Editorial

2024 International Production and Processing Expo

By all accounts, the 2024 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was the most successful among previous events.  The trade-show floor spread over halls A, B and C of the Georgia World Conference Center covering 621,000 square feet with 1,427 exhibitors.  Attendance exceeded 31,000, represented by 130 nations.  Aisles in the A and B hall were crowded on Tuesday and Wednesday with a far higher number of attendees on Thursday, usually a quiet day.  Comments from exhibitors were generally enthusiastic, noting the high proportion of international attendees, especially from Latin America.

 

Concurrent events organized during the IPPE included the International Poultry Scientific Forum. This pre-Show event is regarded as a platform for reports on applied research and indicates future trends in technology.  The Latin American Poultry Summit focused on avian influenza drew a large audience and attracted poultry professionals and producers from the entire Continent given the changes in epidemiology of the panornitic during 2023.  Other noteworthy meetings included the Pet Food Conference, the Workshops on Food Safety and Sustainability.

The IPPE is a venue for poultry organizations to arrange meetings to discuss ongoing events, to elect officers and plan future programs.  An example was the UEP briefing and committee meetings preceded by a program on HPAI. In both the UEP discussion and the Latin American Poultry Summit, the focus was on vaccination as a strategy to prevent outbreaks with reports on evaluation of immunization programs in Europe and Latin America.  It is hoped that current policy relating to the prevention and control of HPAI will be amended as a result of the contributions of speakers at IPPE sessions. Conclusions from the UEP meeting were that vaccines are capable of suppressing clinical signs and lateral transmission, although influenza virus can be isolated for a limited period from vaccinated birds subject to either field or laboratory infection.

 

It was clear from comments by speakers and attendees at meetings that characterizing HPAI as an “exotic disease” is a fallacy given seasonal introduction by migratory waterfowl and marine birds. Attempts at eradication will be both futile and expensive to producers, the Federal government and above all, consumers, applying the current whack-a-mole approach to flock depopulation that may not have restricted inter-farm transmission among large complexes.

 

Trade exhibits demonstrated advances in the design of feeding and watering systems for floor housed flocks in addition to a wide range of aviaries for cage-free egg production.  Displacement of antibiotics has lead to a search for alternatives represented by numerous manufacturers offering probiotics, prebiotics, botanicals and organic acids. Gut health and optimization of feed conversion efficiency was the theme of many exhibitors supplying feed supplements.

 

The availability and cost of labor was addressed by equipment offering advanced capabilities through machine vision and AI technology. A higher degree of mechanization was evident in processing and packaging with an emphasis on conservation of water and energy and reduction of waste.

 

The Annual IPPE fills a necessary need for the poultry industry. Although focused on North America the IPPE maintains its position as the premier event among shows staged in Europe and Asia. USPOULTRY and co-organizers the American Feed Industry Association and the North American Meat Institute are to be congratulated for planning and arranging an event catering to the needs of academia, the diverse production and allied industries and producers.

 

Poultry Industry News

Meat Exports 2023

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports, 2023.

 

OVERVIEW

 

Total exports of bone-in broiler parts and feet during 2023 attained 3,635,178 metric tons, 4.2 percent less than for 2022 (3,794,328 metric tons). Total value of broiler exports declined by 9.2 percent to $4,739 million ($5,217 million).

 

Total export volume of turkey products during 2023 attained 221,920 metric tons, 20.2 percent more than in 2022 (184,576 metric tons). Total value of turkey exports declined by 2.0 percent to $628 million ($641 million).

 

Unit price for the broiler industry is constrained by the fact that leg quarters comprise over 97 percent of broiler meat exports by volume (excluding feet). From the first quarter of 2021 through 2022, unit value of leg quarters increased consistent with international demand followed by a decline in 2023. Leg quarters represent a relatively low-value undifferentiated commodity lacking in pricing power. Exporters of commodities are subjected to competition from domestic production in importing nations. Generic products such as leg quarters are vulnerable to trade disputes and embargos based on real or contrived disease restrictions.

