Impressions from the 2019 IPPE


By any measure the 2019 IPPE was a success. Preliminary figures indicate an attendance of just over 30,000 with 1,400 exhibitors and 600,000 square feet over three halls of the GWCC. The organization by USPOULTRY for the exhibition, Poultry Science Forum and ancillary educational and social events was exemplary, contributing to efficient and congenial exchange of information and fellowship, especially with clustering of related products among the three halls.

This said, there were some overhangs influencing mood and optimism:

  • The first was the possibility of a partial Federal shutdown. Fortunately the matter was resolved on Thursday night with a Congressional compromise and a Presidential promise to sign the appropriations Bill.

  • Our ongoing trade dispute with China, withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Agreement, concern over adoption of the USMCA to replace NAFTA and even uncertainties over Brexit were important considerations relating to our industry. From official comments after the IPPE it appears that negotiations with China are progressing and the March 1st deadline to ratchet up the tariff on imports from that nation will be extended.

  • Low prices were uppermost on the minds of both integrators and individual farmers. Profitability in all three segments of the U.S. poultry industry is currently depressed due to an imbalance between supply and demand. Easter consumption is soon to commence hopefully providing relief.

  • The current political climate, both national and international is a source of uncertainty, promoting a reluctance to expand and invest in physical plant and equipment. Additional unknowns affecting the U.S. egg-production industry relate to the types of housing that will be mandated by individual states and what will be accepted by major QSRs and supermarket chains. Attendance at the UEP Welfare Meeting on Monday attests to the concern of producers.

With respect to equipment and installations there were some evident trends and innovations that will become evident in the immediate future:

  • Aviaries will be the preferred system to replace conventional cages. All the U.S. and EU manufacturers displayed models comprising three tiers with top and bottom tiers for perching and feeding and the center comprising a continuous communal nest with either center or side egg collection.

  • Given a consensus among producers that by 2025 at least 30 percent of hens will still be confined to either conventional cages or colony modules it can be expected that many "enrichable" systems installed during the late 2000s in anticipation of the Egg Bill will be converted to enrichment by installation of enhancements and removal of partitions.

  • Grading equipment is becoming faster achieving 700 cases per hour but with greater complexity in response to industry needs. Both major manufacturers showed modifications to reject eggs with soiled shells to avoid cross contamination through the brush rollers.

  • Although antibiotic administration has never been a common practice among the egg segment of the poultry industry, the range of probiotic, prebiotic and botanical supplements developed for broilers and turkeys will have application to pullet rearing and even egg production.

  • Improvement in vaccine technology is paralleling an increased emphasis on biosecurity. A major manufacturer will soon release a bivalent IBD and ILT recombinant HVT vector vaccine with the possibility of adding ND in the near future. An entrant to the field will soon be distributing a live attenuated Salmonella product providing producers with greater choice and security.

In recent years the major manufacturers of equipment and installations for egg production have attended the IPPE as exhibitors on alternate years. It is hoped that the response demonstrated at the 2018 IPPE will encourage annual attendance, given the rate of technical innovation and the dynamics of our industry.


Egg Industry News

Export of Shell Eggs and Products January-November 2018.


USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-November 2018 with the corresponding period in 2017:-


Jan.-Nov. 2017

Jan.-Nov. 2018


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



-2.5 (-2.2%)

Value ($ million)



+5.9 (+5.2%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



+0.07 (+6.9%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



-11,552 (-28.5%)

Value ($ million)



-7.2 (-6.6%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



+826 (+30.7%)





USDA-WASDE FORECAST #585 February 8th 2019



The February 8th 2018 USDA WASDE projections for the 2019 corn and soybean harvests are based on historical yield and harvest data. The corn acreage to be harvested was determined from planting intentions to be 81.7 million acres (81.8 million in 2018). In 2019 soybeans will be harvested from 88.1 million acres (88.3 million acres in 2018).

The USDA projected corn yield to attain 176.4 bushels per acre, (178.9 bushels in 2017). Soybean yield was projected at 51.6 bushels per acre (52.1 bushels in 2018).

The February USDA projection of ending stock for corn was reduced by 2.6 percent to 1,735 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans will be 4.7 percent lower at 910 million bushels with minimal effect on CME price quotations subsequent to the noon release of the February WASDE.

It is emphasized that projections are based on the presumption of at least a partial settlement of the trade dispute with China with restoration of exports to that Nation.


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, February 14th 2019.

  • Hen Numbers in Production up 0.1 million to 328.5 million from February 7th.
  • Shell Inventory up 7.7 Percent from Previous Week.
  • USDA Midwest Benchmark Generic Prices for Extra Large and Large down by 13.7 and 13.8 Percent respectively. Mediums down by 15.5 Percent Compared to Past Week.



