Eggs, cholesterol and CVD—Here we go again!


A recent publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association* has resurrected concern over elevated dietary intake of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease (CVD). In recent years, expressing the words of Dr. Robert Eckel, Editor of JAVMA "the association of egg consumption and dietary cholesterol with CVD, although debated for decades, has been thought to be less important."

The article by Zhong and colleagues affiliated with the Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine associates elevated cholesterol intake and hence eggs with a higher incidence of CVD in an analysis based on 29,615 subjects from six prospective studies followed for 17.5 years. The population comprised 45 percent men and included 31 percent blacks. Cardiovascular outcomes included stroke, fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarctions and heart failure. All-cause mortality was compared to CV events. The study adjusted for potentially confounding demographic, socioeconomic and behavioral factors including smoking.

The study concluded that each additional daily 300mg/day intake of cholesterol (say 1.8 large eggs) was associated with a significantly elevated risk (at the 95 percent level of confidence level) of incident CVD, assigning a calculated Hazard Ratio of 1.17. Consumption of one egg every two days was associated with a significantly elevated risk of CVD outcomes with a Hazard Ratio of 1.06. The association between egg consumption and incident CVD was not significant after adjusting for dietary cholesterol consumption.

The authors suggested that the results of their study, associating eggs in the incidence rate of CVD, should be considered in developing dietary guidelines. Although implicating egg consumption the observational study was not able to distinguish between the statistically derived association and actual causation.

It is apparent that in succeeding weeks the Egg Nutrition Center and their consultants in epidemiology will have to evaluate the peer-reviewed article. Dr. Mickey Rubin, quoted in the The Wall Street Journal of March 16th said "this study is inconsistent with multiple recent studies showing no association between eggs and heart disease risk". He will have his work cut out to refute the findings and to promote the nutritional benefits of eggs.

Given the accumulation of scientific evidence contrary to the conclusions of the study there should not be any adverse effect on consumption that has recorded only incremental expansion over the past four years. The danger is that activists opposed to intensive livestock production including vegans, environmentalists and proponents of animal rights will distort and amplify the findings using social media.

If we did not have the AEB and the ENC these entities would have had to be invented. Since we are fortunate to benefit from their resources they are worthy of industry support.

*Zhong,V. W. et al. Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality. JAMA. 321:1081-1095 (2019).


Egg Industry News

Updated USDA Projections for 2018 and 2019 U.S. Egg Production


The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated forecast of egg production on March 14th, following the previous February 14 th report, the first since the Federal shutdown. The volume of eggs produced and per capita consumption in 2019 were increased by 2.6 and 1.1 percent respectively compared to revised 2018 data. Consistent with this disparity, the benchmark New York price was reduced by 11.6 percent in unit value Production data reflecting 2016 and 2017 should be compared to 2015, impacted by the Spring outbreak of HPAI in the upper-Midwest. The latest data is reflected in the table below.










2018 2019 Difference %

(actual) (forecast) 2018 to 2019





Production (m. dozen)




7,834 8,040 +1.7%


Consumption (eggs per capita)




278.8 281.9 +1.1%

New York price (c/doz.)




138 122 -11.6%


Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook -March14th 2019

*Impacted by Spring 2015 HPAI outbreaks. Consumption in 2014, 267 eggs per capita

Subscribers to EGG-NEWS are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices and related industry statistics.




The following quotations for the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 13H00 on Friday March 15th together with values for the reference months in parentheses. The market showed a rise in the futures prices of corn, soybeans and soybean meal for May delivery compared to the previous week.



Corn (cents per bushel)

May 371 (363)

July 381

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

May 907 (910)

July 920

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

May 310 (307)

July 314

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


Corn: May quotation up 8 cents per Bu          (+2.2percent)

Soybeans: May quotation up 3 cents per Bu   (+0.3 percent)

Soybean Meal: May quotation up $3 per ton   (+0.1 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


The market has now factored in decreased production in Brazil and Argentine.