 

HPAI has emerged as a panornitic affecting the poultry meat industries of four continents with seasonal outbreaks. The distribution in the U.S. limits eligibility for export depending on restrictions imposed by importing nations

 

Ongoing outbreaks of African swine fever in China and Southeast Asia from early 2019 and Europe from 2010 onwards reduced the availability of pork. In addition, disruptions in chicken production and logistics due to COVID restrictions decreased availability of protein with international repercussions on trade in chicken and pork. The demand for pork imports to China has diminished with restoration of domestic hog production. Mild overproduction is evident in the white-feathered broiler sector with implications for exports other than feet extending into 2024.

 

EXPORT VOLUMES AND PRICES FOR BROILER MEAT

 

During 2023 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 3,561,839 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared), down 4.2 percent from 2022. Exports were valued at $4,829 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,319 per metric ton.

 

The NCC breakdown of chicken exports for 2023 by proportion and unit price for each category compared with the corresponding months in 2022 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-

 

  • Chicken parts (excluding feet) 3%; Unit value $1,248 per metric ton ($1,334)
  • Prepared chicken 2%; Unit value $4,397 per metric ton ($3,989)
  • Whole chicken 5%; Unit value $1,733 per metric ton ($1,600)
  • Composite Total 0%; Av. value $1,319 per metric ton ($1,388)

 

The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports during 2023 compared with the corresponding months of 2022:-

 

PRODUCT

 

2022

 

2023

 

DIFFERENCE

Broiler Meat & Feet

     

Volume (metric tons)

3,794,328

3,635,178

 -159,150 (-4.2%)

Value ($ millions)

5,217

4,739

-478 (-9.2%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)

1,441

1,304

-137 (-9.5%)

Turkey Meat

     

Volume (metric tons)

184,567

221,920

+137,353 (+20.2%)

Value ($ millions)

641

628

-13 (-2.0%)

Unit value ($/m. ton)

3,473

2,829

-644 (-18.5%)

 

COMPARISON OF U.S. CHICKEN AND TURKEY EXPORTS

 

2023 COMPARED TO 2022

 

BROILER EXPORTS

 

Total broiler parts, predominantly leg quarters but including feet, exported during 2023 as compared with 2022 declined by 4.2 percent in volume and 9.2 percent in value. Unit value was 9.5 percent lower at $1,304 per metric ton.

 

During December exports attained 312,407 metric tons valued at $401 million, up 3.1 percent in volume and down 6.4 percent in value compared to December 2022. Unit value was up 3.2 percent to $1,283 per metric ton

 

Broiler imports in 2022 were projected to attain 80,200 metric tons (176 million lbs.) falling to 72,000 metric tons (160 million lbs.) in 2023.

 

The top five importers of broiler meat represented 50.4 percent of shipments during 2023. The top ten importers comprised 66.9 percent of the total volume reflecting concentration among the significant importing nations.

 

During 2023 Mexico was the first-ranked importer by volume with 721,342 metric tons representing 19.8 percent of export volume up 10.2 percent from 2022. Value at $811 million was 17.1 percent of the total for exported broiler products during 2023 and up 5.8 percent from 2022, but with a 2.6 percent decline in unit price to $1,124 per metric ton. During December 2023 volume was up 0.6 percent to 61,487 metric tons with value up 21.8 percent to $73.0 million with a 30.7 percent increase in unit price to $1,187 per metric ton.

 

During 2023 exports of all broiler products to China now ranked second by volume were 34.3 percent lower by volume to 405,313 metric tons and 34.2 percent lower by value at $711 million compared to 2022. Volume and value of exports to China represented 11.2 percent and 15.0 percent respectively with an average unit price of $1,754 per metric ton. The U.S. average export price during 2023 excluding China was $1,280, demonstrating the weighting of the unit value of feet on average export value.

The average unit price for all exports to China in 2022 was $1,749 per ton compared with $1,375 per metric ton for all exports, but excluding China, $1,302 per metric ton.

 

During December 2023 exports to China, fifth-ranked by volume and value, were down 0.9 percent in volume to 10,481 metric tons and down 3.7 percent in value to $36.2 million compared to 2022.

