Salsa Manufacturer Recipient of FDA 483 Letter


In May and June, operations at the Casa Pueblo Salsa LLC plant in Missoula, MT. were reviewed by the FDA resulting in a 483 Inspection Observation Report and a subsequent October 16th warning letter.

The range of violations is overwhelming and denotes the dangers to which consumers might be subjected by small-scale manufacturers of supplements and foods. In this instance, botulism was raised as a potential outcome of the numerous deficiencies observed. These included:

  • Failure to maintain equipment through appropriate cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Visible food debris on equipment identified as clean and ready for use.
  • Failure to separate cleaned and contaminated utensils.
  • Deterioration of building fixtures and physical facilities storing finished product.
  • Failure to supervise personnel to ensure conformity to acceptable hygienic practices.

It is hoped that retail outlets marketing products from small companies exercise appropriate oversight and ensure that suppliers follow HACCP procedures as mandated in the FSMA. Ensuring acceptable manufacturing practices cannot be left entirely to the FDA. This Agency cannot inspect all food and drug manufacturing sites with the limited resources available both in the U.S. over and above imported foods, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. It is questioned how many more Casa Pueblo Salsa companies there are in operation and how the FDA can fulfill its commitment to ensuring food safety.

Again, CHICK-NEWS suggests that a dedicated food safety agency is required with sufficient inspection personnel scientific staff and competent administrators to protect consumers.


Poultry Industry News



The following items are of concern directly and indirectly to all the segments of the U.S. Poultry Industry and will be reviewed in upcoming editions of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS


  • Glimmer of Hope for Resolution of Trade Dispute with China: There is evidently a dialogue between the U.S. Treasury Secretary and his counterpart the Vice President of China. The objective is to develop a preliminary agenda for a discussion between the Presidents of the U.S. and China at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires in late November.
  • African Swine Fever has Potential to Disrupt Pork Production in China: Lack of transparency creates uncertainty as to the incidence rate of ASF cases especially in large commercial units.
  • Intense Competition and Cost Inflation narrowing margins among Food Service Distributors: Recent quarterly reports from the four large food distributors confirm the effect of inflation in labor and transport costs reducing operating margins.




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

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

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

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



Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec.'18 369 (371)

March '19 380 (383)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. '18 875 (874)

March '19 899 (899)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Dec. '18 306 (311)

March '19 311 (315)

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


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

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

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

  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

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

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


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The October 17th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.1 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2018 (28.7 million eggs on August 1st 2018) down 6.8 percent (1.9 million eggs) from September 1st 2017. A total of 24.0 million poults were hatched during August 2018 (25.7 million in July 2018) and down 3.3 percent from August 2017.

A total of 23.3 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in August 2018, (25.7 million in July 2018) and down 4.2 percent (1.0 million poults) from August 2017. This suggests disposal of 0.75 million hen poults or 6.2 percent of hen poults hatched during August 2018 or 3.1 percent of the total hatch.

For the twelve-month period September 2017 through August 2018, 284.8 million poults were hatched and 246.8 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 17.6 million hen poults over the period representing 12.4 percent of hen poults hatched or 6.2 percent of all poults hatched.

USDA will release the next monthly report on October 16th.

Turkey Production:

The November 9th edition of the USDA Turkey Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 45) confirmed the following provisional data for turkeys slaughtered under Federal inspection:-


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices


Chick Placements

The November 7th edition of the USDA Broiler Hatchery Report confirmed that a total of 215.46 million eggs were set during the week ending November 3rd approximately the same as the corresponding week in 2017. A total of 166.63 million day-old chicks were placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending November 3rd. This was the same quantity as for the corresponding week in 2017. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 173.83 million. Average hatchability was 81.3 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Broiler chick placements for 2018 through November 3 rd amounted to 8.03 billion, up 1.0 percent from YTD 2017.

Broiler Production

For the processing week ending November 3rd 164.5 million broilers were processed at an average live weight of 6.26 lbs. (6.25 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 0.6 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2017. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week attained 782.4 million lbs. (355,650 metric tons), 0.3 percent more than in the corresponding week in 2017. Production of RTC for 2018 to date attained 33.49 million lbs. (15.22 million metric tons), 0.7 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017.

The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 65 No. 45) November 9th 2018 edition are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-


U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January-September 2018.


Data for January-September 2018 indicates a moderate increase in export of broiler parts in comparison to the corresponding nine months of 2017. Total broiler exports for January-September 2018 attained 2,357,270 metric tons, 3.9 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017 (2,69,587 metric tons). Total value improved by 4.0 percent to $2,393 million ($2,302 million).

