genome sequencing allows investigators to extend the specificity of a field study to achieve definitive laboratory identification of pathogens. 

  

Organisms derived from 27 patients and 24 food isolates implicated in the outbreak were subjected to whole genome sequencing.  Isolates were classified into seven clades one of which involved a cluster of cases attending a catered party.  The relatedness of isolates based on single-nucleotide polymorphism confirmed the relationship of the outbreak pathogen to the caterer and also identified the source of contaminated chicken.

The implications of whole genome sequencing are evident.  If a specific plant is responsible for dissemination of a pathogen, it is now possible to trace the source of infection with a high degree of certainty.  Whole genome sequencing can now be performed for as little as $25 per sample and the technique is available in state laboratories in addition to FDA and CDC facilities.  Whole genome sequencing should not necessary be regarded in a punitive sense since the technique can be applied to determine the source of infection within a plant.  Recent outbreaks of listeriosis traced back to manufacturers of dairy products and cold cuts have raised legal implications but quality control personnel have been able to identify specific equipment and processes which contribute to contamination.

Advances such as whole genome sequencing will create a heightened level of liability but at the same time provide benefits through in-company evaluations and directed responses to enhance food safety and avoid outbreaks of foodborne infection.

*Crowe, S. J. et al Utility of combining whole genome sequencing with traditional investigational methods to solve foodborne outbreaks of Salmonella infection associated with chicken: A new tool for tackling this challenging food vehicle. J. Food Prot. 80: 654-660. (2017)

   

Poultry Industry News

 

Subway Canada Sues Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Apr 28, 2017

    

In February 2017, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired a documentary billed as a ‘chicken challenge’ on their Marketplace program. The CBC alleged that tests performed by Trent University had shown that Subway chicken served by the chain comprised 50 percent vegetable-origin material.  Subsequent independent assays failed to support the CBC claim determining that there was negligible “filling” of meat in samples obtained from Subway restaurants in Canada and the U.S.

  

Subway Franchise System of Canada has now filed a suit against CBC alleging malicious and reckless reporting and that broadcast claims prejudicial to Subway were based on tests lacking in scientific rigor. It is anticipated that the CBC will invoke a defense of “responsible journalism” permissible under Canadian law.

The lawsuit against CBC is reminiscent of the ABC accusations in a program leading to the virtual demise of Beef Products Inc. the major U.S. producer of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB). The product was mischaracterized as “pink slime” resulting in consumer and customer rejection of a safe and nutritious component of burgers.

   
 

Brazil Meat Exports to Decline in 2017

Apr 28, 2017

    

According to an item on Bloomberg, Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture Livestock and Food Supply for Brazil expressed the view that exports of meat, principally beef, will drop by $1.5 billion in 2017.

This is as a result of embargos placed on Brazil following allegations of improper inspection and documentation.  It is calculated that between 5 and 10 percent of the World’s export market will have been disrupted by the situation.

Approximately 70 inspectors and government officials have been indicted on charges including falsifying export documents and failure to inspect products and plants in exchange for bribes.

The Government of Brazil is currently engaged in an intensive initiative to restore confidence in the Nation and its brand. Plants are slowly being reopened and exports are resuming.

  

   
 

Weekly Broiler Production and Prices

Apr 26, 2017

    

The April 19th 2017 edition of the USDA Broiler Hatchery Report confirmed that 173 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending April 15th, two percent more than the corresponding week in 2016 Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 180 million. Average hatchability was 83 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier.

  

Cumulative placements for the period January 7th through April 15th amounted to 2.70 billion chicks, two percent more than the corresponding period in 2016. The USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook issued on April 17th documented a one percent difference in chicks hatched and the number placed for broiler grow-out.

For the processing week ending April 15th 160.44 million broilers were processed at an average live weight of 2.81 kg or 6.18 lbs. (2.81 kg. last week) and a yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 0.6 percent more than the corresponding week in 2016. Processed (RTC) broiler production attained 336,426 metric tons, 1.2 percent more than the corresponding week in 2016. Processed (RTC) broiler production in 2017 has attained 5,076,074 metric tons YTD, 0.5 percent more than YTD 2016.

The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in $ per kg. as reflected in successive weekly editions of the Broiler Market News Reports will be posted as the Georgia Dock benchmark has been terminated.

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Weekly Turkey Production and Prices

Apr 26, 2017

    

The April 13th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 28.7 million eggs in incubators on April 1st 2017, down 3 percent from April 1st 2016. A total of 25.6 million poults were hatched in March 2017, up 8 percent from March 2016.

