Friday, July 31, 2009

Sanofi-aventis to acquire Merck's interest in Merial

Sanofi-aventis and Merck & Co. announced the companies have signed a definitive agreement under which Merck will sell its 50% interest in the companies' current animal health joint venture, Merial Limited, to Sanofi-aventis for $4 billion.
Formed in 1997, Merial is an animal health company that is a joint venture between Merck and Sanofi-aventis. When the transaction is complete, Sanofi-aventis will own 100% of Merial.
In addition to the Merial agreement, Merck, Sanofi-aventis and
Schering-Plough announced the signing of a call option agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, following the closing of the Merck/Schering-Plough merger, Sanofi-aventis would have an option to combine the Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health business with Merial to form an animal health joint venture owned equally by the new Merck and Sanofi-aventis.
The sale of Merck's interest in the Merial joint venture is subject to clearance by European antitrust authorities. Merck said it anticipates completing the transaction before its planned merger with Schering-Plough is finalized, which is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Vietnamese chicken prices crash

Poultry farmers in the Xuan Loc District of Vietnam have suffered big losses during the last three months after wholesale prices of chicken crashed by almost 60% from US$2.60 to US$1.10 a kg, according to a news report.
Many HCM City supermarkets, too, witnessed a drop in chicken prices even as farmers tried to raise more chicken with the hope of increasing profits.
Those who raised chickens without contracts were the hardest hit.

Mandatory recalls suggested by Senator

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., once again introduced legislation in late July that would give the USDA authority to enact mandatory meat product recalls, according to a press release. The Senator originally introduced the bill to the Senate in 2003.
Presently, the
USDA is prevented by law to issue a mandatory recall. Instead, the process follows the pattern of the agency asking an affected company to recall the product.
According to Udall, the present USDA method of negotiating with meatpacking companies before a recall (and give these companies an “effective veto on recalls”) is less effective and time-consuming.
A counterpoint from the former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety, Richard Raymond, suggests this may not be the case.
According to Raymond, the USDA doesn’t negotiate when a meat or poultry recall is prudent to the protection of public health. Likewise, he adds that no meat company has ever refused a USDA request for a recall.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

US meat companies condemn Chinese poultry ban

Companies within the U.S. meat sector recently asked Congress to remove a ban on Chinese poultry imports, according to a news report.
A coalition of meat companies, such as
Tyson Foods, Cargill, Sanderson Farms, Pilgrim's Pride and Hormel Foods, and trade groups testified that U.S. law allows all the other 152 countries belonging to the World Trade Organization to apply to export meat to the U.S., and questioned the fairness of this to China.
China opened a WTO complaint regarding the ban, and earlier responded by halting the issuing of import permits for the U.S., worth nearly $700 million per year.
The ban initially was put into place because of safety and health risk concerns.

Alltech presents research papers at annual meeting

Alltech recently presented 23 research paper abstracts at the joint meeting of the American Dairy Science Association, Canadian Society of Animal Science and the American Society of Animal Science.
The papers (
see titles) dealt with the latest issues related to commercial animal production with pigs, cattle and poultry.

Poultry organizations oppose DEFRA's proposal

Poultry organizations have opposed U.K.'s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' proposal for a new animal health body, according to a news report.
The organizations –
NFU, British Egg Industry Council, British Poultry Council and British Veterinary Association – have expressed concerns over responsibility and cost-sharing. The new body is supposed to take over animal health matters from DEFRA and will be partly funded by the farming industry.
Though the point of disagreement for each of them is different, the organizations agree that health and welfare should not be separated.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cal-Maine Foods posts lower profit for FY 2009

Cal-Maine Foods, the nation's largest egg producer posted net earnings of $79.5 million on sales of $928.8 million for FY 2009. Cal-Maine shares dropped 10% at the market close ($27.10) as analysts had incorrectly predicted sales of $235 million (actual $213 million) for Q4 and EPS of $1 (actual 43 cents).
Net profit represented a 47% decline in income over FY08 ($151.9 million) but the company achieved a 1.5% increase in sales over the previous year. The earning per share value was virtually halved from $6.41 to $3.34. The decline in financial performance was attributed to lower egg prices which compared unfavorably with 2008 together with high feed costs which collectively reduced gross margin by 31% from 32% in FY08 to 22% in FY 2009.
Long term debt increased by $31 million in FY09 but was offset by a $43 million increase in fixed assets represented by acquisitions and expansion of existing facilities.
In a comment on the most recent results, Fred Adams Jr., chairman and CEO, stated that "sales of eggs at the retail level have been very strong with food service and restaurant volume continuing to lag, reflecting the current economic environment." He added, "our management team is performing well."

Congress urged to lift Chinese poultry embargo

A coalition of meat companies and trade groups has requested that the U.S. Congress lift the ban on Chinese poultry imports, according to a Reuters report. The colaition said that the move to single out the country was unfair and added that China could retaliate by stopping U.S. poultry imports. China is the largest importer of U.S. poultry.
The coalition includes
Tyson Foods, JBS SA, Cargill Inc., Seaboard Corp., Sanderson Farms Inc., Pilgrim's Pride Corp., Smithfield Foods Inc., Hormel Foods Corp. and seed company Monsanto Co., and a several trade associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. China had filed a complaint with the WTO and reportedly stopped renewing import permits of U.S. poultry exporters.

Antibiotics act meets disapproval

The Coalition for Animal Health, in a letter to speaker Nancy Pelosi, asked that the "Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009" not be added to bills now being considered, including food-safety and health-care reform legislation.
The bill would ban animal health products that are used to prevent and control diseases from use in livestock and poultry. Farmers only would be allowed to use animal health products that treat diseases.
The bill also would require all "critical antimicrobial animal drugs" to go through a second
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process within two years of enactment of the legislation. Currently to win approval, an animal drug maker must demonstrate that a product is effective and safe for animals and for the environment.
In its letter, the Coalition also noted that the food-safety and health-care reform bills are based on the important principle of prevention.
Among the groups in the Coalition for Animal Health are the
National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Soft water fights bacteria better than hard water

Microbiologist Arthur Hinton, Jr., and chemist Ronald Holser of the ARS Richard B. Russell Research Center in Athens, Ga., conducted studies comparing the ability of very hard, moderately hard, and "soft" water to rinse away bacteria like campylobacter, staphylococcus and pseudomonas from the skin of broiler chicken carcasses.
Study results indicate that processing water hardness may be a characteristic that should be monitored by poultry processors. After five rinses in each water type, soft water removed up to 37% more bacteria from the chicken skin than the hard water types.
Very hard water was prepared by dissolving calcium chloride and magnesium chloride in distilled water, while moderately hard water was prepared by diluting one part very hard water with one part soft water. Potassium citrate was used to reduce water hardness.
For more detailed information on this study,
visit the USDA Web site.

