Tuesday, March 31, 2009

U.S., Mexico dispute doesn’t affect poultry

U.S. President Barack Obama's relationship with the Mexican government got off to a rocky start, with a trade dispute one of the early items on the bilateral agenda, according to a report by SourceMex.
Mexico imposed tariffs on various U.S. products after the U.S. Congress voted to remove funding for a pilot program allowing Mexican truck drivers to haul cargo in the U.S. Poultry products were not affected by the new tariffs.
Obama's efforts to reach out to Mexico have been derailed, at least temporarily, by the dispute regarding U.S. access to Mexican truck drivers. The U.S. Senate's decision to withdraw funding for the program, initiated by former President George W. Bush, drew angry reactions from Mexican officials, who threatened retaliation.
On March 16, the Calderon government made good on the threat by announcing new tariffs on 89 agricultural and industrial products from 40 U.S. states. The value of the products – which range from fruit juices, beer and deodorant to Christmas trees – is estimated at about $2.4 billion annually. In contrast, U.S. exports to Mexico totaled $151 billion in 2008.
The decision spared some of the major companies that export to Mexico, including Ford Motor Co. and Tyson Foods. The new tariffs will range from 10% to 40%, according to the federal registry.
These are the most widespread sanctions that Mexico has imposed on U.S. products since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect in 1994.

FSIS launches RSS feeds for safety

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service launched a set of RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, feeds for news and recall releases.
Additionally, FSIS is making available a new capability to bookmark and share food safety content on personal and publicly shared Web pages.
"We are excited to provide food safety information and resources in another timely and convenient manner," said FSIS administrator Al Almanza. "For issues of food safety and public health, delivering useful information to as many consumers as possible is a top priority."
RSS feeds for news content complements those already available for the FSIS podcasting series Food Safety for Meat, Poultry and Processed Egg Product Inspection.
RSS feeds are available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/Feeds/index.asp.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wholesale chicken wing prices decrease

Chicken wings decreased to $1.50-$1.65 per pound, although U.S. poultry wholesale prices were still up 90% from a year ago, according to a market update from www.meatinternational.com.
Breast meat decreased to $1.20-$1.25 per pound, and U.S. retail prices for legs/thighs were $1.19 per pound.

Canadian turkey organization changes name

The Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency, representing Canada’s registered turkey farmers for more than 35 years, has changed its name to Turkey Farmers of Canada (TFC)/ les Eleveurs de dindon du Canada (EDC).
The new name was adopted to better reflect the membership and business activity, according to the organization’s release.
Along with the new identity, TFC launched www.turkeyfarmersofcanada.ca and www.leseleveursdedindonducanada.ca.
The mirrored English and French language Web sites combine the organization’s previous corporate and consumer sites and features resources on the Canadian turkey industry and turkey farming, invites consumers to visit an expanded library of turkey recipes, and includes cooking tips and preparation guidelines.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Salmonella outbreak in Finnish poultry farms

A recent salmonella outbreak in Finnish pig and poultry farms has been linked to feed producer Raisio Feed, according to an article on http://www.pigprogress.net/.
Raisio Feed has not been alleged of negligence, the company said, and soybeans used as raw material on the premises were not found to be contaminated.
According to the article, salmonella was found in nine farms. Consumers have not been endangered by this salmonella outbreak.
Raisio said it supports increased control of imported raw materials.

Perdigão reports losses for 2008

Perdigão, Brazil’s largest poultry, pig and dairy producer, reported losses for the fourth quarter and for all 2008, due primarily to large foreign exchange losses, in spite of large sales increases for the quarter and the year.
During the fourth quarter of 2008, sales jumped 59% to 3.05 billion reais, led by dairy products and processed meats, its best results for the whole year. But Perdigão suffered a net loss of 318 million reais during the quarter, due to devaluation of Brazilian currency.
For 2008 Perdigão reported a net income of 54.4 million reais, compared to 321 million reais in 2007. Adjusted net income fell 54% to 155 reais from 355 reais a year ago.
Net sales for the year jumped 69% to 13.2 billion reais from 2007.
Perdigão is a major poultry, pig and dairy exporter and its exports grew significantly in 2008. Fourth quarter exports increased by 51% and year-end totals showed a 58% increase over 2007.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pilgrim’s Pride gains time for reorganization

Pilgrim's Pride Corp., operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, received an extension for exclusively filing their reorganization plan the company said today.
The U.S. bankruptcy court in Fort Worth, Texas extended Pilgrim’s deadline to Sept. 30. The previous deadline was March 30.
In February, Watt PoultryUSA ranked the Pittsburg, Texas-based company as the number one poultry producer during the previous 12 months, reporting a weekly ready-to-cook volume of 159.46 million pounds of chicken, a drop of 2% from the 162.78 million pounds RTC per week reported in 2008.
High feed costs, low chicken prices and large debt obligations lead the company to file for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 1, 2008.
Earlier this year Pilgrim’s said it hoped its actions of idling plants, reducing the workforce and streamlining operations would return it to profitability and allow it to exit bankruptcy by the end of 2009.