 

According to USDA statistics collated by USAPEEC, during 2022 feet accounted for 77.7 percent of volume at 483,538 metric tons, valued at $931 million with a unit price of $1,925 per metric ton. Other broiler products exported to China during 2022 included legs and leg quarters at 17.0 percent of volume with a unit price of $901 per ton. Due to HPAI restrictions monthly volumes of feet have declined by double digits on an annual comparison. The USAPEEC noted that 37 states with 444 of 577 approved plants and cold storage installations were ineligible at some time during the year to export to China. Other products shipped to China including wings and edible giblets comprising 5.3 percent of volume and 5.5 percent of value at a unit price of $2,862 per metric ton.

 

For 2023, 405,313 metric tons of U.S. broiler products were shipped to China, valued at $711,172 with an average unit value of $1,755 per metric ton. A breakdown of product categories and prices was provided by USAPEEC. Paws and feet represented 68.5 percent of volume and 73.1 percent of value with a unit price of $1,871 per metric ton. Legs and leg quarters comprising 22.8 percent of volume and 12.8 percent of value were priced at $990 per metric ton below the $1,302 average for all U.S. exports excluding China. Wings comprised 4.6 percent of volume and 5.7 percent of value with a unit price of $2,190 per metric ton. All other poultry products (including 4 tons of duck meat) amounting to 4.1 percent of volume and 8.4 percent of value attained an average unit price of $3,485 per metric ton

 

During 2023 exports to Hong Kong increased by 169.4 percent in volume to 58,526 metric tons and 143.3 percent in value to $97.8 million. In 2022 and 2023 unit prices were $1,834 and $1,671 per metric ton respectively. Accordingly consignments comprised a high proportion of feet with presumed transshipment to the Mainland as in past years.

 

During 2023 nations gaining in volume compared to the corresponding period in 2022 (with the percentage change indicated) in descending order of volume with ranking indicated by numeral were:-

 

  1. Mexico, (+6%); 3.Taiwan, (+24%); 6, Guatemala, (+9%); 11. Georgia, (+14%); 13. UAE, (+13%) and 14. Hong-Kong, (+167%).

 

Losses during 2023 offset the gains in exports with declines for:-

  1. China, (-34%); 4. Cuba, (-6%); 5. Philippines, (-8%); 7. Canada, (-7%);

 8, Viet-Nam, (-20%); 9.Angola, (-42%) and 17. South Africa, (-20%)

 

TURKEY EXPORTS

 

The volume of turkey meat exported during 2023 increased by 20.2 percent to 221,920 metric tons from 2022 but value fell by 2.0 percent to $620 million compared to 2022. Average unit value was 18.5 percent lower to $2,829 per metric ton. Imports of turkey products are projected to rise to 38,640 metric tons in 2023.

 

During December 2023 volume increased by 42.9 percent to 19,096 metric tons but value was lower by 0.6 percent to $50.2 million. Unit value was down 33.4 percent to $2,522 per metric ton.

 

For the entire year of 2022 export volume declined by 25.6 percent to 184,537 metric tons compared to 2021 and value fell by 3.6 percent to $642 million reflecting a 1.4 percent decrease in unit value to $3,473 per metric ton.

 

Mexico was the leading importer of turkey products during 2023 with 150,810 metric tons representing 67.8 percent of total volume of 221,920 metric tons. Value at $426 million was 67.8 percent of the total with a unit price of $3,285 per metric ton. Volume was 16.1 percent higher but value was 6.9 percent lower than for 2022. Mexico was the leading importer of turkey products in December 2023 with 13,001 metric tons representing 68.0 percent of total volume of 19,096 metric tons. Value of $34.3 million was 68.3 percent of the total of $50.2 million with a unit price of $2,638 per metric ton. This was down a noteworthy 57.5 percent decline from $3,886 per metric ton in December 2022 denoting a shift to lower-priced products.

 

The regions of the Caribbean, East Asia, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa collectively imported 49,590 metric tons of turkey products in 2023 representing 22.4 percent of volume and 22.0 percent of value amounting to $137.2 million. Unit price was $2,017. Regional unit prices per metric ton ranged from $1,341 for East Asia to $1,967 for the Caribbean.