Sanderson Farms to proceed with NC poultry complex

Sanderson Farms announced plans to proceed with its Kinston, N.C., poultry complex.
The company planned to invest $126.5 million for construction of a new feed mill, poultry processing plant and hatchery at separate sites in North Carolina in April 2008, but it was postponed due to market conditions and increasing grain prices.
The facility will reportedly have a poultry complex, which will employ 1,500 people, require 130 contract growers, and will be equipped to process and sell 6.7 million pounds of dressed poultry meat per week.
Construction, now billed at $121.4 million, is expected to begin later this summer, with initial operation scheduled to begin during the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

3,000 chicks destroyed in Nepal

Police in the Kapilvastu district of Nepal told Nepal News on July 22 that they have destroyed around 3,000 chicks smuggled into the country from India.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of patrolling police seized the chicks from Everest Feed Factory in Kapilvastu district. These chicks had been brought in from the Indian city of Gorakhpur through secret routes, according to national news agency.
Nepal government has banned the import of poultry products from India, citing the danger of the spread of bird flu in the country.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Study shows poultry resistant to 2009 H1N1

Recent studies suggest that commercial poultry is resistant to the newly emerged 2009 H1N1 flu strain which has now assumed pandemic status among humans. A research paper to be published in the Journal of General Virology from the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute in Riems, Germany showed that chickens in contact with infected pigs failed to develop the disease.
The 2009 H1N1 virus will spread from infected pigs to their pen mates under controlled experimental conditions carried out in a Bio-Safety Level 3+ facility. In addition, a recent study conducted at the Southeast Poultry Laboratory in Athens, Ga., demonstrated that chickens, turkeys and ducks were refractory to 2009 H1N1 virus isolated from human patients.
The focus of research is now directed at developing a suitable vaccine to protect humans since it is anticipated that there will be an upsurge in cases in the U.S. in fall and winter. Readers are referred to the July 10 edition of Science, which incorporates two articles on the origin of the 2009 H1N1 virus and its genetic characteristics.
In the context of commercial production, no individual suspected of being infected with 2009 H1N1 or any influenza virus should have any contact with live poultry during the clinical phase and for at least seven days thereafter.

Pilgrim's Pride to close two processing plants

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. announced the closing of two of its chicken processing plants within 60-75 days. The plants to be idled are in Athens, Ala. and Athens, Ga.
Production will be consolidated in nearby Pilgrim's plants, bringing them to capacity. The company anticipates offering new positions to many employees from the closing facilities.
The hatchery in Moulton, Ala., the feed mill in Falkville, Ala., and other live production operations associated with the Athens, Ala. plant will continue to operate.
The company filed for voluntary bankruptcy petition on December 1, 2008, and has been working to bring its facilities to full capacity since then.

FDA official supports restricted antibiotic use

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, testified before the House Committee on Rules at a hearing for HR1549 on July 13. The bill entitled "Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Act of 2009" introduced by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is considering restrictions on the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals.
Sharfstein expressed the view of FDA that non-judicious (presumably non-therapeutic) use of antibiotic drugs in food-producing animals should be restricted. Antimicrobials could, however, be used under veterinary supervision to prevent and control diseases in food-producing animals.
Interpreting the intent of HR1549 and the testimony presented, it is evident that antibiotics may be administered to prevent conditions such as clostridial enterotoxaemia and colibacillosis applying the FDA Prudent Use principles. Administration of antibiotics to promote growth or as a blanket preventive such as injection of day-old chicks would probably be disallowed if the bill is enacted.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oklahoma receives damages cap

An Oklahoma federal judge determined on July 22 that the state cannot continue to pursue damages in excess of $600 million in its lawsuit against the poultry industry because it failed to properly include the Cherokee Nation.
U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell sided with poultry industry assertions that portions of the lawsuit should be dismissed because the state lacks standing to pursue the pollution damage claims on its own. Frizzell's order did not affect the state's claims for injunctive relief related to the use of poultry litter in the Illinois River watershed.
Opponents of the lawsuit, both within the poultry industry and its supporters, hailed the ruling stating their pleasure with the decision and their gratitude that "the court viewed this matter as seriously" as it did.
While the state's claim for injunctive relief was not affected by the ruling, a judge has previously ruled against the state's request for a preliminary injunction barring the spreading of poultry waste in the watershed; a trial is set for September 21.
The state, led by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, sued 13 poultry companies in 2005, claiming that they are legally responsible for the handling and disposal of poultry waste that has damaged portions of the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma.

University of Delaware receives grant to battle avian flu

The University of Delaware received a $94,000 government grant for research to protect against avian flu, according to a news report.
The grant will go to the University's
Avian Biosciences Center for the ongoing surveillance and diagnostic activities and the biocontainment facility, where large amount of testing is done on poultry diseases every year.

USDA funds education program

A recent grant to Pennsylvania State University will allow faculty to evaluate and develop emergency disease procedures for service operations.
It is recognized that crews involved in transport, vaccination, insemination, beak trimming and other activities may play a pivotal role in dissemination of infection. The resulting procedures which will emphasize biosecurity will also incorporate aspects of welfare and complement training programs developed for farm personnel.