There is increasing optimism concerning the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between China and the U.S. The extension of the March 31 st deadline to raise tariffs from ten percent to twenty-five percent on over $200 billion in annual imports from China is now a reality. In return China has agreed to purchase an unspecified quantity of agricultural commodities in addition to energy and heavy equipment from the U.S. to offset the negative balance of payments. The USDA announced on January 7th that orders have been placed for a total of 4.5 million tons to be shipped before September 2019. China has hinted at a six-year agreement to purchase soybeans mainly due to concern over continuity of supplies due to drought in Brazil. Negotiations are apparently in progress as denoted by shuttles between Beijing and Washington but without any disclosure of specifics. Markets are now cautiously responding to conflicting reports from the Administration but prices will be influenced subsequently by area planted and crop progress.

According to the March 8th 2018 WASDE Report #585, (the first issued after the December 24th 2018 Federal Shutdown), 81.7 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2019 to produce 14.42 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.54 Billion bushels from 88.1 million acres harvested. The levels of production for the two commodities are based on preliminary pre-planting projections of yield and acreage to be planted. Ending stocks were revised based on anticipated domestic use and exports.

See the WASDE posting summarizing the March 8th USDA-WASDE Report #586 under the STATISTICS tab documenting price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced, used and exported from the 2019 harvest.

Unless shipments of corn and soybeans to China resume in volume, as projected, the financial future for row-crop farmers appears bleak despite the release of two tranches amounting to $8 billion as “short-term” compensation for producers of commodities. Eligible soybean farmers received $1.61 per bushel. Corn 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. Oversupply of ethanol with the current 10 percent addition (read BTU dilution) mandate is evident from the March 15th spot price of $1.38 per gallon that has not changed materially in six weeks compared with a peak in late March 2018 at $1.60. Exports have been constrained by the retaliatory tariffs imposed by China on U.S. ethanol. Some refiners are reducing production and mothballing corn-fermentation plants. Corn farmers can be relieved that optimistic and unfounded projections of cellulosic ethanol after 2017 have not materialized based on technical complications and financial infeasibility.

The loss inflicted on farmers by the trade war with China is a gain for livestock producers who will benefit from lower feed costs. It must be recognized that the hog and poultry industries have experienced higher costs for more than a decade as a result of the RFS, a gift that keeps on giving. The mandate 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.


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, March 21st 2019.


  • Hen Numbers in Production Stable from Previous Week at 323.0 million.
  • Shell Inventory Up a Substantial 6.4 Percent from Previous Week.
  • USDA Midwest Benchmark Generic Prices for Extra Large, Large and Medium Unchanged Compared to Past Week.
  • Breaking Stock Price Continues Way Below Cost of Production



According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on March 11 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large, Large and Mediums were unchanged compared to the past week. The progression of prices during 2019 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The March 18th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 11) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $0.90 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending March 12th and reflects the sharp downturn during the week. This price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $0.82 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the Southeast Region attained $0.95 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 40 cents per dozen below the three-year average and $1.15 cents per dozen below the corresponding week in 2018 which was exceptionally high.


Restaurant Performance Index Lower in January 2019 Compared to Previous Month


The National Restaurant Association reported that the restaurant performance index declined from 101.6 in December to 101.2 in January. Most of the reduction was due to the Current Situation Index that dropped 1.1 percent to 100.7 in January 2019 compared to the previous month. The Expectation Index was higher by 0.3 percent to 101.7 in January.

Restaurant operators reported lower traffic in January that may be attributed to weather but also to the government shutdown. Lower income demographics who either directly rely on government salaries or are paid indirectly as contractors were obviously constraining family expenditure, including eating out.

Although restaurant operators appeared optimistic concerning sales growth in the proximal six-month period, there is general concern over expansion of the economy. Only 20 percent of the responding restaurant operators expected economic conditions to improve within the next six months with 15 percent anticipating a decline. More than half of restaurant operators will make capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling within six months, partly to reduce dependence on low-skilled labor that is becoming progressively more expensive.