During January-September 2018 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 2,540,225 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $2,710 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,066 per metric ton, 0.7 percent higher in value compared to the first nine months of 2017 ($1,059 per m. ton).

The NCC breakdown of chicken exports by proportion and unit price for each broiler category for January-September 2018 compared with the equivalent months in 2017 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-

  • Chicken parts 95.9%; Unit value $995 per metric ton ($987)

  • Prepared chicken 2.8%; Unit value $3,559 per metric ton ($3,547)

  • Whole chicken 1.3%; Unit value $1,024 per metric ton ($1,038)

The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports in January-September 2018 with corresponding figures for 2017:-


Tyson Foods Reports on Q4 and Fiscal 2018


In a press release dated November 13th Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) announced results for the 4th Quarter and Fiscal 2018 ending September 29th 2018.

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as $ x 1,000 except EPS)


4th Quarters Ending September 29th/30th.



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Net Income




Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets (includes 57% intangibles and goodwill)




Market Capitalization



52-Week Range in Share Price: $56.79 to $84.65

Market Close November 12th $61.61 Open November 13th post-release $57.87

Forward P/E: 10.2 Beta -0.2

For Fiscal 2018 TSN earned $3.02 billion ($1.77 billion FY 2017) on sales of $40.05 ($38.3 billion) with an EPS of $6.16 ($5.31)

The report included a narrative on the Chicken Segment which stared “Sales volume increased primarily due to incremental volume from business acquisitions. Average sales price decreased for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 due to sales mix associated with acquisitions and lower export sales prices. Average sales price increased for fiscal 2018 due to sales mix changes and price increases associated with cost inflation, partially offset by reduced average sales prices in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. Operating income decreased due to increased labor, freight and grow-out expenses, in addition to $103 million and $61 million for the twelve months and fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, respectively, of higher feed ingredient costs and net realized and mark-to-market derivative losses as well as $51 million of one-time cash bonus to frontline employees incurred in the second quarter of fiscal 2018.


Cobb Establishes Subsidiary in Columbia


Cobb-Vantress has announced that a subsidiary grandparent stock operation has been established in Columbia trading as Cobb Columbia. The enterprise will fall under the management of Cobb-Vantress Brazil and will provide sales and technical support for customers in Columbia.

Jairo Arenazio, General Manager of Cobb South America stated “With this additional unit in South America, Cobb is able to consolidate the quality of our products throughout the region.” He added “We are pleased to establish a more formal presence in the country and bring in new investment.”

Cobb expects to operate at full capacity within the next six months to supply the region with the MV male. Demand in the short term will be provided by eggs exported from Brazil to initially boost production. 

Cobb has established an office in Bogota with a technical and marketing team.


USMCA Has Repercussions in Canadian Poultry Industry


The Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence Macaulay announced a new working group comprising poultry farmers and processors.

The objective of the working group will be collaboration to develop appropriate strategies to support farmers and to adjust to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in addition to the previously ratified Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

It is evident that with the introduction of the two agreements, producers will have to consider alternatives to the existing controlled marketing system.

In announcing the working group, MacAulay stated “This working group will ensure the voices of the hardworking men and women who are building and growing our farm businesses are heard and reflected as we develop a path forward to ensure our poultry and egg sectors remain strong and competitive.”

Under the USMCA, tariff-free market access will continue within North America.

The USMCA will allow enhanced market access for U.S. exporters with respect to dairy, poultry and eggs.


BioChek Presents Semi-Annual Technical Training Session


In the fall and spring of each year, BioChek hosts customers to a technical training session in Reeuwijk, the Netherlands.

The October 23rd to 25th, 2018 session attracted 15 participants representing customers in the E.U. and Asia.

Topics included ELISA and PCR as diagnostic techniques. The training program emphasized application of BioChek products including:-



  • Handling of kits and preparation of reagents
  • Performing ELISA and PCR assays according to established protocols
  • Validation of ELISA results using reference controls
  • Problem solving and diagnosis using ELISA and PCR

In addition to in-house training in the Netherlands, BioChek also provides on-site training for new products including assays and software updates. For further information on the laboratory technical training sessions in the Netherlands or on-site instruction, access www.biochek.com/lab-training or Email labtraining@biochek.com.