China approves Tyson, Xinchang deal

After receiving the necessary government approvals, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. acquired Shandong Xinchang Group as its third Chinese joint venture, announced company officials on July 20.
"We got the government approvals (the) week before last, and now we are legally in a joint venture with Xinchang with 60% share," Joe Zhu, the marketing director of Tyson China, told
Poultry International.
The new venture -- Shandong Tyson Xinchang Foods Company Ltd., -- is expected to produce 100 million birds every year and distribute frozen poultry products to China's wholesales channels.
With the help of the approval, Tyson can also benefit from Xinchang's new contract. Last week, Shanghai-based the China division of Yum! Brands Inc. signed about $732 million agreement with Xinchang Group and other two local suppliers for chicken purchasing.
Shandong Xinchang Group has integrated poultry operations in eastern China with estimated 2009 sales of $345 million. Its business includes poultry breeders, broiler production, feed mills, hatcheries and poultry processing.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New biofuel from chicken meal

Researchers at the University of Nevada have published a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry describing a new process to produce biodiesel from feather meal.This paper describes a new and environmentally-friendly process for developing biodiesel from commercial feather meal, a waste product of the poultry industry.
Currently, feather meal is used as an animal feed, given its high protein content, and also as a fertilizer because of its high nitrogen content.In this work, the researchers extracted fat from the feather meal in boiling water (70 C) and then trans-esterified the fat into biodiesel using potassium hydroxide and methanol; 7 to 11 percent biodiesel (on a dry basis) is produced in this process.
ASTM analysis of the prepared feather meal biodiesel confirmed that the biodiesel is of good quality and comparable to other biodiesels made from other common feedstocks.Given the amount of feather meal produced by the poultry industry, it is estimated that this process can create 150-200 million gallons of biodiesel in the United States and 593.2 million gallons worldwide.

FDA Salmonella enteritidis regulations finalized

The proposed FDA regulations to reduce the incidence rate of egg-borne Salmonella enteritidis infection among U.S. consumers have now been finalized after many years of drafting, consultation and comment. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, newly appointed as commissioner of the FDA, considers that "the action will prevent thousands of serious illnesses from salmonella in eggs."
Ironically, the regulations, which will require compliance within 12 months for units in excess of 50,000 hens, are largely redundant in the context of current procedures applied by the industry to detect and suppress SE. The USDA projection of 79,000 cases of egg borne SE is speculative and may well be based on extrapolation from questionable epidemiologic data. During the protracted "gestation" of the regulations, the industry has moved forward with egg quality assurance programs, including the UEP Five Star initiative.
All commercial producers follow NPIP procedures in relation to sourcing chicks and monitoring for SE. Rodent control programs have been upgraded on virtually all commercial farms, although problems still exist with high-rise units and with biosecurity in general. The industry has adopted vaccination as a preventive measure to reduce the risk of intestinal colonization and vertical transmission. Maintaining a cold chain from the time of packing through to the point of sale has been the most significant measure in reducing incidence rates of SE. This modality coupled with greater use of pasteurized product for food service and institutional markets and improved education on handling eggs have minimized the risks of transmitting SE through eggs.
The most important addition to the monitoring program mandated by the FDA regulations comprises a mid-cycle assay which is regarded as a significant improvement in detection of infected flocks. The previous approach of monitoring flocks at transfer and then at depletion left an extended period during which flocks might become infected and pass SE through eggs to consumers by the vertical route. One contentious but epidemiologically justifiable requirement is that eggs should be refrigerated at 45 F during storage and transportation "no later than 36 hours after the eggs are laid."
This does not represent any problem for in-line units where daily transfer from houses through packing and refrigerated storage is routine. The problem does arise with off-line units, especially cage-free and organic farms which contract to packers and producers. Eggs are stored in cool rooms at temperature ranging from 50 F to 60 F with collection frequencies of 5 to 7 days. Upgrading farm coolers and ensuring that transport vehicles have functional refrigeration modules will be required in a number of cases, which is to the benefit of consumers and ultimately the image of the industry.
A number of issues must still be resolved including the possible application of PCR technology to detect SE as an alternative to conventional enrichment and culture microbiology. The relative sensitivity and specificity of the two procedures has yet to be accepted by the FDA for environmental samples and egg pools. PCR offers possible benefits for screening flocks with respect to enhanced sensitivity of detection, increased specificity which reduces false positives and expediting results.

SQF certification requirements progress

U.S. egg producers are actively pursuing SQF certification for their plants to comply with customer requirements. By early 2010 most supermarket chains and club stores will require SQF 2000 certification at level 2 for plants which specify acceptable standards of safety and application of HACCP systems.
A review of the current situation demonstrates satisfactory progress although a few obvious trends are evident. Large integrated producers with dedicated personnel and resources committed to quality control have experienced little difficulty in developing SQF documentation based on their existing in-company SOPs and HACCP systems.

One large producer indicated that at least two managers have been involved for six months in developing a boiler-plate program for their entire company which will be applied to a number of plants.
Larger companies have had the opportunity to organize in-house training of their SQF practitioners minimizing cost and time. The first audits undertaken in plants operated by the nation's three largest producers have not presented any specific problems and the procedures and documentation which were developed have been applied to sequential plant reviews. The situation with smaller producers, many with only one plant has been more complicated. These operators have had to make use of qualified SQF consultants to review operations, develop documentation, train employees and prepare for audits at a cost exceeding $10,000.
A shortage of qualified instructors has emerged as a minor problem resulting in delays in attaining certification. According to Gary M. Smith, technical director of the SQF Institute, "We must be sure that auditors are well-trained and qualified and we do not intend to lower our standards." Other minor problems cited by users relate to the SQF website which is intended to function as the central repository of information for producers and customers. According to Smith, problems are being resolved and the website should be fully functional within weeks.
The SQF system offers the advantage of a single recognized certification based on a common set of standards with one annual audit. This eliminates the need to undergo numerous annual audits to comply with the requirements of different customers. Streamlining the audit process should in the long term save money and provide customers and consumers with a high degree of confidence in the safety of shell eggs. Many producers have indicated their intention to advance to SQF 2000 level 3 which includes aspects of quality
The SQF 2000 program at level 2 will in all probability not provide any greater assurance of safety than the current HACCP systems in place. A major defect of the SQF 2000 system as applied to plants processing either in-line or receiving eggs off-line is that SQF 2000 makes no provision for ensuring that supply flocks are free of Salmonella enteritidis. This aspect will effectively be incorporated in the recently promulgated FDA Final Rule on reducing the incidence rate of eggborne SE infection in the U.S. population. It is noted that many producers of branded and specialty eggs are operating with vaccination, biosecurity and surveillance standards higher than the UEP Five-Star Program.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wal-Mart proposes to advance sustainability