Virginia poultry exports increase

According to area farm officials, valley poultry is key to Virginia agriculture exports remaining strong, a Daily News Record story reports.
The state of Virginia exported $2.22 billion worth of agricultural products in 2008, a 27% increase from 2007's $1.74 billion, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Tom Stanley, extension agent for farm business management in the central Shenandoah Valley, credits part of that trend to trust in the USDA.
The U.S. food safety system is "highly regarded and widely trusted. The USDA-inspected seal is the gold standard around the world," Stanley said.
The U.S. was the world leader in poultry exports last year, with more than 41% of shipments of poultry abroad. Brazil, the second-leading supplier of poultry, had 38% of the market, according to the USDA.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Perdigão: Plant operations partially resumed

A massive fire hit part of a Perdigão plant, located at the municipality of Rio Verde, Goiás state, the morning of March 21.
Close to 3,000 employees were in the plant at the time of the fire, but firemen evacuated everyone and no one was hurt.
Perdigão said plant operations resumed, partially, on March 24, less than a week after the incident. The pork processing line was fully operational, while the poultry production was operating at two-thirds capacity. The company said its market supply would not be adversely affected.
The fire started in the boiler located in the further processing unit. Strong winds caused it to reach other areas of the complex.
The plant is one of the largest in the sector in Latin America. The complex has the capacity to process 2.5 million birds and 27,000 pigs a week, in addition to producing 250,000 metric tons of sausages and frozen products per year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Evonik announces L-Threonine price increase

The Health & Nutrition Business Unit of Evonik Industries AG, Essen, Germany, is raising its prices for L-Threonine feed grade €0.17/kg in Europe and US$0.26/kg in other world areas, due to increased costs of key raw materials, logistics, gas and energy.
This price revision, according to the company’s release was immediate as of March 13. The company adds that all prior agreements will be honored.Evonik Industries produces and marketst all four amino acids for animal nutrition: DL-Methionine, Biolys (L-Lysine), L-Threonine and L-Tryptophan. The company delivers its services and amino acids in over 100 countries

Intralox honored for hygienic belting line

Intralox won a 2009 European FoodTec Award in the category of "food safety, security, and quality management." The European FoodTec Awards, sponsored in part by the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST), recognize food industry processing companies and suppliers that have developed products that contribute significantly to improving functions or processes.
Intralox received the Silver Medal award for its line of hygienic conveyance solutions, which includes their SeamFree modular plastic conveyor belts and other hygienic conveyor components. The Silver Medal is awarded for existing products that have undergone further development to achieve a significant improvement in function or process.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Online community launched for poultry industry

WATT has announced the beta launch of AnimalAgNet.com, an online social networking community for animal agriculture. The site is created for producers, processors and marketers and others working in any phase of animal agriculture, including poultry.
“AnimalAgNet is designed as a place for animal agribusiness professionals to network and share knowledge in a safe, business-only environment,” said WATT Vice President of Content Bruce Plantz.
Members of the animal agriculture community are encouraged to visit AnimalAgNet.com and join a community of their interest, make a comment, or post photos and videos. Groups exist for poultry production, regulatory issues, animal health, feed trends, environmental issues and pig production.
Community members are invited to start their own blog, or form their own groups.

Virus prompts killing 1.4M chickens in Texas

More than 1.4 million chickens have been killed in Robertson County, Texas; last week after officials detected a rare respiratory infection in some of the birds.
Lampkin Butts, chief operating officer of Mississippi-based Sanderson Farms, said March 19 that chickens with infectious laryngotracheitis, or ILT, were found on farms in Texas more than a week ago. It is unclear how the birds became infected.
The virus is not a danger to people, even if they eat meat infected with the disease, according to Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials who are overseeing the slaughter of the birds in Robertson County.
Butts said about a million of those killed would be processed for food and that meat from another 400,000 euthanized birds would not be distributed.