Bachoco Reports on Q3 of FY 2018


In a press release dated October 24th Industrias Bachoco SAB de CV (IBA) announced results for the Third Quarter of Fiscal 2018 ending September 30th 2018.

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as $ x 1,000 except EPS; Conversion prevailing Nov 7th 19.8 Mexican Pesos =US$1)

3rd Quarter Ending September 30th.



Difference (%)





Gross profit:




Operating income:




Net Income




Diluted earnings per share:




Gross Margin (%)




Operating Margin (%)




Profit Margin (%)




Long-term Debt:




12 Months Trailing:


Return on Assets (%)



Return on Equity (%)



Operating Margin (%)



Profit Margin (%)



Total Assets




Market Capitalization



52-Week Range in Share Price: $42,00 to $64.44

Market Close Oct. 24th $48.30 Open Nov. 7th $44.75

P/E: 10.0

IBA derives 70.0 percent of revenue in Mexico, 30.0 percent in the U.S.(OK Foods)

IBA derives 91 percent of sales from poultry, principally broilers but also eggs.

In commenting on results Rodolfo Ramos Arvizu, Chief Executive Officer of Bachoco, stated: "We faced a more than expected, challenging third quarter in our Mexico and U.S. operations. In Mexico, as is typical for a third quarter, we observed lower demand, and our prices were affected negatively, even more than we expected and on the other hand, we also saw higher cost of sales. The combination of those two conditions caused an important adjustment in our margins.

In the U.S. industry we observed oversupply conditions for all animal proteins which continued pushing poultry prices to low levels, impacting margins also in our U.S. operation.

He added "We are confident that our financial discipline, our focus on capturing efficiencies and being close to our customers, will allow us to improve our results as soon as industry conditions recover and we will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that may arise in the future."


Poultry Industry Continues to Improve Worker Safety Record


According to a USPOULTRY release on Nov. 8th the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses in the poultry slaughter and processing workforce has fallen by 83 percent over the last 20 years and continues to decline according to the 2017 Injury and Illness Report recently released by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate for 2017 was 3.8 cases per 100 full-time workers (per year), down from 4.2 in 2016. The poultry industry’s rate of 3.8 was below the rate of 6.4 for similar agricultural industries in terms of injuries per 100 full time workers and lower than the rate of 4.5 for the entire food manufacturing sector.

Poultry processing’s 2017 rate of 3.8 represents an 83 percent decrease from 1994 (the oldest data available on the BLS website), when the recorded rate was 22.7, demonstrating the safety improvements effected by the industry.


“The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council consists of members from USPOULTRY, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent companies that produce 95 percent of the nation's poultry products and directly employ more than 350,000 workers.


“The poultry industry has been industrious in reducing recordable injuries and illnesses for decades. This recent data recognizes the excellent safety performance achievements the poultry industry has accomplished. We will continue to implement additional practices and tools to further protect the people that work hard every day in our plants to provide high-quality, safe and nutritious protein for consumers,” said John Starkey, USPOULTRY president.


Turkey Trackers Launched Before Thanksgiving Holiday


On November 8th Jennie-O Turkey Store, a subsidiary of Hormel Foods announced the launch of an online Turkey Tracker for fresh or frozen JENNIE-O® whole turkey back to the farm of origin. A code stamped on the package hang tag can be entered into the JENNIE-O® Turkey Tracker page on the company website. This will disclose the regional farm where the turkey was raised together with information on the contract grower.

Heather Carr, director of whole turkey sales at Jennie-O Turkey Store stated "We are proud that a majority of our turkeys are raised on farms located in Minnesota and western Wisconsin," She added "we felt it was important to introduce our local farm partners to our consumers and for them to see the hard work and passion our farmers put in everyday to ensure the highest quality animal care for their turkeys."

This innovation by Jennie-O follows the 2017 pilot initiative by Cargill for their Honeysuckle White Brand which will involve 200,000 birds raised on 70 farms in 2018. The Honeysuckle program will be functional in 3,500 stores in the Midwest and South Central regions. Debra Bauler Chief Information Officer for the Cargill Protein Division  stated “Cargill is making meaningful investments in technologies including blockchain to digitalize our supply chains in ways that benefit the entire industry and our customers” She explained that the expanded transparency program featuring Honeysuckle White turkeys builds confidence in the food customers purchase”


Pressure on Campbell Soup Board


Third Point LLC is continuing to pressure the Board of the Campbell Soup Company to develop an alternative plan to revitalize the company.  Third Point has recommended that the company be split into two units focused on meals and beverages and the other on snacks respectively.  Third Point maintains that the only alternative to radical reorganization would be outright sale of the company. Third Point has suggested a similar approach as applied by Conagra to reverse the downward spiral of sales and the stock price which has swooned by 20 percent YTD


The Board, dominated by family shareholders was generally opposed to any major restructuring.  George Strawbridge Jr. has however broken ranks and joined with Third Point. Their cumulative ten percent shareholding will be used as leverage in a proxy battle to replace the Board in entirety.