The extent to which a proposed Wal-Mart program will advance sustainability, benefit the environment or the U.S. economy is unknown. Advocating solar-powered livestock housing, using locally grown feed ingredients, recycling manure and installing methane digesters for ruminant operations promises "green results." However, these moves are incompatible with many aspects of intensive livestock production in the U.S. Effectively, high-density egg production has been shown to be environmentally superior to free-range systems.
The first phase of the Wal-Mart program will take the form of a detailed questionnaire. In the second phase, universities and non-governmental organizations will recommend steps relating to conservation and reducing the carbon footprint of production units. Finally, a numeric score that informs customers of the specific environmental attributes of food products will be developed.
However, questions as to whether the same standards will apply to the vast quantity of items imported by Wal-Mart from China have been raised. The question of sustainability and carbon footprint should also take into account the extensive rail system and the major waterways, which effectively reduce transport costs and consumption of resources.

Industry to frame guidelines for zero discharge

Two work groups have been created to develop guidelines for design standards or Best Management Practices to achieve the EPA's zero discharge rule in poultry houses, during a meeting of industry representatives.
Organizations represented at the meeting attendees included poultry companies on the Delmarva Peninsula, growers, poultry house builders,
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Maryland Farm Bureau, University of Maryland, Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. and Maryland Department of Agriculture.
One work group will focus on ponds, storm water, grasses, vegetation and fans, while the other will focus on site issues, setbacks, building standards, and comparing older housing to today's housing. The work groups will present recommendations by the end of the month.
In 2008, the EPA CAFO regulations that took effect this February stipulated zero discharge for new poultry houses.

China calls on WTO to end US poultry dispute

China appealed to the World Trade Organization on July 20 to rule on its complaint against the U.S. legislation that bans the import of Chinese poultry, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
China and the U.S. stopped imports of each other's poultry in 2004 over fears of the spread of bird flu. Imports of some U.S. poultry products to China have resumed since then but Chinese officials have complained that the U.S. continues to veto imports of Chinese poultry.
Xinhua news agency reported that China imported 580,000 metric tons of U.S. chicken products last year, accounting for 73.4% of all such imports.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

FAST program reviewed at AVMA

The Association of Veterinarians in Egg Production Group convening at the American Veterinary Medical Association Conference in Seattle reviewed aspects of the Federal and State Transport Plan (FAST). This program comprises both proactive and reactive activities in the event of an outbreak of a catastrophic disease such as HPAI or Exotic Newcastle Disease.
Dr. Will Heuston, executive director of Global Initiative for Food Systems leadership affiliated to the University of Minnesota emphasized that business continuity is an important part of any disease control program.
The FAST program would lay down rules and procedures which would allow egg production operations in areas affected by a catastrophic disease to move product to the market subject to high standards of biosecurity and ongoing disease surveillance. It has been determined that both raw and pasteurized liquid egg and washed and sanitized shell eggs from approved farms and plants complying with the FAST requirements represent a negligible risk of disseminating infection provided that biosecurity precautions are followed during transport.
Movement of liquid and sanitized shell eggs will be permitted in terms of the
Egg Movement Control Model Plan and Risk Assessment designed to prevent the spread of HPAI. The EMCMP was developed through collaboration among industry groups including the UEP and the USDA Animal Health Plant Inspection Service Veterinary Services. The plan incorporates provisions of FAST which mandate advanced rapid molecular biological diagnostic techniques and risk assessment.

Illegal workers in South Carolina poultry plant

According to an article by the Associated Press, the company that runs a South Carolina poultry plant, Columbia Farms Inc., knew its managers were hiring illegal immigrants at a facility raided in October, federal prosecutors said in an indictment released July 16.
U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins added Columbia Farms Inc. to an indictment that already charges plant manager Barry Cronic and personnel manager Elaine Crump of illegally hiring workers at a processing plant in Greenville.
In the indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury, Columbia Farms Inc., is named in nearly 30 charges. Through Crump and Cronic, the company knowingly continued to employ 29 illegal immigrants, the first of whom was hired in November 2001, prosecutors said.
The managers had been accused of telling employees to use falsified documents and could face both fines and prison time if convicted. Columbia Farms itself could face additional fines.
North Carolina-based House of Raeford, which owns the plant, said it doesn't knowingly hire illegal immigrants and is cooperating with investigators. The parent company has not been charged.
In the aftermath of the South Carolina raid, prosecutors said a review of immigration paperwork for 825 employees showed that more than 775 contained false information. Most of the illegal workers swept up in the raid were quickly deported, but others pleaded guilty and are serving time in prison for criminal charges like using illegal documents and false Social Security numbers or re-entering the country illegally.
Crump, Cronic and the company itself are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Greenville later this month.

View the full article here

USDA awards test contract to Charm Sciences

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has awarded a five-year renewable contract to Charm Sciences Inc. to provide inspectors with Kidney Inhibition Swab (KIS) tests at slaughter facilities. The tests screen for "close to kidney tolerances" of sulfonamides and antibiotic drugs under the National Residue Program.
The inspection program will be implemented in phases beginning with cattle and expanding to all livestock.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Compromise on California Proposition 2 evaporates

California House Bill AB 1437, which was introduced by Jared Huffman, Assemblyman for San Rafael, to attempt compromise between opposing parties with respect to Proposition 2 has been dissolved.
Both the
Humane Society of the United States, which promoted Proposition 2 and the California Egg Industry which opposed it, rejected the bill. The bill would have allowed the Department of Public Health to develop standards for stocking density in cages in order to clarify the wording of Proposition 2, which passed with a 27% margin in November 2008.
HSUS objected on the grounds that AB 1437 would alter the intent of Proposition 2 to effectively ban cage confinement of hens and the industry was disinclined to allow any government agency to develop standards for housing flocks.