PETA Protest Sourcing of Eggs from Mahard Egg Farm


Following an intrusion of an Oklahoma facility owned and operated by Mahard Egg Farm in 2018, the animal right activist organization posted videos of alleged improper handling of hens during flock depletion. According to news reports, the supermarket chain suspended Mahard as a supplier but has since resumed sourcing eggs from the operation following a review. In a PETA press release, the organization stated "Kroger continues to sell eggs from Mahard and has refused an offer of joint visit to its supplier's farms to assess the animals living conditions."

A Kroger spokesperson said "In response to the adverse publicity, Mahard developed a detailed corrective action plan which included re-training of all their employees on proper animal care techniques."

Mahard passed the United Egg Producers audit and has taken appropriate steps to meet the Kroger requirements, and accordingly the chain is purchasing eggs from the operation.


Online Order and Delivery Reshaping Customer Loyalty


A survey conducted by Raymond James suggest that online ordering platforms represent $18 billion in annual takeout-and-delivery in the U.S. Grubhub is the industry leader followed by Uber Eats and DoorDash.

The interposition of online ordering and delivery services between the preparer of food and customer is now influencing choice of restaurants. The question is now whether delivery platforms allow customers to choose their favorite restaurant or whether the ordering andfdelivery service is modifying loyalty.


MOBA Introduces Multi Outlet Innovation to Reduce Contamination.


At the 2019 IPPE, MOBA a leading producer of integrated grading, packaging and processing equipment announced the launch of Multi Outlet. This new system will optimize product flow and lower the risk of cross-contamination. Multi Outlet removes leakers and dirty eggs in the Multi drum before unsoiled eggs pass to the next roller section. This ensures that dirty eggs are removed as early in the process as possible. These eggs are returned to be re-washed by means of a conveyor leading back to the accumulator. The eggs follow a short loop, even with high-capacity machines, and the movement of leaking and dirty eggs is confined to a limited area of the installation. Product flow is optimized and the risk of cross contamination is significantly reduced.

The Multi Outlet ensures that:

  • Eggs from the egg washer are transported on a separate roller section and are subjected to automated camera inspection. Each egg is checked for leaks and dirt.

  • Leakers are rejected before they can come into contact with any other surface and are dropped into a bin and exit from the machine. Some machines are equipped with either an automated auger or pump system to collect soiled eggs.

  • Dirty eggs are removed by plastic flaps that have a gentle action. Unlike brushes, flaps that catch eggs, have a hygienic and easy-to-clean surface without crevices allowing bacteria to multiply.

  • Dirty eggs are transferred to a conveyor that can be connected to a re-wash return conveyor.

  • Clean eggs are then oriented with correct point setting for transfer to a dry roller section. Eggs are then transported to the downstream egg dryer, UV disinfection unit, crack detection unit and the grader.

  • At the end of the production shift, the whole section can be cleaned with a high-pressure water spray. An automated CIP system can also be used to clean and disinfect the two roller sections.

    The Multi Outlet system is now available on PX700 machines.

For further information contact:-

Bill Bretschneider - Product manager

T: +1 (248) 476 7100

E: info.usa@moba.net


AEB Promotes Lutein Content of Eggs


Research suggests that the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs are more bioavailable compared to plant sources.

Lutein content of eggs can be increased to meaningful levels by supplementing diets with additives

containing lutein derived from extraction and concentration of extracts from marigold petals.


Trader Joe’s Reduces Plastic Packaging


In response to consumer requests, Trader Joe's will eliminate single-use of plastic packaging and will replace styrofoam trays with recyclable or biodegradable alternatives. The initiative follows a Green Peace petition signed by 100,000 consumers. A spokesperson for Trader Joe's, Kenya Friend-Daniel stated, "As a neighborhood grocery store we feel it is important for us to be the great neighbor our customers deserve - part of that means better managing our environmental impact."