The proposals made by Third Point were in fact considered by the Campbell Soup Board under the leadership of interim CEO Keith McLoughlin.  Shareholders will vote on the Third Point proposal on November 29.


Zacky Farms to Cease Operation


On October 31st Zacky Farms LLC announced that they will be winding down operations and shuttering the Fresno location. The company operates in Los Angeles, Fresno and Tulare, California. 


Zacky antecedents go back to 1928 when Sam Zacky, the founder established a wet market in Los Angeles.  Zacky Farms, was established in 1955 by the family of Sam Zacky.

The chicken operation was sold to Foster Farms in 2001 and the Company thereafter concentrated on turkeys.  


Zacky Farms filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2012 and was reorganized after departure of Richard Zacky.  The company was reconstituted in 2014 and currently is entirely owned by Lillian Zacky the widow of Robert Zacky.


In a message to the 1,500 employees of the company,  Lillian Zacky stated, “After four generations and an enormous effort to keep the company in sync with the fast pace of changing times we no longer are able to keep up with business as usual.  We have put our best foot forward as we struggled in the current state of industry conditions.  It has been impossible for us to continue profitably.” 


The company was ranked 18th among U.S. turkey producers with a projected throughput 70 to 80 million pounds annually comprising a full range of turkey products including breasts, franks, and deli items.


North Carolina Gag Order on Hog Waste Lawsuits Set Aside


On October 29th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit set aside a gag order imposed by District Judge W. Earl Britt, preventing parties in a series of lawsuits from communicating to the media.  The case #18-1762 was argued on September 25th and decided on October 29th. 


Judge Britt, Senior District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina imposed the gag order on June 27th based on “volume and scope of prejudicial publicity observed, leading to a substantial risk of additional publicity tainting or biasing future jury pools.”  The order prohibited all parties and their lawyers, representatives and agents as well as all potential witnesses from making unauthorized or extra-judicial statements or interviews with any person or persons associated with any public communications media. 


The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sided with Smithfield Foods finding that the gag order violated the First Amendment.  The Appeals Court considered that concern over pre-trial publicity was insufficient to justify the gag order which the Court noted “should be as last resort not a first impulse.”


Butterball Posts Loss for Third Quarter of 2018


Data disclosed in the Seaboard Corporation SEC Form 10Q filed October 31st documented that Butterball, in which Seaboard has a 50 percent shareholding generated a net loss of $23 million on sales of $399 million for the third quarter of 2018 ending September 30th. For the comparative third quarter of FY 2017 Butterball generated a net profit of $1 million on sales of $439 million. 


For the nine months ending September 29th Butterball apparently lost $36 million on sales of $1,046 million.  For the nine-month period, the turkey segment resulted in a loss to Seaboard of $18 million compared to a loss of $11 million for the nine months ending September 30, 2017.


According to notes accompanying the filing, “Increases in losses from affiliates for the three and nine month periods of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, was primarily the result of lower volume of turkey products sold in 2018 and higher logistics and production costs.”  The statement continued, “Based on market conditions, management cannot currently predict if the turkey segment will be profitable for the remainder of 2018.”


Sam’s Club to Distribute Naked Truth® Chicken and Products


In a November 2nd release, Wayne Farms LLC, a subsidiary of Continental Grain has announced that Naked Truth® products will be marketed by Sam’s Club®.  The Naked Truth® brand is derived from flocks that are fed vegetarian diets, carry a no-antibiotics-ever claim and are certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) to Step-2 standards.

Products will include fixed-weight, individually-wrapped fully cooked and frozen breast fillets with grill marks suitable for microwave cooking.

Tom Bell, Vice President and GM of Prepared Foods at Wayne Farms stated “Our product provides more than just a culinary experience, it also offers responsibility, transparency and all of the features that premium products should offer.”

According to the standards required by GAP, broilers are raised at a stocking density lower than conventional U.S. levels, are provided with increased light and with enrichments.

The suggested retail price for six individually wrapped breasts weighing 1.9 pounds will be $12.98.