Convenience trend to grow US packaging industry

The packing industry for meat, poultry and seafood in the U.S. will grow to $9 billion by 2013, acccording to an industry study by The Freedonia Group. The report, "Meat, Poultry and Seafood Packaging," attributed the projected growth to an expansion in meat, poultry and seafood production and a change in the way the products are packaged.
Changes in packing practices are expected to reflect a shift from rigid packaging to flexible or case-ready packaging making the food items available in smaller, convenient sizes.
The report pointed out that poultry would achieve better sales than beef due to its lower cost, "favorable nutritional profile and versatility." A growth in sales of ready-to-eat products will also boost performance.
Fresh, frozen, and processed meat, poultry and seafood items are expected to command a greater share of the market than the ready-to-eat products in the same segment. A modest increase in fresh and frozen meat, poultry and sea food items is expected, from $4.49 billion in 2008 to $5.33 billion in 2013.

Omega-3 research to help hens

A grant of £1.7 million has been awarded to Dr. John Tarlton of the University of Bristol's Matrix Biology Research Group in the School of Clinical Veterinary Sciences for research in how omega-3s in poultry can be beneficial. The grant was awarded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and industrial partner, Noble Foods, the UK's leading egg production company.
Dr. Tarlton will lead a multidisciplinary team in the investigation of the benefits of supplemented omega-3 diets in laying hens over a course of three years. The team will look at the full biochemical and cellular mechanisms through which omega-3 is able to improve bone health and help prevent bone breakage, a presently common occurance.
On a side note, this research will also relate to osteoporosis in humans, a disease that affects six million sufferers in the UK.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brazilian chicken exports fall

Brazil exported 1.8 million metric tons of chicken meat during the first six months of 2009, which represents nearly a 2% loss compared with the first six months of 2008. The effects of the international financial crisis reduced the exported value by 20% compared with 2008, to $2.7 billion, according to the Brazilian Chicken Producers and Exporters Association (ABEF).
In June, exports totaled 329,000 metric tons, less than a 1% drop compared with June 2008. However, export earnings were only $529 million, a drop of nearly 19% compared with June 2008. Export earnings for the rest of this year are expected to continue below that of last year. The median price of exported chicken meat will continue to limit export value.
Data from ABEF show that the median price for a metric ton of Brazilian chicken went from $2,139 last September to $1,573 in January this year. In June, the median price for a metric ton of Brazilian chicken was $1,607.

New edition of 'Healthy Animals' online

The U.S. Agricultural Research Service has posted a new issue of Healthy Animals online. The quarterly newsletter offers news and expert resources on the health and well-being of agricultural livestock, poultry and fish.
It also helps locate animal health experts and includes an index listing ARS research locations. The site provides contact information for the more than 25 ARS research groups.

NTF seeks measurable outcome in food safety

National Turkey Federation's chairman of the Technical and Regulatory Committee, Bob Reinhard addressed the House Agricultural Committee, urging that changes in food safety should ensure measurable improvement in public health.
NTF Committee Chairman Bob Reinhard addressing the House Agricultural Committee.
Reinhard pointed out that
FSIS pathogen testing data has shown measurable progress in food safety for the turkey industry through its Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point program and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures.
He added that a food safety system should not only focus on blame assessment and punishment following a problem, but should coordinate with the industry and take measures to prevent food safety problems from arising.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Texas farm cited for poultry litter discharge

Mike McClure Farms in Hopkins County, Texas, has been issued a directive by the Environmental Protection Agency for breaching the federal Clean Water Act, according to a news report.
The poultry broiler facility which comes under the purview of
Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, was cited for releasing chicken litter from the farm's poultry litter staging area on three instances.
The staging area drains into a wetland that is connected to Stouts Creek. The farm has been ordered to build a covered shed for staging and storing poultry litter and check any unauthorized discharge.
A plan for the construction of the shed is to be submitted to the EPA within 45 days.

Poultry Science Youth Conference held at UA

The 13th annual Poultry Science Youth Conference, a part of the University of Arkansas System's Division of Agriculture, was held from July 7-10, according to a news report. Twenty-six high school students attended the conference.
A day of the conference was held at Tyson Discovery Center where the participants learned how new products are developed. They prepared recipes and presented them to faculty members during a closing ceremony in the Leland Tollett Auditorium in the Poultry Science Building.
The conference was sponsored by the Farm Bureau,
Harold E. Ford Foundation and the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science.

Ban on livestock antibiotics proposed in US

In a hearing at the U.S. House Rules Committee a measure to stop antibiotic use in livestock was proposed by Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, according to a news report.
The proposal is aimed at banning the use of seven classes of antibiotics and limiting the use of others to therapeutic and some preventative use with animals.
Supported by the
American Medical Association, the legislation is opposed by the National Pork Producers Council. The Union of Concerned Scientists said that about 70% of antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle to encourage their growth or to prevent illnesses.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Air-conditioned poultry houses make inroads in Vietnam

Air-conditioned poultry houses with control systems are gaining popularity in Vietnam, a news report said. According to the Provincial Department of Animal Health of Dong Nai Province, there are more than 100 such farms in the province which, with 1.2 million chickens, make up for 20% of the province's output.
Forecasts are that poultry from such farms could double by the end of the year. Many of the farmers operating air-conditioned houses have also entered into contracts with major livestock companies including Charoen Popkand, Emivet and Jappa.
Tong Van Huong, chairman of the Minh Hoa Commune Farmers Association in Binh Duong Province, said the long-term cost-effectiveness of air-conditioned farms makes up for the high investment. While a conventional poultry shed costs between $11-18,000, a 1,000 square meter air-conditioned chicken house would cost $58,000.