A total of 22.6 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in December 2016, up 6 percent from February 2016. The relative hatch and placement values suggest disposal of 1.6 million hen poults or 6.7 percent of hatch. Poult placements through March 2017 attained 64.3 million.

 

   
 

Status of 2017 Corn and Soybean Crops

Apr 26, 2017

    

The USDA Crop Progress Report released Monday April 24th recorded the start of corn planning as expressed in the table below:-

 

WEEK ENDING

Crop

April 16th

April 23rd

5-Year Average

Corn Planted

6%

17%

28%

Corn Emerged

     N/A

4%

4%

Soybeans Planted

N/A

      6%

3%

 

Parameter

V. short

Short

Adequate

Surplus

Topsoil moisture: Past Week

                              Past Year

2

4

11

13

69

70

18

13

 

 

 

 

 

Subsoil moisture: Past Week

                              Past Year

3

3

13

14

70

73

14

10

 

   
 

Subway Canada Sues Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Apr 26, 2017

    

In February 2017, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aired a documentary billed as a ‘chicken challenge’ on their Marketplace program. The CBC alleged that tests performed by Trent University had shown that Subway chicken served by the chain comprised 50 percent vegetable-origin material. 

Subsequent independent assays failed to support the CBC claim determining that there was negligible “filling” of meat in samples obtained from Subway restaurants in Canada and the U.S.

  

Subway Franchise System of Canada has now filed a suit against CBC alleging malicious and reckless reporting and that broadcast claims prejudicial to Subway were based on tests lacking in scientific rigor. It is anticipated that the CBC will invoke a defense of “responsible journalism” permissible under Canadian law.

The lawsuit against CBC is reminiscent of the ABC accusations in a program leading to the virtual demise of Beef Products Inc. the major U.S. producer of Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB). The product was mischaracterized as “pink slime” resulting in consumer and customer rejection of a safe and nutritious component of burgers.

   
 

Brazil Meat Exports to Decline in 2017

Apr 26, 2017

    

According to an item on Bloomberg, Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture Livestock and Food Supply for Brazil expressed the view that exports of meat, principally beef, will drop by $1.5 billion in 2017.

This is as a result of embargos placed on Brazil following allegations of improper inspection and documentation. 

It is calculated that between 5 and 10 percent of the World’s export market will have been disrupted by the situation.

Approximately 70 inspectors and government officials have been indicted on charges including falsifying export documents and failure to inspect products and plants in exchange for bribes.

The Government of Brazil is currently engaged in an intensive initiative to restore confidence in the Nation and its brand. Plants are slowly being reopened and exports are resuming.

 

   
 

Lawsuit Over Processed Meats for Schools

Apr 26, 2017

    

The non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine located in Washington, DC has initiated a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District to restrain them from serving bacon, sausages, bologna and processed meats to students.

The lawsuit alleges that processed meats violate the education code requirement that school food served to student be of the “highest quality” and “greatest nutritional value possible”.  The Plaintiff is relying on questionable data from the World Health Organization concerning consumption of processed meat raising the risk of colonic cancer.

  

The issue is less that of preventing cancer than it is of attempting to impose a vegan agenda on students and the public sector. It is ironic that the Group bringing suit includes the word “Physicians” in their title but effectively does not have a majority of practicing doctors among their membership and operates without any endorsement by a recognized medical organization an established medical specialty.

   
 

Prospects for Broiler Exports from Mexico

Apr 26, 2017

    

Mexico is a net importer of poultry meat. Considerations relating to export are accordingly largely theoretical. Apart from price competition as a restraint to exports the need to transition from a dependence on vaccination to suppress avian influenza (AI) would be required if Mexico is to develop an export market.  This view was promoted by SENASICA, the Government agency equivalent to the USDA in Mexico. The imperative to eradicate AI was advanced at a recent meeting of the Mexican Association of Poultry Producers.

  

It is doubtful whether the objective of nationwide eradication could be attained given the fact that avian influenza has persisted in the broiler and egg industries of Mexico for two decades without any earnest attempt to positively create a diverse poultry industry free of infection. At best regions with a low density of chickens could be rendered free of AI at a cost in terms of enhanced biosecurity and restricted movement of flocks. 