USPOULTRY Foundation Awards $328,000 in Student Recruiting Grants


USPOULTRY Foundation awarded more than $320,000 to universities and educational institutions to recruit students to poultry science or related programs. Funds were made available by members of USPEA and proceeds from the IPPE.

The six universities with poultry science departments (Auburn, Mississippi State, North Carolina State, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Georgia) were awarded between $25,000 and $30,000 each. Twenty-nine other educational institutes included universities and community colleges were awarded amounts ranging from $1,300 to $10,000.

Jerry Moye of Hendrix Genetics, currently USPOULTRY Foundation Chairman stated “It is crucial that we attempt to interest bright young people to study careers in the poultry industry.” He added “The USPOULTRY Foundation grants play a fundamental role in encouraging students to enroll in industry-related studies and in becoming future industry leaders.”


Original Living Coconut Company Sanctioned by FDA


The FDA appears ready to pounce on manufacturers of food products making spurious health claims. An audit of facilities of the company producing Original Living Coconut Products disclosed a wide range of products in the plant bearing claims which by definition classified them as “drugs”. This is because the labels indicated suitability for the “cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.”

 The FDA also noted spurious claims on the company website (www.originallivingcoconut.com) in mid-August. The warning letter identified claims that Original Living Coconut products as denoted on labels and the website could be used to treat or prevent viral diseases including influenza, measles, hepatitis and AIDS. In addition label claims included efficacy to treat infections caused by bacteria responsible for various conditions including sexually transmitted diseases and metabolic conditions such as osteoporosis. The extensive list attributed to the coconut products are reminiscent of 19th century medicine-man claims at county fairs for elixirs and panaceas. The FDA pointed to the misuse of testimonials alleging cures associated with consumption of Original Living Coconut products.


ASF in China Continues with New Cases Reported


According to Thomson Reuters, China confirmed the 50th outbreak of African Swine Fever on Monday, November 5th. As in past disclosures the Agricultural Ministry is reporting on cases involving farms with less than 200 pigs and is apparently failing to document outbreaks on large-scale commercial farms.

The outbreaks in the subsistence and family farms are attributed to feeding contaminated swill which was banned by impossible to enforce.

The magnitude of the problem is indicated by the fact that pork products produced in China have yielded ASF virus when assayed in Taiwan and Korea. This suggests more widespread dissemination than is suggested by reports of sporadic cases by official sources in China.


FDA to Expand Mandatory Recall of Contaminated Foods


In a Monday, November 5th release, the Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb advised that the Agency will expand the use of mandatory recall authority where prompt action is required to protect public health.

Guidance describes how affected companies can conduct voluntary recalls before ordering a mandatory recall as required by law. The FDA has authority under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act to mandate recalls when manufacturers do not remove the product from markets in a voluntary move.

The FDA will make available recall coordinators to assist companies during a recall process and will continue to issue guidance concerning specific recalls. Reference is made to the Draft Guidance Document released in September 2018 which among other provisions indicated that the FDA would make public the list of retail consignees of products subject to recall.


Kroger Benefitting From Employee Raises


According to an article by Jon Springer in the Winsight Grocery Business, the Kroger Company is benefitting from the $500 million investment in employee training wages and benefits comprising the Restock Kroger initiative. The company has documented a 9.4 percent downturn in employee turnover and wages of hourly workers are up by 3.3 percent to $14.50 per hour. Kroger employs 460,000 workers and the initiative was an attempt to develop talent and differentiate the company with a culture attracting and developing employees.

Kroger now offers a plan to subsidize education programs including GEDs and college by up to $3,500 per year. This has benefitted more than 2,000 employees.

Over half of Kroger’s hourly workers have seen increased wages since the Restock program was introduced and an additional one third have gained through collective bargaining agreements. Kroger has also adopted a more flexible policy towards scheduling which benefits workers with educational commitments or second jobs.


Aviagen Reports on Participation at Latin American Poultry and Nutrition Congress


Three members of the Aviagen team participated in the Latin American Poultry and Nutrition Congress held September 23rd to the 25th in Miami. The Congress attracted 1,600 industry professionals representing veterinary medicine, nutrition, broiler and breeder management and live production.

Participants from Aviagen at the meeting included Dr. Jose Bruzual, Dr. Rodrigo Espinosa and Dr. Gregorio Rosales.