State, Foster make third offer to Pilgrim's Pride

The state of Louisiana and Foster Farms have made a third offer to buy Pilgrim's Pride's Farmerville plant.
Pilgrim's Pride spokesperson Ray Atkinson confirmed the offer March 18 and said the company is considering whether to accept.
The state and Foster Farms have previously offered $40 million and $60 million to purchase the plant, which Pilgrim's Pride announced on Feb. 27 it, was idling within 60 to 75 days.
Although Atkinson would not confirm the amount of the latest offer, several media outlets have speculated it’s an $80 million deal with the state putting up $50 million and Foster Farms $30 million.
The closure of Pilgrim's Pride in Farmerville, La., would eliminate 1,300 jobs at the plant and would put 300 area chicken growers out of business.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Food safety pioneer to receive Alltech Medal of Excellence

Dr. David Byrne will receive Alltech’s 2009 Medal of Excellence at the company’s 25th International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium in Lexington, Ky., May 17-20.
He will be honored for his commitment to
food safety, including his EU safety system reforms. As European Commissioner, Dr. Byrne established a three-pillar strategy comprising: a full range of Food and Safety Laws; the setting up of a new independent European Food Safety Authority ; and the introduction of an effective control and enforcement mechanism.
Dr. Byrne currently serves as non-executive director of Alltech. As part of this role, he is a member of Alltech’s Risk Overview Committee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tyson‚ Freshpet join forces on pet food offerings

Tyson Foods Inc. and Freshpet have joined forces to provide refrigerated, fresh pet food products.
"The $17 billion pet food market, which has become one of the top 10 packaged-goods categories, has seen significant growth in recent years,” according to a statement relased by Tyson.
Tyson will have a minority investment in Freshpet. The alliance will combine Tyson’s fresh food knowledge, refrigerated distribution network, product innovation skills, and supply of meat and poultry with Freshpet’s pet food experience and market knowledge.
Freshpet currently manufactures its pet food and treats at a Quakertown, Pa., plant, but the company said it said it plans to expand its production by using existing Tyson facilities.

Enzymes can benefit diets, reduce nutrient costs

Dr. Yingjun Ru at the VIV Asia Eggs Conference presented the benefits of supplementing hen diets with enzymes.
His paper represented a meta-analysis of a series of studies conducted in the Philippines, Australia and Thailand. Consistent with published studies, Dr. Ru demonstrated that Avizyme 1500 expressing xylanase, amylase, protease and phytase activity can potentially reduce the cost of dietary formulation in corn-soy based feeds with and without high-fiber ingredients.
Nutrient specifications for energy and critical amino acids were reduced by 5% without adversely affecting performance of laying flocks.

Study finds Georgia producers most efficient

A recent study of farm incomes in southern Georgia found that on average, total net farm income is almost three times that of comparable but non-poultry-producing counties, according to the Poultry Science Association.
Poultry counties also are more economically efficient, with a net income per acre more than double that of non-poultry counties, according to the study.
The study,
A Comparison of Farm Incomes for Poultry and Non-Poultry Producing Counties in South Georgia, was issued by The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
“I believe that a parallel study on the relative economic contributions of poultry vs. non-poultry counties in other areas of the country would find that the general conclusions of our work hold true,” said author of the study, Dan L. Cunningham, PhD. “They would likely demonstrate that poultry production has a strikingly powerful effect in terms of economic impact on these typically smaller and more rural economies.”

BIOMIN launches new drugs at VIV Asia

BIOMIN, a company focusing on health in animal nutrition, announced it released two new products PoultryStar and Mycofix Secure at VIV Asia.
PoultryStar is a multi-strain probiotic product that helps in improving gut microflora which is known to play a significant role in protecting young birds and newly hatched chicks against colonization by harmful bacteria.
Mycofix Secure is the risk management solution against aflatoxins and fumonisins in animal feed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hong Kong bird tests positive for H5N1

Hong Kong authorities announced Friday that a dead chicken found in the southern Chinese territory had tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.The government said laboratory tests confirmed that the chicken found floating in the sea off Hong Kong on March 2 carried the deadly strain.The statement said there was no poultry production within three kilometers (two miles) of where the dead bird was found, but warned farmers to be on their guard against the disease.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prospective buyers for Pilgrim's El Dorado plant?

A group of buyers has offered to purchase a Pilgrim's Pride poultry production processing plant in El Dorado, Ark., that is scheduled to close in May, according to published reports. Gov. Mike Beebe told a group of 250 workers and community members Tuesday night in El Dorado that it could be an "uphill battle" to make the sale. But the governor said those interested in purchasing the plant had experience in the business.
Beebe declined to offer any specific details about the group, other than to say they had been working on their offer for about five months.Ray Atkinson, director of corporate communications for Pilgrim's Pride, told WATT Poultry e-News that no meaningful offers have been made on the El Dorado plant. Commenting on the governor’s remarks, Atkinson said, “The idling of the El Dorado plant, together with those in Douglas, Ga., and Farmerville, La., is part of our ongoing effort to reduce costs and operate more efficiently as we reorganize the company under Chapter 11. These plants have been a significant financial drain on the company. To date, we have not received any meaningful offers on the El Dorado plant.
In addition, selling the El Dorado facility at this time would not address the fundamental problem facing our industry: an oversupply of low-value commodity chicken. “We understand the effect these actions will have on employees and growers in El Dorado, and we sincerely wish they were not necessary,” said Atkinson. “However, we are taking these decisive steps now in order to protect more than 40,000 employees and 5,000 growers of Pilgrim's Pride as we work to restructure our business and ultimately emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger and more efficient company.”