If an exotic disease such as highly pathogenic avian influenza or velogenic viscerotropic Newcastle disease is to be eradicated, prompt action must be taken involving identification of infected flocks, depletion with compensation, decontamination and surveillance, all in accordance with the rules and recommendations of the World Organization of Animal Health.  It is essential for a nation such as Mexico to initiate programs to eradicate infection in discrete regions from which exports could be effected. Profound changes in current Conceptual and Structural biosecurity and capital investment will be required to eradicate AI.

Given the high cost of production in Mexico due to the input price of grains, it is questioned whether the Nation could compete with Brazil and the U.S. even in Latin America where many potential importing nations are rapidly achieving self-sufficiency.

It is possible that Mexico might expand the export of cooked chicken and pasteurized egg products, which if adequately processed should be free of infection.  Any aspirations to become a major exporter are regarded as speculative based on the endemic status of Category 1 diseases and the structure and location of the broiler industry.

   
 

Revised USDA-ERS Projected Poultry Production for 2016 and 2017.

Apr 26, 2017

    

The USDA-Economic Research Service released the projected and forecast projections for broilers and turkeys for 2016 (adjusted) and 2017 (updated) respectively on April 17th

Metric values are tabulated below:-

  

Parameter

2016(actual)     

 2017 (forecast)

Difference (%)

Broilers

 

 

 

Production (m. metric tons)

18.497 

18,873

+2.0

Consumption (kg per capita)

40.8

41.1

+0.3

Exports (m. metric tons)

3,021*

3.148

+4.2

Proportion of production (%)

16.3

16.7

         +2.5

 

 

 

 

Turkeys

 

 

 

Production (m. metric tons)

2.718

2.777

+2.1

Consumption (kg per capita)

7.6

7.7

         +1.3

Exports (m. metric tons)

0.265*

0.284

         +7.1

bProportion of production (%)

9.8

10.3

+5.1

 

*Depressed by import embargos due to HPAI

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook –April 17th 2017

   
 

USPOULTRY to Host Poultry Handling and Transportation Workshop

Apr 26, 2017

    

U.S. Poultry and Egg Association will host a Poultry Handling and Transportation Workshop entitled “Train the Trainer” for transporters and catching crews.  The program will take place from 09H00 to 17H00 Wednesday May 24th at the University of Georgia Poultry Research Center in Athens, GA.

 

The program provides certification training for poultry transporters and catching crews.  It was developed by a team of poultry scientists and veterinarians affiliated with Pennsylvania State University in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cost of attendance is $150 and the workshop is limited to 40 participants.  For further information access www.uspoultryhandling.org

   
 

Aviagen UK Applies Compartment Status to Export to Japan

Apr 26, 2017

    

Since January 2017 Aviagen® has delivered grandparent stock to Nippon Chunky, their distributor in Japan under their compartment status.  In August 2016 the government of Japan accepted compartmentalization in accordance with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principles. 

 

The compartmentalization standard earned by Aviagen was based a scheme developed in cooperation with UK primary breeding companies, the British Poultry Council, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA, equivalent to the USDA and EPA combined) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Compartmentalization allows primary breeders with ultra-high standards of biosecurity to continue to export product breeding stock even if the nation in which they are located has cases of a proclaimed disease such as avian influenza or exotic Newcastle disease.

   
 

Cobb Introduces New MV Male to Brazil

Apr 26, 2017

    

Cobb has introduced a new male designated the “MV” to Brazil.  Benefits include improved feed conversion and a growth rate which reduces age of depletion by two days.  The new line incorporates aspects of welfare, disease resistance and performance under a range of conditions. 

The strain was tested under extreme heat in Saudi Arabia and cold climates in Switzerland.  Under conventional growing conditions the MV male shows economic benefits over the MX male. 

  

To introduce the Cobb MV male to the market in Brazil, workshops were conducted in Chapeco, Cascavel, Campinas and Recife.

Rodrigo Terra, product manager for Cobb in Brazil stated “The existing MX male was already an improved strain with great feed conversion and high fertility.  Now the MV male represents a further evolution in Cobb genetics.”  Tests in Brazil have shown a weight gain of 90 grams and 3 points greater in feed conversion in progeny sired by the MV.

   
 

Implementation of GISPA Interim Final Rule Extended by USDA

Apr 26, 2017

    

The USDA announced that it is extending the implementation date for the interim final rule on ‘competitive injury’ by six months. The Rule was issued in the declining days of the previous administration in accordance with terms of the Grain, Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration Act.  This action extends the date of implementation, if adopted to the end of October. 