Presentations by Aviagen veterinarians related to enhancing productivity of Ross® and ArborAcres® brands. Dr. Bruzual noted “The Congress provided a great opportunity to discuss up-to-date information and exchange experiences with our customers and industry leaders.”

Dr. Espinosa commented “The level of interaction and camaraderie at the Congress was inspiring.”

Dr. Rosales, formerly Vice President of Veterinary Services for Aviagen stated “It was great to network and share the industry’s latest findings in poultry health with colleagues from many countries in Latin America. This first LPL Congress an important gathering of industry minds was a large success.”


Bojangles Acquired


Bojangles (BOJA) announced that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Durational Capital Management LP and the Jordan Company. The chicken chain will be acquired in a cash transaction with stockholders receiving $16.10 per share, representing a 39 percent premium to the February 12th 2018 closing price when the potential transaction became public knowledge. The transaction price represents a 30 percent premium over the 90-day volume-weighted average price ending on February 12th and a 15 percent premium on the closing share price on September 27th beforethe formal announcement concerning potential acquisition.

Randy Kibler, interim President and CEO of Bojangles stated “For the Bojangles family of employees, franchisees and our customers, today’s announcement represents an exciting next phase for this great brand. The new ownership group is committed to maintaining the quality of the brand that has sustained it for over four decades.”

Eric Sobotka, Managing Partner at Durational Capital Management stated “We have admired the brand and its high quality and craveable food for years, and we look forward to partnering closely with the employees and franchisees to drive its future growth and continued success.”


Perdue AgriBusiness to Invest in Organic Grain Receiving Facility


Perdue AgriBusiness, a division of Perdue Farms announced a $30 million investment in an organic grain receiving and storage facility to be located at Tradepoint Atlantic in eastern Baltimore County.

Dick Willey, President of Perdue AgriBusiness stated “Tradepoint Atlantic at the Port of Baltimore is ideally located to receive grain and supply organic customers throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The new complex will be a key part of an integrated supply chain that enables us to increase business and reduce cost while maintaining the quality of our organic products.”

Maryland governor Larry Hogan stated “Perdue has called Maryland home for nearly 100 years and our Administration is excited about their latest commitment to Baltimore County and our state.” He added “Global companies like Perdue who continue to invest and grow in our state prove that Maryland is truly open for business.”

Tradepoint Atlantic is a 3,000-acre global logistics center located in Baltimore equipped with deep-water berths, railroads and access to highways. Established in 2014, with the backing of investment companies Redwood Capital and Hilco Global the site was previously used for steel manufacture. Tradepoint Atlantic is attracting a wide range of businesses including shipping and manufacturing. On completion the project will provide 11,000 permanent jobs and generate $2.9 billion in annual economic impact.

For further information on Perdue AgriBusiness, access the company website www.perdueagribusiness.com or the website of the holding company www.perduefarms.com


McDonald’s Testing Premium Chicken Sandwich and Tenders


In a test conducted in 160 stores in Washington State, McDonald’s is evaluating two products which are similar to industry leader Chick-fil-A®.  The Ultimate Chicken sandwich will comprise a lightly-breaded and seasoned chicken breast flavored with Dijon sauce on a soft steamed roll.  The menu item will supply 530 calories and 31 grams of protein.


 The second product, Ultimate Chicken Tenders will be served as 4, 6 or 10 pieces.  Both products will be made to order. McDonald’s elected not to use peanut oil for cooking and is therefore using a vegetable-oil blend to allow customers with peanut allergies to enjoy these products.


Cobb Program on Male Management at the Latin American Poultry and Nutrition Congress


Cristiano Pereira provided attendees at the Latin American Poultry and Nutrition Congress with the latest information on management of broiler parent males. The presentation focused on the Cobb NV™ male. Guidance was provided on optimizing fertility which requires monitoring of body weight, feed conversion and maturity. 


Pereira stated, “At Cobb we pride ourselves on providing unmatched technical service and expertise for our customers.”  He added, “It was an honor to be able to share information on a topic that is important for our customers and to engage in a dialogue with professionals in all aspects of the poultry business.”


Cassiano Bevilaqua, marketing manager for Cobb-Vantress, Brasil Ltda. stated, “The opportunity to take part in the Congress is a great importance for us as it reinforces our commitment to offering quality products and services to the entire region.”


The Latin American Poultry and Nutrition Congress was held in Miami from October 23 through 25 and attracted 1,000 attendees from across Latin America. Registrants included production directors, managers, veterinarians, nutritionists and consultants and representatives from companies involved in breeding, feed manufacture and incubation.


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