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bill would give FDA power to monitor food processing, lab testing

A bipartisan coalition of senators Tuesday proposed legislation to give federal authorities more power and resources to inspect food processed in the U.S. and abroad, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.The legislation comes on the heels of a major scandal over salmonella-tainted peanut products, blamed for nine deaths and more than 660 cases of illness in 44 states.
The contamination was traced to a plant in Blakely, Ga., owned by the Peanut Corp. of America. A second plant in Texas, also owned by Peanut Corp., also has been implicated.U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the lead co-sponsor, said such incidents are the result of a U.S. food-safety system that is "outdated, under-funded and overwhelmed." The legislation, whose Republican co-sponsors include Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, would give the Food and Drug Administration new power to monitor food processing and lab testing.
It provides for $825 million to cover the cost of the increased oversight. Chambliss, ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee and perhaps the strongest supporter of the peanut industry on Capitol Hill, said he was backing the bill because "Americans must be able to trust that the food sold in their grocery stores and restaurants is safe."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ajinomoto forms joint venture company

Ajinomoto Co. Inc.’s subsidiary Ajinomoto Co. Ltd. will form a joint venture company, Itoham Betagro Foods Co. Ltd., with Itoham Foods Inc., Betagro Public Co. Ltd. and Hoei Bussan Co. Ltd. on March 6 to process and sell ham and sausage.
Through this joint venture, the Ajinomoto Group expects to have an advantage in procurement of meat and other raw ingredients for its seasonings and processed food businesses. The joint venture also plans to import Rockdale Beef, a premium brand of beef from cattle raised by Itoham in Australia, and sell it primarily to the retail and restaurant markets in Thailand. Ajinomoto and Itoham formed a business alliance in May 2008, and the two companies have since studied ways to expand business by complementing and taking advantage of their mutual business strengths.
This joint venture agreement is a part of that effort, said the companies. Betagro is a major livestock raising and processing company with swine and poultry production operations in Thailand, and it already conducts a joint venture with the Ajinomoto Group in pork and poultry processing and frozen foods.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Table eggs subject to certification

Effective April 1, 2009 exports of U.S. table eggs must be certified by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as originating from layer flocks that originated from breeder flocks that participate in the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of USDA, which certifies table eggs for export, announced the certification last week in a memorandum to regional directors, staff and graders, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. USAPEEC reported that under the new requirements, export loads of table eggs of Grade B or better, or washed, nest-run table eggs for breaking must have APHIS certification in the form of Form VS 9-3, as well as a certificate of compliance issued by the company.
The requirement essentially expands certification that is currently in place for exports of baby chicks and hatching eggs to include table eggs, said USAPEEC. It will enable APHIS to make the same disease-free statements for table eggs that it makes for live birds and for hatching eggs, providing an additional level of traceability and assurance to foreign buyer.

Monday, March 2, 2009

National Pasteurized Eggs receives Red Herring Top 100 Global Companies award

National Pasteurized Eggs (NPE) was recently recognized as one of the 2008 Red Herring Top 100 Global Companies.
Acknowledged for its Davidson's Safest Choice brand of pasteurized shell eggs, NPE was one of just a handful of consumer-oriented companies and the only foodservice company recipient in 2008.
"We were impressed by the technology NPE uses to ensure the safety of eggs," commented Red Herring Publisher Alex Vieux. "National Pasteurized Eggs has proven to be a company excelling in its industry, and its ripples have turned into waves. Here again, technology applies to our everyday life. It was difficult for us to narrow down, but we are pleased to have included NPE in our list of promising companies. We look forward to the changes it makes to its industry in the future."
Based in suburban Chicago, NPE produces the Davidson's Safest Choice brand of pasteurized shell eggs, which uses a patented, all-natural pasteurization process to eliminate Salmonella enteritidis (SE). Additionally, the process inactivates avian influenza, protecting the eggs from its exposure.
"This award continues to recognize the importance of keeping the American food supply safe," said David Wilhelm, a member of NPE's board of directors. "NPE is well poised for substantial growth in both the retail and foodservice sectors, and we fully expect 2009 to be a pivotal year in the company's continued growth."
Red Herring Top 100 Global Companies are chosen from winners and finalists of the previous North America, Europe and Asia Red Herring Top 100 Companies. Evaluations were made on both quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as financial performance, innovation, management, global strategy and ecosystem integration.