 

During 2023 nations increasing volumes of purchases, albeit over a small base, compared to the corresponding period in 2022 with ranking comprised:-

 

  1. Mexico, (+16%); 2.Canada, (+22%); 3. Jamaica, (+8%); 4. Peru, (+1,358%)

and 5. Leeward-Windward Islands, (+201).

 

PROSPECTS FOR 2024

 

The February 14th 2024 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, updated the projection for 2023 exports of broiler products to 3.302 million metric tons (7,265 million lbs.). This value represents 15.6 percent of the projected production of 21.083 million metric tons (46,383 million lb.) of broiler RTC by the U.S. industry.

 

For 2024 exports of broiler products were forecast at 3.280 million metric tons (7,215 million lbs.), equivalent to 15.4 percent of forecast annual production of 19,771 million metric tons (46,775 million lbs.)

 

Projected export of turkey products in 2023 will be 222,272 metric tons, (489 million lbs.) or 9.0 percent of annual production of 2.480 million metric tons (5,455 million lbs.).

 

For 2024 exports of turkey products were forecast at 234,090 metric tons (515 million lbs.) equivalent to 9.5 percent of forecast annual production of 2.452 million metric tons (5,395 million lbs.)

 

It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey meat products to our USMCA partners amounted to $1,264 million in 2021 and $1,647 million during 2022 and $1,696 in 2023. It will be necessary for all three parties to the USMCA to respect the terms of the agreement since punitive action against Mexico or Canada on issues unrelated to poultry products will result in reciprocal action by our trading partners to the possible detriment of U.S. agro-industries.

 

The emergence of H5N1strain avian influenza virus with a Eurasian genome in migratory waterfowl in all four Flyways during 2022 was responsible for sporadic outbreaks of avian influenza in backyard flocks and serious commercial losses in egg-producing complexes and turkey flocks but to a lesser extent in broilers. The probability of outbreaks of HPAI over succeeding weeks appears highly likely through early winter. Incident cases will be a function of shedding by migratory and domestic birds and possibly mammals. The extent of protection of commercial flocks at present relies on intensity and efficiency of biosecurity, representing investment in structural improvements and operational procedures. These measures are apparently inadequate to provide absolute protection.

 

The application of restricted county-wide embargos following the limited and regional cases of HPAI in broilers with restoration of eligibility 28 days after decontamination has supported export volume for the U.S. broiler industry. Exports of turkey products were more constrained with plants processing turkeys in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Iowa impacted. Most nations have now lifted embargos that were previously placed on entire states or counties as the WOAH mandated post-decontamination period has expired. The challenge will be to gain acceptance for vaccination coupled with surveillance. Recognition that H5N1 HPAI is panornitic in distribution across six continents and is now seasonally or regionally endemic in many nations with intensive poultry production, suggests that vaccination will have to be accepted among trading partners as an adjunct to control measures in accordance with WOAH policy.

 

The live-bird market system supplying metropolitan areas, the presence of numerous backyard flocks, fighting cocks and commercial laying hens allowed outside access, potentially in contact with migratory and now some resident bird species, all represent an ongoing danger to the entire U.S. commercial industry. The live-bird segments of U.S. poultry production represent a risk to the export eligibility of the broiler and turkey industries notwithstanding compartmentalization for breeders and regionalization to counties or states for commercial production.


 

Meat Projection February 2024

Updated USDA-ERS Poultry Meat Projection for February 2024

 

On February 14th 2024 the USDA-Economic Research Service released updated production and consumption data with respect to broilers and turkeys, covering 2022 (actual), an updated projection for 2023 and a forecast for 2024.

 

The 2023 projection for broiler production is 46,383 million lbs. (21.083 million metric tons) up 0.4 percent from 2022 and less than a 0.1 percent downward adjustment from the January 2024 report. USDA projected per capita consumption of 99.4 lbs. (45.2 kg.) for 2023, down 0.1 percent from 2022. Exports will attain 7,265 million lbs. (3.302 million metric tons), 0.1 percent below the previous year.