  

Mike Brown, President of the National Chicken Council stated, “With an extension notice it is clear the Administration has recognized that this is a complicated and controversial issue with deep economic consequences for American poultry and livestock producers.”  He added “The comments filed have obviously had an impact and we thank the Department for postponing the effective date to allow for a more thorough and meaningful review.  We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to resolve this issue during the ‘timeout period’ after the review.”

   
 

North Carolina House Passes Limits on Nuisance Liability

Apr 26, 2017

    

Subject to an eleventh-hour amendment, the North Carolina House passed a Bill which would limit liability from odor and flies associated with intensive livestock operations. 

It is noted that North Carolina is the third-largest producer of hogs with an aggregate value of $2.3 billion in 2015.

 

The legislation would limit penalties imposed by a judge or jury against farms, principally hog operations as a result of alleged nuisance.  Liability will be limited lost rental or property value that plaintiffs can actually prove occurred as a result of the nuisance.

Legislation was finally approved by adding an amendment excluding cases currently in litigation.

Federal lawsuits have been brought against Virginia’s Smithfield Foods which operates in North Carolina.  This company was acquired by WH Group based in China.

   
 

No Detectible Extension of AI from March Kentucky Cases

Apr 26, 2017

    

Routine surveillance of backyard flocks and commercial farms within the control zones established following detection of HPAI and LPAI strain H7N9 of North American lineage have not revealed any new cases.

The second round of evaluation of backyard flocks in Kentucky was completed on Thursday, 13th April and samples obtained in Kentucky through April 17th have not revealed evidence of AI antibodies.  Kentucky has accordingly released affected zones following completion of surveillance of backyard flocks.

  

A mallard yielded H7N3 low pathogenic avian influenza of North American lineage sampled by wildlife services at the beginning of March.

It is inexplicable why there has been a one month delay between obtaining a preliminary diagnosis of AI, presumably based on antigen capture detection and the release of the serotype by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

In the case of commercial flocks, characterization of isolates is being completed within 48 hours and the results are released to state officials and the media.

   
 

2019 IPPE Show Dates

Apr 26, 2017

    

USPOULTRY advises that due to a conflict with the Super Bowl in 2019, the IPPE will take place from February 12th through 14th. The Super Bowl is scheduled is scheduled for Sunday, February 3rd, and accordingly dates for the IPPE were shifted forward based on logistic considerations.

   

USPOULTY noted “We are continuing to stay with our Tuesday through Thursday format for the exhibition with industry meetings and educational programs scheduled Monday through Friday.

The 2018 IPPE will take place during the 4th week of January from January 30th through February 1st at the Georgia World Congress Center.

   
 

H7N9 Infection in Human Poultry Contacts in China

Apr 26, 2017

    

Asian lineage H7N9 was responsible for 61 fatalities in February and 47 deaths in March in China. The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China reported 96 cases of H7N9 Asian lineage infection during March which is probably a gross underestimate representing only serious cases which were hospitalized allowing confirmation of the diagnosis.

 

 

Reports from China suggest that the elderly, the immunosuppressed and other susceptible members of the public are infected. The common history relating cases is that patients have had close contact with chickens either on farms or in wet markets prior to onset of clinical signs.

CHICK-CITE has previously noted that whole genome sequencing of viral isolates has denoted changes attributed to point mutations which have increased virulence in poultry to produce clinically apparent infection and mortality. The Asian lineage H7N9 virus is regarded as a potential epidemic strain and it will be the responsibility of authorities in China to suppress infection.

This could best be achieved by initially implementing a surveillance program to determine the extent and epidemiology of local infections, introduction of inactivated specific vaccines for poultry flocks at risk. To effectively prevent avian strains of influenza in humans China and other Asian nations must abandon the wet market system of slaughter and sale of poultry. Adoption of commercial processing and sale of carcasses and parts in supermarkets and stores applying a cold chain will be a modern and effective alternative.

   
 

Biosecurity for Hog and Poultry Farms Emphasized at Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians

Apr 26, 2017

    

At the annual meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, faculty from the University of Iowa considered the impact of recent outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhea, porcine reproduction and respiratory syndrome and Seneca Valley virus.

The potential devastation from introduction of African swine fever was also noted.

Dr. Jill Nezworski, a poultry health professional practicing in Buffalo Lake, MN, shared her experience gained during the outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza during the spring of 2015.

  

An initial problem was that stockmen and flock operators were generally unable to detect the early clinical signs of what turned out to be a catastrophic disease. There was also a measure of self-denial when flocks demonstrated elevated mortality which resulted in delays in imposing quarantines resulting in dissemination of virus to contact farms.