USDA 'organic' label questioned

Jack Cooper of the Food Industry Environmental Network has circulated a commentary based on a July 3, 2009, Washington Post report alleging that products labeled with the "Organic" seal may not comply with the standards of the National Organic Program.
Inspector General's Office of the USDA has initiated an investigation into the oversight of private certifiers and the level of adherence to the rigid standards imposed by the statutory regulations. At issue is whether consumers paying a premium for the USDA Organic seal are in fact assured that all the requirements relating to non-GMO ingredients and freedom from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are met.

NCC opposes 15% ethanol blends

The Environmental Protection Agency should resist the ethanol industry's demand that it legalize blending of ethanol into motor gasoline up to 15%, according to the National Chicken Council. NCC warned that the higher blend could cause damage to cars and trucks built to run on a maximum of 10% ethanol and would create additional volatility in the grain market.
Growth Energy, a group led by Poet Energy, the nation's largest ethanol distiller, petitioned EPA to raise the legal limit from 10% to as much as 15%, asserting that the higher blend would make no difference to operation of the millions of cars and trucks in the U.S. that run on conventional fuel.
EPA said its consideration of the Growth Energy petition would be based on whether there is adequate reason to believe that more ethanol in fuel would not cause harm to engine components, particularly pollution control equipment. NCC argued that pending studies must be completed before a final decision can be made.
Growth Energy and other ethanol backers claim that the 10% limit effectively caps the amount of ethanol they can sell, calling it the "blend wall."
Comments to EPA on the Growth Energy petition are due no later than July 20 and can be made through the government's official portal at

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PSA education funding applications available

Applications for the Poultry Science Association Education Fund of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Harold E. Ford Foundation are now available. The fund supports student recruitment at colleges and universities with poultry science programs that do not have full departments with poultry science degrees. Any institution of higher education in the United States that offers an identifiable poultry science program is eligible for a recruitment grant of up to $7,000.
A committee of poultry science department professionals will evaluate funding requests and make recommendations to the board of directors of the Ford Foundation. Institutions may apply for a grant by completing the form and submitting nine copies to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation by August 1, 2009. The form
can be found here.

Foster Farms opens former Pilgrim's plant

Governor Bobby Jindal and Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster received a heroes' welcome Saturday, July 11, as north Louisiana celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the new Foster Farms chicken plant in Farmerville, La.
With the help of the state, Foster Farms purchased the old
Pilgrim's Pride facility in March, saving thousands of jobs and avoiding the loss of more than $100 million in state and local tax revenues over the next 10 years.
Foster Farms said that at full capacity, the plant will employ at least 1,100 workers with a corresponding payroll of more than $24 million. Foster Farms has begun extending contracts to Louisiana growers in advance of the plant's opening.

US egg farmers reduce salmonella

As a result of the egg industry's proactive efforts, consumers have benefited from reduced rates of Salmonella enteritidis and other food safety concerns, reports Business Wire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have documented reductions in salmonellosis in states where producers have put egg production safety practices into effect. The programs currently used by egg farmers are designed around food safety and consumer health much in the same way the FDA's new program has been developed.
FDA started in 1999 on egg production safety regulations to address concerns with Salmonella enteritidis in eggs. In the 10 years leading up to these newly announced regulations, egg producers continued to improve egg safety through preventative measures in housing and storage while they waited for the final Federal rule, reports state.
During the FDA's development process,
United Egg Producers made suggestions to improve the original proposal for egg safety regulations and, while many guidelines were adapted, some suggestions that the industry still considers important were not accepted.
Egg producers are confident the program will further reduce illness associated from contaminated eggs. They also note that it is important to understand the estimates of reduced illnesses published by FDA are based on statistical extrapolations used to estimate the total number of illnesses, not on a count of illnesses that have actually occurred in the recent past.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mobile poultry processing unit begins operation

Vermont's first mobile poultry processing unit, designed and bought by state's Agency of Agriculture, has opened for business, according to a news report.
The first of its kind, the 36-foot trailer allows for on-site slaughter, cleaning, inspection and packaging. The mobile processing unit is expected to save farmers the cost of processing poultry out-of-state. The truck will be operated by Spring Hill Poultry Processing, Morrisville.

Cancer-causing source found in Taipei McDonald’s

Taipei health authority found inorganic arsenic – a cancer-causing substance – from cooking oil of McDonald's outlets during a normal inspection, reported by Taiwan’s Lianhe newspaper on July 8.
McDonald’s Taipei subsidiary said they did not find any unsafe sources during their daily self-inspection as well as third-party inspection, and will apply for a second-round inspection, according to the Lianhe's report.
Meanwhile, McDonald's outlets in mainland China swore to their food quality.
"Our deep fried products do meet China's standards of food safety, and we change cooking oil based on the official requirement," Li Di, a spokesman at Shanghai McDonald's Food Co., Ltd., told Poultry International's Coco Liu.
However, the company's statement may fail to reduce customers' fears. Beijing-based Xinjing Newspaper reported that some customers decided to stop eating in McDonald's for food safety concerns.

Research links higher campylobacter count to stress

A study conducted by a researcher of the Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, UK, has shown that the campylobacter bacterium is more likely to attack birds that are stressed, according to a news report.
The findings of the study, carried out by Professor Tom Humphrey in collaboration with the UK poultry industry, were presented at a summer conference organized by Society for Applied Microbiology in Manchester.
The results show that bacteria like campylobacter are higher in the gut of animals after transport than when they are on farm. Professor Humphrey said this could be due to the stress hormone adrenalin, which provides an environment in which the bacteria can multiply more rapidly.
There are approximately 400,000 cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK every year.

Friday, July 10, 2009

US, Russia hold talks to ease trade restrictions

As a first step toward persuading U.S. Congress to repeal the controversial Jackson-Vanik amendment, Russia must lift bans on poultry and pork imports from the U.S., Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was quoted in The Washington Post.
Locke's remarks came after two days of discussions with Russian officials during President Obama's visit to Moscow. The 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment prohibits trade relations with communist countries that restrict emigration.
However, Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for
Human Rights Watch, said Russian trade concessions alone will not persuade Congress to repeal the amendment as it sees Jackson–Vanik as a tool for expressing disapproval of human rights abuses in the former Soviet nation.