 

The 2024 USDA forecast for broiler production will be 46,775 million lbs. (21.261 million metric tons) up 0.9 percent from 2023 with per capita consumption up 0.7 lb. to 100.1 lbs. (45.5 kg). Exports will be 0.6 percent lower than 2023 to 7,215 million lbs. (3.280 million metric tons) equivalent to 15.4 percent of production.

 

Production values for the broiler and turkey segments of the U.S. poultry meat industry are tabulated below:-

Parameter

2022

(actual)

2023

(projection)

Difference % 2022

to 2023

2024

(forecast)

Broilers

Production (million lbs.)

46,206

46,383

+0.4

46,775

Consumption (lbs. per capita)

98.9

99.4

+0.5

100.1

Exports (million lbs.)

7,290

7,265

 -0.3

7,215

Proportion of production (%)

15.8

15.7

-0.6

15.4

Turkeys

Production (million lbs.)

5,222

5,455

+4.5

5,395

Consumption (lbs. per capita)

14.6

14.8

+1.4

14.8

Exports (million lbs.)

407

 489

+20.2

515

Proportion of production (%)

 7.8

9.0

+15.3

9.6

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released February 14th 2024

 

The February USDA updated projection for the turkey industry in 2023 included annual production of 5,455 million lbs. (2.480 million metric tons), up 4.5 percent from 2022. Consumption in 2023 is projected at 14.8 lbs. (6.7 kg.) per capita, down 1.4 percent from the previous year. Export volume will increase by 20.1 percent in 2023 to 489 million lbs. (222,272 metric tons). Values for production and consumption of RTC turkey in 2023 are considered to be realistic, given year to date data, the prevailing economy, variable weekly poult placements, production levels, freedom from HPAI and inventories.

The 2024 forecast for turkey production will be 5,395 million lbs. (2.452 million metric tons) up 0.1 percent from 2023 with per capita consumption unchanged at 14.8 lbs. (6.7 kg). Exports will be 5.3 percent higher than in 2023 to 515 million lbs. (234,000 metric tons) equivalent to 9.6 percent of production.

 

Export projections do not allow for a breakdown in trade relations with existing major partners including Mexico and China nor the impact of catastrophic diseases including HPAI and vvND in either the U.S. or importing nations

 

The USDA export projection takes into account declining broiler product exports to China. For 2022, China imported 622,099 tons of broiler products valued at $1,087 million including feet at an average unit price of $1,263 per ton. Feet represented 77.8 percent of volume during 2022 (483,538 metric tons) at a unit price of $1,926 per ton. Compared to 2022, exports to China during 2023 were 34 percent lower in volume to 405,343 metric tons and 34 percent lower in value to $711 million.

 

Subscribers are referred to the monthly export report in this edition and update of production data and cold storage inventories of broilers and turkeys respectively posted in each end-of- month edition of CHICK-NEWS with the previous monthly data under the STATISTICS tab.


 

University of California, Davis Establishes Alternative Meat Center

The University of California, Davis is using part of a California legislative grant of $1.7 million to establish the Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein.  The objective of the center will be to evaluate consumer attitudes concerning alternative proteins and to facilitate large-scale commercialization and technological advancement.

 

In this venture UC Davis will collaborate with the University of Maryland, the Culinary Institute of America and various community colleges.

 

It is ironic that a Land Grant university with departments dealing with dairy, ruminant and poultry production has established a Center that has the objective of displacing these segments of the livestock industry.

 

The California Legislature that embraces the need for enhanced sustainability is clearly opposed to intensive production. Their vision is contrary to the realities of providing nutritious and inexpensive protein to consumers. But that is what the Left Coast is about.


 

Boehringer-Ingelheim Launches Vaxxilive® Cocci 3 Vaccine

Boehringer-Ingelheim has announced that Vaxxilive® Cocci 3 will be available for broilers superseding Hatchpak® Cocci III.