Initial approaches to depopulation exacerbated a rapidly worsening situation since flocks were initially depopulated in chronological order of being reported. Subsequently authorities based depopulation on flock size and risk of infection of surrounding farms. Dr. Nezworski emphasized the need for rapid depopulation and disposal of flocks, thorough decontamination and management of feed deliveries and live-haul in affected areas.

Problems noted in control during the early stages of the 2015 epornitic were resolved by application of initiative, increased funding and the experience gained in logistics.

Lessons learned in 2015 have subsequently been applied to “pop-up outbreaks” which occurred in Indiana in January 2016 and the isolated cases among broiler breeders and some backyard flocks in Tennessee, contiguous Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia over the past two months.

Cases of North American lineage H7N9 Avian Influenza were handled by applying rapid depopulation and disposal of carcasses coupled with restricted movement, and intense surveillance in designated control zones, conforming to the recommendations of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE.)

   
 

H-E-B Achieves Employment Milestone

Apr 26, 2017

    

H-E-B the Texas-based supermarket chain has achieved an employment milestone according to the San Antonio Business Journal. The company now numbers 100,000 employees, representing the largest privately-held employer in Texas. The supermarket chain has 90,000 employees in 332 Texas operations and 10,000 in 56 stores in Mexico.

   

In commenting on the accomplishment, Craig Boyan, president and CEO of the company noted “This milestone represents our deep commitment to improving the lives of Texans and their families in creating a work environment that brings the spirit of community to life each day, while encouraging innovation, engagement and success”

H-E-B has created more than 24,000 positions since 2008. Previous reports in CHICK-CITE have commented on the generous benefits extended to employees including support for education, health programs and equity participation. H-E-B in common with Chick-fil-A® and other privately-held companies can provide benefits to associates which otherwise would require diversion of profits into dividends for shareholders.

   
 

Sanderson Farms Establishes Agreement with House of Raeford Farms

Apr 26, 2017

    

Following the disastrous fire which destroyed the Teachey, North Carolina plant of House of Raeford Farms, Sanderson Farms has been processing birds on an interim basis.

Sanderson announced on April 17th an agreement to purchase, process and market broilers grown by House of Raeford Farms through mid-December 2017. Sanderson Farms has offered House of Raeford the option to process their chickens on a fee basis as mutually agreed.

  

The House of Raeford birds will be processed in the new St. Pauls processing plant and will represent 20 million pounds during the 3rd quarter of fiscal 2017, 26 million pounds in the subsequent fiscal quarter and 12 million pounds during the 1st fiscal quarter of 2018.     

In announcing the agreement Joe F. Sanderson, Jr. Chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms stated “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with our North Carolina neighbor, House of Raeford Farms while the Teachey processing facility is rebuilt.” He added “We believe this processing agreement will be beneficial to Sanderson Farms. Our St. Pauls facility just commenced production in January and our new managers and employees will gain valuable training and processing experience with this accelerated production schedule.”

   
 

Formal Charges Arising From Police Investigation in Brazil

Apr 26, 2017

    

Federal police in Brazil have charged 63 people in a scheme alleging falsification of records, conspiracy and corruption. In March 2014 Federal police raided 21 meat packing plants including units operated by JBS and BRF.

Allegations of bribing inspectors to allow export of expired meat and other deviations from Federal standards resulted in wide-scale embargoes on Brazilian exports.

  

It is interesting that despite the number of plants involved and the financial impact which runs into billions, only 63 people have been indicted. Either the Federal prosecution service is downplaying the gravity of the events leading up to “Operation Weak Flesh” or the entire issue was exaggerated and hyped by Federal police as implied by the Department of Agriculture.

   
 

Amazon Grocery Sales Grow 30 Percent for Q1

Apr 26, 2017

    

A report by Mark Hamstra in the April 14th edition of Supermarket News cites research by One Click Retail. This group estimates that the value of total grocery sales in the 1st quarter of 2017 achieved by Amazon amounted to $350 million, an increase of 30 percent over the corresponding quarter in 2016. Amazon Prime was a major driver. The year-over-year comparison exceeded the food retail average by a factor of 15.

  

According to One Click Retail produce and refrigerated dairy products were major categories purchased from Amazon Fresh and accounted for $10 million in sales. After produce and dairy,      major product categories for Amazon Fresh included bakery, refrigerated items, flower and garden, frozen meals including breakfast foods, vegetables and desserts.