Food safety regulations tightened

The Obama administration initiated the overhauling of food safety regulations, which have come under-fire following numerous product recalls. As part of the new regulations, the administration has outlined measures to prevent salmonella from spreading in the U.S., a news report said.
FDA issued a final rule to reduce the contamination in eggs, which it believes will reduce illnesses related with the consumption of raw or undercooked eggs by 60% and save more than $1 billion per year. The USDA's FSIS said they will also develop new standards to reduce the incidence of salmonella in turkeys and poultry.
The administration's hope is that 90% of poultry establishments will meet the standards of the salmonella verification program by 2010.

Buffalo SAV products recalled

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service officials have ordered a Class II recall of about 208,768 lbs. of frozen meat and poultry food products of New York-based Buffalo SAV. A news report said the announcement was made on June 30.
Recall was made after the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets notified safety regulators of an unapproved ingredient declared on the label. Several items, manufactured between June 1, 2008 and June 5, 2009 are under
recall. Consumers who have been negatively affected by the recalled products may be entitled to compensation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Foster Farms to reduce number of suppliers

Foster Farms announced that it will not renew the contracts of all chicken growers who previously sold to Pilgrim's Pride in Farmerville, the Associated Press reported. The California-based company acquired the Pilgrim's Pride plant in Farmerville in early May.
Ira Brill, director of marketing services at Foster Farms, said the plant cannot accommodate the grower base that was previously supplying two plants – the Farmerville plant and the Clinton, Ark. plant that is now closed.
Grower contracts are subject to
USDA regulations.

China, US conflict over chicken

The U.S. and China are at odds over chicken after Beijing responded to an American ban on Chinese chicken that denys Chinese traders import permits for U.S. chicken, thereby effectively blocking poultry trade for the rest of 2009, according to a Reuters report.
The U.S. embargo on the import of Chinese poultry was imposed owing to food safety concerns. The measure, known as DeLauro amendment, was advocated by Representative Rosa DeLauro, the Democratic head of a House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Agriculture Department and
Food and Drug Administration.
In response to the ban, China has halted imports of U.S. chicken, about half of which are chicken feet widely used in the preparation of soups, stews and as snack items.

Research to analyze affects of poultry housing

Peter Skewes, an animal behaviorist at Clemson University, is analyzing the effect of cages and other confinement on the development and well-being of hens, according to a news report.
The three-year project, funded by a $348,000 National Research Initiative grant from the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, would look into the role environment plays in the development and egg laying patterns of hens.
Advocates for animal protection have been calling for the elimination of caged layer production. However, due to lack of data on hen physiology and behavior, designing an alternative management system has proved difficult so far, Skewes said.
As part of the research, Skewes would observe and compare cage- and non-cage-production systems for more than 900 chickens at Clemson's Morgan Poultry Center.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Poultry welfare auditor training scheduled for October

The fourth edition of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization's poultry welfare auditor training course will be held in Raleigh, N.C., October 6-8.
The three-day course, co-sponsored by
North Carolina State University's Department of Poultry Science – Extension, is the first step in reaching PAACO certification status for poultry (broiler, egg layer and turkey) welfare auditors.
Following course completion, participants move into a shadowing phase of training. Certification is granted after successfully completing two shadowed audits monitored by a PAACO-certified poultry auditor. To date, PAACO has certified over 110 poultry welfare auditors.

Edmondson accused of improper watershed deal

Poultry companies in Oklahoma claimed that Attorney General Drew Edmondson did not have the authority to approve an arrangement with the Cherokee Nation regarding the Illinois River Watershed during a hearing in Tulsa, according to a news report.
Though the companies requested the U.S. District Court to throw out Edmondson's agreement with the Tahlequah, Okla.-based tribe, Judge Greg Frizzell made no ruling. The agreement signed on May 19 was an aspect of the suit filed against
Tyson Foods and seven other poultry companies by the attorney general, who accuses them of polluting the watershed.

Food supply survey cites consumer concerns

IBM Corp. has released survey findings among food consumers relating to confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply. Concern is evident based on highly publicized recent recalls of green vegetables and peanut products.
It is considered significant that 83% of respondents were able to name a product recalled during the past year. This is attributed to wide media coverage of food-related problems. Approximately half of the respondents indicated that they would be less likely to purchase a product following a recall.
Only half of the respondents trust food manufacturers to withdraw and recall adulterated or contaminated food products but 70% indicated that they trust supermarkets and grocery stores to respond promptly to recalls. IBM also determined that tracability is essential in establishing consumer confidence and this aspect of production will in the future receive greater attention from regulatory agencies and certifying bodies.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Feather solution to hydrogen storage

Richard Wool, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Delaware, and a team of students have found a way to store hydrogen, the gas that has been touted as the antidote to fossil-fuel dependency, according to a news report.
The team used chicken feathers – which turn into a carbonized powder which absorbs hydrogen when heated to about 840 F. Wool says using the chicken feathers to make the hydrogen a solid would also be more energy efficient.

More cutbacks needed to return to profitability

Cutbacks in meat and poultry production may not be enough to return the industries to profit according to a report released by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Statistics show producers cutting back from a year ago but also that the cutbacks are leveling out.
Poultry production has been cut by about 1.6% compared to ast year but production is beginning to go back up.
Pork production is off by 1.7% compared with the same period last year. Pork output was 12% higher than the 2003-2007 average.
Beef production has been down 2.3% for the year. Weekly red meat totals, however, have been almost level to 2008 figures since mid-May. Beef production is 2.9% higher than the long-term average.
Operating losses in both the beef and pork sectors show that further reduction in output is necessary for profits to return.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Singapore merchants offer proposal to contain H1N1

Poultry and egg merchants in Singapore in consultation with their Malaysian suppliers proposed a plan to contain the spread of HIN1 flu across borders by disinfecting poultry and egg-carrying vehicles entering the area as well as allowing Singapore drivers to take over the vehicles at the border, according to a news report.
Merchant associations in Singapore said they will bear any price increases in eggs and poultry if the plan materializes.
However, there is a scarcity of drivers as those holding a Singapore driving license cannot drive a Malaysia-registered vehicle. The associations, though, are hoping authorities will grant their workers temporary licenses to meet the need.