 

The vaccine contains precocious Eimeria species that affect broilers.  Precocious strains do not produce the same level of tissue damage as conventional strains as they only undergo one cycle of asexual reproduction (schizogony).  Boehringer-Ingelheim has positioned the vaccine for year-ground use as an alternative to feed additive anticoccidial drugs.

In announcing the launch, Dr. Rick Phillips, Director for Key Account Veterinarians stated, “As with any vaccination, choosing a product is only half the battle.”  He added, “Our experienced and knowledgeable field team provides industry-leading support to producers, regularly visiting them to review vaccination protocols, and to create and maintain comprehensive poultry health programs.”


 

Batista Brothers to Join Pilgrim’s Pride Board

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has announced that brothers Wesley and Joesley Batista will join the Board of the company.

 

The move follows their acquittal on a charge of insider trading alleged by the CVN the authority in Brazil regulating the stock market.  Concurrently the Supreme Court of Brazil has suspended a $2.0 billion fine imposed on the holding company J&F relating to a leniency agreement in 2017.

 

It is the intent of J&F Investimentos, the controlling entity of JBS S.A. to seek a NYSE listing. This has engendered opposition in Congress and also from consumer and investment groups.

 


 

Upside Foods Cancels Illinois Project

In late 2023, Upside Foods announced their intention of establishing a production facility in Glenview, IL. planned to produce 30 million pounds of cell-cultured meat annually.  The plant extending over 187,000 square feet would have cost $140 million and employed 75 workers. Press reports indicate that since 2015 Upside Foods and its predecessor, Memphis Meats attracted $600 million in venture capital support.

 

Following the announcement of the intended production facility, Upside Foods was subject to negative publicity with disclosures that commercial production of cell-cultured meat could not be consistently achieved using large bioreactors installed in the Emeryville, CA plant.  Allegations from existing and ex-employees confirmed failure to scale-up production from laboratory-level plastic roller bottles to bioreactors, in common with many potential producers of cell-cultured meat and poultry.

 

According to Wired, Upside Foods has apparently laid off workers that were to be involved in planning and construction of the Glenview facility and that expansion at Emeryville will now proceed. Upside Foods now claim that problems previously limiting commercial production have been resolved. Given previous hype and misleading statements this will only be confirmed when cell-cultured product appears in supermarket display coolers.

 

Press reports suggest that investment in cell-cultured meat startups and existing operations has undergone a sharp reduction with growing disillusionment of their ability to produce on a commercial scale, in addition to regulatory hurdles, restrictive labeling legislation and indications of potential consumer rejection.


 

USAPEEC Actively Involved in Trade Issues

According to the February 19th edition of USAPEEC MondayLine, the Trade and Technical Services Team has been active in attempting to resolve recent trade issues.  These include an unjustified closure of the market in Columbia, the Certificate of Conformity issued by the Republic of Congo and interpretation of changes in import regulations especially with respect to Mexico.

USAPEEC is also active in arranging and hosting visits by officials of importing nations to evaluate health and food safety procedures in U.S. plants.  A visit during early May is anticipated from the Republic of South Africa that recently rescinded some duties on imported chicken.


 

Theft of Rationed Chicken in Cuba by Plant Workers

Press reports confirm that 30 workers at a plant processing chicken collectively stole 133 metric tons.  The product was intended for distribution in accordance with a State rationing system.  The accused were recorded removing packed chicken from a cold store by surveillance video. Sentences of up to 20 years in prison could be imposed for the crime.

 

During 2023, Cuba was the fourth ranked importer of U.S. broiler products, purchasing 260,582 metric tons, principally as leg quarters, valued at $286 million. Unit price was $1,098 per metric ton compared to an average for all exports amounting to $1,384 per metric ton.


 

Shake Shack Held to Account over “Hormone-Free” Claim

Along with a number of chicken producers and restaurants, Shake Shack has claimed that its chicken is “hormone-free”.

 

Label regulations imposed by USDA require an explanatory statement to the effect that administration of hormones to livestock for food production is disallowed.  It is a matter of fact that the use of stilboestrol implants was banned in the late 1940s.