Amazon noted that sales are increasing disproportionately among men aged 18-44. Most consumers using Amazon Prime are satisfied with the service and have developed loyalty to the system.

There are rumors that Amazon is evaluating BJs Wholesale is an acquisition candidate. This would accelerate entry into the brick-and-mortar space.

   
 

Fatality in Parking Lot of Tyson Foods Plant in Henderson, KY

Apr 26, 2017

    

An employee was killed by a semi-trailer in the company parking lot on Saturday, April 15th.

The Company released the following statement “We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident and the loss of one of our team members.” Management of the plant is cooperating with law enforcement to investigate the circumstances of the fatality.

It is anticipated that there will be an OSHA review and that positive preventive action might be developed to be extended to all plants nationwide.

  

   
 

Dr. ‘Sonny’ Perdue sworn in as 31st Secretary of Agriculture by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Apr 26, 2017

   

Shane Commentary

 

Agricultural Community Concerned Over NAFTA

Apr 26, 2017

    

An article in the April 3rd edition of the New York Times by Kirk Semple highlighted the concern expressed by grain farmers over possible changes to NAFTA.

In 2016, the U.S. exported 13.8 million tons of corn to Mexico valued at $2.6 billion representing a unit price of $5.27 per bushel, far in excess of the CME domestic price.

  

Total agricultural exports to Mexico now exceed $18 billion annually including grains, dairy, poultry, beef and hogs. Tom Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Consult noted “Soup to nuts:  corn, dairy, meat, specialty products, fruit – they are all pretty much gathered together.”  He added “the U.S. Grains Council and producers are seeking to remind the Administration of the importance of trade and specifically Mexico to Agriculture’s bottom line.” His concern was reinforced by the statement of Barbara Patterson, Government Relations Director for the National Farmers Union who opined “shutting off our borders or losing access to trading partners has farmers concerned.”

The NYT article quoted Todd Hultman a grains analyst at DTN as stating “It’s really hard to track with this President, the campaign rhetoric has really been over the top. But what actions are really going to come from the White House is still a mystery.”

The agricultural community still hopes that Businessman Trump rather than Idealist Trump will emerge as the predominant factor in renegotiating NAFTA. The farming community would endorse an approach to modify the Agreement, to produce a mutually acceptable update.

There is also concern in Mexico relating to sourcing grains. This has resulted in evaluation of alternative suppliers including Brazil and Argentina although this could prove even more expensive than sourcing form the U. S. An alternative approach would be to increase domestic production although this would require a profound change in land tenure an almost impossible objective. Domestic livestock production has been impacted by the cost of U.S. grain which is subject to an import duty benefitting the Government of Mexico to the detriment of consumers.

   
 

Chipotle Claims Elimination of Preservatives

Apr 26, 2017

    

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced on March 28th that it has eliminated colors, flavors and preservatives in all ingredients used to prepare food.  Eliminating FDA-approved preservatives does not actually make food “better”. 

The range of additives in baking and preservatives in protein ingredients serve a useful purpose in maintaining flavor or freedom from pathogens.  There is no specific virtue in pursuing a “freedom-from” claim.

Steve Ells persist with the canard that non-GMO ingredients or poultry and beef produced in accordance with FDA and FSIS regulations are in some way inferior to USDA certified organic products.

  

Steve Ells

Mark Crumpacker, recently reappointed to his position of Chief Marketing and Development Officer for Chipotle stated, “Fast Food Companies should be asking why their food needs added flavors, sweeteners and preservatives in the first place.”  In many cases the answer involves food safety but also preservation of quality and taste.

The statement by Steve Ells published in the Denver Business Wire on March 28th is replete with the usual Chipotle superlatives and claims of preeminence.  By reading between the lines it is possible to discern “exceptions” including beverages and citrus juices.

CHICK-CITE takes issue with the tone of Chipotle announcements and the comments by Ells which denigrate the products served by his competitors without the equivalent menu items from Chipotle possessing superior attributes with respect to either health or quality.  Chipotle in its publicity has invariably included a measure of sophistry and smugness.  Basic defects in conceptual planning, food science and safety led to the consecutive outbreaks of foodborne infection involving at least four pathogens nationwide in 2015 without any assurance that outbreaks could reoccur.

   
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Industry Prices: Fri Apr 28
 Corn3.85 $/bu
 Soybeans9.53 $/bu
 Soybean Meal317.00 $/ton
 Eggs, Producer36  ¢/doz
 Eggs, Warehouse 52-55  ¢/doz 















































 
Copyright 2017 Simon M. Shane