China's rumored poultry ban denied

USA Poultry & Egg Export Council's Toby Moore said they have word that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has asked importers to reduce the number of permits they issue by 70%, adding he had few other details.
Following the report, Chinese Minister Chen Jian was
reported as saying the country's imports "are normal with orderly and stable prices."
Mike Giles of the Georgia Poultry Federation said he hopes the rumors aren't true and that the industry has suffered enough due to last year's sharply increased feed grain prices.
Last year, Chinese imports of U.S. poultry totaled $722 million.

Canada, US agree on organic standards

An equivalency agreement has been signed between Canada and the U.S. confirming reciprocity of organic certification. Canadian Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, an advocate of organic agriculture, stated, "Production of organic foods is a vibrant growth opportunity for American agriculture and by agreeing on a common set of organic principles with Canada we are expanding market opportunities for our producers to sell their product abroad."
She added, "Today's agreement between the world's two largest organic trading partners is an important first step toward global harmonization of organic standards."
This statement has underlying implications for U.S. egg producers since harmonization would impose unrealistic EU standards on egg production in the U.S., specifically with respect to space allowance and outside access by flocks. Further information can be obtained from the Web site of the
National Organic Program.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Committee approves Food Safety Enhancement Act 2009

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.
The bill will now be considered by the House of Representatives although final enactment will require parallel action from the U.S. Senate. The bill does not apply to eggs or products regulated by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration will receive enhanced regulatory powers to enforce recalls, increase the frequency of inspection of domestic food plants and mandates more detailed records for trace-back.

Effectiveness of decontamination procedures confirmed

A study conducted by scientists at the University of Georgia investigated the capacity of footbaths, protective clothing and washing of vehicle tires to reduce the spread of bacteria. Glogerm, which fluoresces under ultraviolent light, was used to detect contamination from litter.
Preliminary findings presented at a
Georgia Veterinary Medical Association meeting included:
Footbaths containing disinfectant solution function by removing particulate matter from boots.
Quaternary ammonia and iodine-based compounds were found to be more effective than phenolics.
The presence of the two functional classes of compounds prevented contamination of clean boots when immersed in a foot bath containing potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Comprehensive study results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal but the current edition of the Poultry Informed Professional.
As an editorial comment, the authors of the study have provided valuable advice on reducing the risk of cross contamination within the context of U.S. farms with current levels of disease challenge.

Michigan legislation to pre-empt HSUS initiatives

A package of bills has been introduced into the Michigan Legislature to establish a standard for farm animal care. The plan placed before the House Agriculture Committee will define the authority of the Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Commission as the sole authority to regulate livestock health and welfare.
This action follows similar legislation in Oklahoma. Standards for animal care to be implemented by 2020 will be based on scientific knowledge.
An Animal Care Advisory Council will make recommendations for changes to standards and a third party auditing system will be created to oversee the program.
In a similar measure, the Ohio House and Senate Agriculture Committees have passed a joint resolution empowering the Livestock Care Standards Board to regulate housing and welfare of livestock.
HSUS which has threatened to mount a 2008-style Proposition 2 initiative opposed this action which will be placed before the electorate in November 2009.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

China to ban import of U.S. chicken

China is considering a ban on the import of U.S. chicken, a move that may adversely affect the American chicken industry and increase trade tensions between the two nations, the Wall Street Journal reported.
China's stance, which could see U.S. chicken exporters lose about $370 million over the next six months, follows a U.S. embargo on Chinese poultry. China branded the prohibition unlawful and had placed it before a
World Trade Organization expert panel for investigation.
President of the
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council James H. Sumner, reportedly acknowledged that several importers in China told him that the U.S. wouldn't receive any import permits from the country's ministry of commerce starting July 1.
"We have gone to great lengths over the past few years to explain to the Chinese that we are not behind this effort and that in fact we are opposed to any restrictive language," said Sumner. "We think the decision should be based on sound science, but apparently we have not convinced everyone because now we are falling victim to their actions."
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, has reportedly been informed of the development. Last year China overtook Russia as the largest importer for U.S. chicken, according to the USAPEEC.

Stimulus funds approved for poultry lab

The U.S.Department of Agriculture announced that the Athens' Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory will get $2.3 million of federal stimulus money to upgrade the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and the rooms used to house animals, according to a news report.
The money will not be used for the expansion of the poultry lab or additional research as directed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Southeast Poultry Lab houses the country's major research program on bird flu. USDA will spend $176 million to upgrade more than three dozen of its research laboratories in 29 states across the country.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Arsenic compound in chicken affecting Americans

The arsenic compound roxarsone, which is frequently added to chicken feed to fight parasites and increase growth, is a Class A carcinogen linked to heart disease, diabetes and declines in brain function, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Though the industry has been using roxarsone since its approval by the
Food and Drug Administration in 1944, it seems to have little effect except raising the blood count. The meat, thus pinker, appeals more to the customer.
Similarly, the arsenic additive fuels angiogenesis in human cells, which might lead to cancer. Chicken growers have also reported illness from contact with roxarsone while preparing feed. EU outlawed the use of arsenic in chicken feed in 1999. Though several producers like
Tyson Foods and Perdue Farms have responded, more than 70% of over 9 billion broiler chicken produced annually in the U.S. are fed roxarsone.

SC General Assembly to legislate livestock, poultry care

The General Assembly of South Carolina passed S.453 legislating the care of livestock and poultry. Under the legislation, units of local government cannot enact ordinances, orders or other regulations concerning care and handling, interpreted as “accepted animal husbandry practices.” reported that the intent of the legislation is to “occupy the field of regulation of care and handling with all local laws and ordinances preempted and superceded by laws enacted by the General Assembly."

Foster Farms launches anti-plumping Web site

Foster Farms launched a new Web site using talking chickens to promote its "100% Natural" chicken and educate consumers about the practice of plumping poultry.
Martha and Betsy, the talking birds, add humor to the site which also includes an interactive "Plumpinator" calculator to help calculate how much money is spent on saltwater in plumped chicken.