 

The Shake Shack claim has been challenged by the Accountability Board and has called on Shake Shack to justify the claim that has apparently been condoned by both management and the Board of the Company.  In response, Shake Shack has amended a 2024 proxy statement to state, “No added hormones”.  This is a justifiable statement but is intended to create the impression that chicken served by Shake Shack is in some way superior or more healthy than chicken served by other chains.  This is clearly not the case since no U.S. raised chicken receives any “added hormones”.  The same can be said for the deceptive “cage-free” claim with respect to broilers and turkeys. This claim also implies that competitive brands of chicken might be raised in other than barns or in enclosures with access to pasture.


 

Hall County, NE. Urging Environmental Compliance for JBS Plant

At a public meeting on January 30th the Commissioners of Hall County, NE. heard testimony from residents impacted by frequent air and water contamination emanating from the JBS, Grand Island plant. The meeting included testimony from the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy with documentation of at least one wastewater violation each month over a prolonged period.

 

The Board is responding by addressing a letter to the company urging it to be “more accountable in policies and practices concerning air and water environmental issues.”

 

The Head of Corporate Communications for JBS stated that the company is “working hard to address any potential impacts from the recent wastewater incident at our Grand Island beef production facility.”   A full investigation is underway as to what caused the failure of a lagoon structure leading to the released of two million gallons of effluent into the Wood River, potentially affecting wells and groundwater.

It is apparent that JBS Grand Island plant has a problem with waste disposal and accordingly appropriate investment will be required to prevent further environmental incidents.  The action of Hall County Commissioners by simply writing a letter encouraging compliance would appear inadequate. This as with the 2020 COVID crisis is a further example of the power of a large company responsible for significant employment and contribution to the tax base of a rural county.

 


 

Cargill Settles on Violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act

Cargill has reimbursed suppliers of cattle delivered from August 2021 through March 2022 for inaccurate yield grades. The assessed loss accruing to suppliers amounted to $12.5 million.  In addition, Cargill Meat Solutions will pay a $155,000 civil penalty in a settlement agreement with USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.

 

The consent decree enjoins Cargill from deviating from applicable installed camera-grading standards.

Picture


 

Salmonella Reading Demonstrated to be Vertically Transmitted

Following outbreaks of Salmonella Reading among consumers of ground turkey and related products, widespread distribution of the pathogen was confirmed within the turkey industry.

 

To ascertain whether S. Reading can be transmitted by the vertical route, investigations led by Dr. Li Zhang at Mississippi State University were conducted using either the S. Reading outbreak isolate or an uninvolved strain both modified to exhibit bioluminescence. For convenience in investigating transmission, broiler breeder hens were infected by the intravaginal route.  Seventy percent of eggs were contaminated on the shell surface with the bioluminescent outbreak isolate and 35 percent using a non-implicated S. Reading strain.  Four percent of internal egg contents yielded the outbreak strain and 2 percent the non-outbreak strain.

Of ten broiler breeder hens euthanized, 20 percent of ovaries, 70 percent of oviduct tissue and 70 percent of cecal samples were positive to S. Reading irrespective of whether an outbreak or non-outbreak strain was used as the infective agent.

 

The study clearly indicates that S. Reading in the turkey industry as an epornitic analog of S. Enteritidis in egg production. Accordingly similar approaches to detection and eradication will be necessary applying enhanced structural and operational biosecurity including precautions with insemination, elimination of infected shedders at all generations down to parent level, environmental testing and possibly either vaccination or phage suppression. The only effective post-harvest modality for ground turkey would be electron-beam treatment or bulk Cobalt60 irradiation-effective but limited by public acceptance.

 

The project was funded by the USPOULTRY Foundation as Project #729.

 


 

Sustainability and Child Labor Resolutions Voted Down at Tyson Foods Shareholders Meeting

Resolutions by activist organizations to audit possible child-labor irregularities at Tyson Foods plants and to upgrade sustainability through packaging were both rejected by shareholders at the Annual Meeting on February 9th.

The Board of Directors was reelected and Kate B. Quinn was added to the Board. Among other accomplishments, Ms. Quinn was the Vice-chair and Chief Administration Officer at U.S. Bancorp.


 

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