Eggland’s Best Receives Most Recommended Eggs Awards


For the fifth consecutive year Eggland's Best shell eggs were named America's Most Recommended Egg by the Women's Choice Award®. Eggland's Best hard-cooked peeled eggs also received this distinction for the second consecutive year.

Commenting on the award, Charlie Lanktree, president and CEO stated, "At Eggland's Best we strive to provide the only good egg good enough for women and their families with superior nutrition and taste. We are honored to be recognized for the fifth consecutive year."

The award was featured in the Tuesday March 12th edition of USA Today together with other recipients including Allied Movers, Dominion Energy, the Manpower Group and International Paper.


Advanced Molecular Assays Identifies Source of Infection


A recent publication in Eurosurveillance identified the location at which EU visitors from northern European nations were infected during holiday travel. From 2000 to 2016, incident cases of Salmonella Chester were diagnosed in Norway from citizens traveling to southern Europe, Asia and Africa. Of specific interest were the Mediterranean islands of Rhodes and Cyprus and also Morocco.

Isolates were subjected to multilocus sequence typing and nucleotide polymorphism-based genome mapping. Sequence Type (ST) 411 affecting 17 patients was acquired in southern Europe, ST 1954 was identified in 15 patients who were infected in Africa and ST 343 infected 11 patients travelling to Thailand and Sri Lanka. This epidemiologic study demonstrates the power of molecular assay to identify both geographic location and where available vehicle of infection.

*Sira, L. et al Whole Genome Sequencing of Salmonella Chester Reveals Geographically Distinct Clusters, Norway 2000 - 2016 Euro Surveill 2019: 24: doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917. ES.2019.24.4.1800186


Bayer Loses Second Glyphosate Case


A six-member jury in San Francisco ruled in favor of Plaintiff Edwin Hardeman who alleges that a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma was caused by exposure to glyphosate, the active component of Roundup® manufactured by Monsanto, now owned by Bayer AG.

In the first phase of the trial the jury was tasked with weighing epidemiologic and toxicological evidence advanced by experts on both sides to determine whether the compound was carcinogenic. The second phase will involve an assessment of direct and punitive damages and will consider whether Monsanto "adopted a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup" as quoted by Plaintiff's Attorney Aimee Wagstaff.

Three additional bellwether trials will be heard in Federal courts in the next six months. A total of 11,200 claims have been filed with the exposure of Bayer amounting to $5 billion. As a result of the unexpected verdict, shares of Bayer AG fell by nine percent.

Withdrawal of glyphosate from the agricultural market would adversely impact crop yields and would lead to the use of potentially more toxic herbicides. The planting of GM glyphosate-resistant corn, cotton and soybean cultivars would be sharply reduced and cost of production would escalate.


FDA Issues Guidance and Standards to Contribute to Wholesomeness of Leafy Products


On March 15th the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a rule to finalize compliance dates for agricultural water requirements arising from the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Large farms will be required to comply by January 2022 with small farms one year later.

Contaminated water was identified as a cause of adulteration of Romaine lettuce in two separate outbreaks investigated by the CDC and FDA.

Over the long term, outbreaks of Listeria, Salmonella and E.coli will inevitably arise as a result of contamination along the chain of production and distribution of green vegetables eaten raw in salads. At the present time, the only certain method of eliminating bacterial contamination is the application of electron beam treatment that would add fractionally to cost but would represent a considerable improvement in safety.


Delay in U.S. China Presidential Meeting


The Presidential meeting to finalize the trade agreement between the U.S. and China will be delayed until at least late April according to International Trade. Although progress has been made in resolving trade issues, there is still concern over intransigence by China to amend structural policy including state subsidies for industry, industrial espionage and coercive practices with regard to intellectual property.

U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer emphasized that "major issues" are still unresolved. According to informed observers, officials in China are disinclined to subject President Xi to last minute demands, the embarrassment of a cancelled summit or a walk-away. In a recent statement President Trump noted, "We can have the deal completed and come and sign it or we can get the deal almost completed and negotiate some of the final points. I will prefer that. But it doesn't matter that much."

Herein lies the uncertainty by China according to Dr. Eswar Prasad of Cornell University and an expert on the Chinese economy who stated, "The concern about being snookered by President Trump at the negotiating table is a real risk for Xi."


Campaign to Adopt USMCA Intensifies


During the past week, the Pass the USMCA Coalition, representing trade associations, business and advocacy groups including the USPOULTRY, the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation will be launching TV commercials and digital advertisements to generate support for the USMCA. The first TV ad to run in the Washington DC area promises a "new era of economic and creative prosperity within reach" according to a report in International Trade.

What was originally regarded as a done deal, the USMCA has come under criticism from incoming Democratic freshman to the House together with some Republicans who are defying the presidential call for Congress to support USMCA.

The USMCA must be approved by legislatures of all three signatories to come into effect. The Administration has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA possibly as a tactic to ensure acceptance of the agreement.

The advertisement will claim that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement will level the playing field for workers, consumers and farmers with more free markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth.


Iowa State Dean Appointed


According to an Egg Industry Center circular Dr. Dan Robison has been appointed as the Dean of Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences effective January 2019.

This new appointment is important for the Egg Industry Center (EIC) as in his position he holds a seat on the EIC Advisory Board. In commenting on his involvement with the EIC, Dr. Robinson stated "I am thrilled to be in this role and to become fully engaged with the EIC.

A search committee will be established to recruit and select the next Egg Industry Center Director following the appointment of Dr.ongwei XinH Hongwei Xin as Dean for Agricultural Research at the University of Tennessee.



The Market Value of the “Organic” Image Questioned.


Use of the term "organic" on labels is confined to products grown, reared and processed in accordance with the requirements of the National Organic Program (NOP) administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the USDA. In contrast the term "natural" is not regulated but motivates purchase decisions by 53 percent of consumers in a recent Label Insight survey of 1,000 shoppers.

Other label claims that attract consumers include "antibiotic-free" and "no-preservatives". Apparently the attractiveness of the "clean label" is directly proportional to age.

As with many narrow-focused surveys the results depend on how the questions are framed and the specific knowledge of the product attributes including the definition of any claim and an appreciation of the significance of an additive. Surveys have shown an almost total opposition to inclusion of "dihydroxy oxygen" (water) or DNA (ubiquitous) in food. The Label Insight study apparently made no attempt to consider trade-offs including how much consumers were willing to pay for products free of additives and antibiotics compared to generic alternatives. An obvious case in point is that a high proportion of consumers disfavor confining hens in cages but only a subset of the population are willing to pay a differential for non-confined housing systems including barns and aviaries.

If the NOP and the Organic Trade Association wish to enhance the image and hence volume of sales of USDA-Certified Organic products they will have to develop a brand approach for their category. This will require a check-off program with promotion analogous to the American Egg Board and other statutory commodity groups including milk, beef, and pork.

The fact that any manufacturer can apply the non-defined and vague term "natural" to labels and elicit a positive response suggests that the NOP with a disproportionately regulatory and production orientation, is neglecting promotion and consumer education. This calls into question the value of the USDA Certified Seal that incurs a considerable incremental cost of production. Perhaps in the case of eggs that are by nature "gluten-free" and in the U.S. are produced without "hormones and antibiotics" are in no way inferior with respect to nutritional value or quality than more expensive Certified Organic product with a price differential of up to $1.50 per dozen. There is a small segment among consumers who actively search for the organic label and are willing to pay a premium over generics. That segment appears to be small and static in size as denoted by the fact that hens under the Certified organic program have remained at approximately seven percent of the national shell-egg flock for close to a year.


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