According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on February 11th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large were lower by 13.7 and 13.8 percent and Mediums were down 15.5 percent compared to the past week. The progression of prices during 2018 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The February 11th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 66: No. 06) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.33 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending February 6th. This price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.23 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.41 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 15 cents per dozen below the three-year average and 55 cents per dozen below the corresponding week in 2018 which was exceptional.


APHIS and CADFA Impose Quarantines in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties


Faced with an escalating incidence of vvNewcastle disease in the two counties, authorities have imposed quarantines on all backyard exhibition chickens (a consistently applied euphemism for fighting cocks) in the localities of Muscovy, Ontario, Mira Loma and Perris.  In terms of the quarantine owners must hold, and isolate their flocks on the current premises.  Given the nature of the birds concerned and taking into account the attitude of their owners, enforcing the regulation may be less than successful. 


It is noted that an individual outbreak occurred in Utah County, UT., attributed to illegal movement of fighting cocks from Southern California.


As of February 7th, 2019 there have been 363 cases of vvNewcastle disease among three Southern California counties plus one case in Ventura County.  One pullet flock and four commercial laying flocks have been infected with the disease which must now be considered endemic among non-commercial backyard and fighting cock flocks.  This reality should guide appropriate action by the authorities.  Persistence of infection since May 2018 suggests that it is only a matter of time before the infection extends from the three-county locality northward to higher concentrations of commercial poultry.  Implications for enhanced biosecurity are self-evident.


Aspects of Clean Water Act may be Reviewed by SCOTUS


The Solicitor General has filed a brief advocating that the Supreme Court should hear County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Foundation.

At issue is whether pollutants if released from a point source are subject to the jurisdiction of EPA which applies the Clean Water Act. At issue is the potential for contaminants to percolate to groundwater and end up in navigable water.

The Court has yet to announce that it will hear cases relating to the Clean Water Act this term.


AEB Efforts to Promote Eggs in School Meals Progressing


The American Egg Board has achieved breakthroughs in a number of schools that are now serving eggs as menu items.

  • The Griffin-Spaulding County School System in Georgia is serving a salad with hard-boiled egg wedges.

  • The Cobb County School System in Georgia is serving a Cobb salad.

  • Poudre Schools in Colorado have included hard-boiled egg in salads together with spinach, apple and cheese.

Obviously introducing elementary and high school students to eggs generates product loyalty that hopefully will continue to influence food choices through university and home life.


Dispute over Smithfield Environmental Penalty


In terms of a 2000 agreement between Smithfield Foods and the Attorney General of North Carolina, the Company has paid $2 million annually as a penalty for soil and water contamination and will continue to do so until 2025. Funds have been disbursed to state agencies and organizations for environmental remediation.

The New Hanover County School Board has sued the State claiming that civil penalties should be diverted to school boards. A trial judge dismissed an early lawsuit and the current Attorney- General, Josh Stein has requested the State Supreme Court to rule on the issue.


Oregon Courts Reject Legal Status of Horse


EGG-NEWS has previously commented on repeated lawsuits brought by animal-rights activist on behalf of non-human primates to establish legal status. All have been rejected.

A new lawsuit in Oregon brought on behalf of a horse was similarly rejected by Washington County Judge John Knowles stating that "non-human animals are incapable of accepting legal responsibilities".

It is evident that if a horse or any other domestic animal is afforded legal status, lawyers will be suing on their behalf creating a deluge of litigation which would incapacitate the livestock industry.


Salmonella Outbreak From Cake Mix Now Over


In a January 31st update, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the limited outbreak of Salmonella Agbeni has ended. On November 7th, an investigation was initiated following diagnosis of seven cases in six states. Salmonella Agbeni was isolated from patients and was matched by whole genome sequencing to a specimen obtained from a sample of Duncan Hines cake mix. Conagra Brands initiated a voluntary recall. An epidemiologic investigation failed to yield the causal organism from the environment of the plant and there was insignificant epidemiologic trace-back information available from the limited number of cases.

The specific case illustrates that database systems operated by CDC can detect a multi-state outbreak involving less than 10 patients. Whole genome sequencing can be used to confirm the relatedness of isolates from patients and can correlate infection with a source providing that the pathogen is present in the environment of a processing facility or in product.


Trader Joe’s Ending New York Grocery Delivery


Contrary to the trend in convenience involving click-and-collect and home delivery, Trader Joe's will end a program offering local delivery in the New York area. After ten years, the company has decided that the service is too expensive. Company spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel commented "Instead of passing along unsustainable cost increases to our customers, ceasing deliveries will allow us to continue offering outstanding values and quality products for great everyday prices to make better use of valuable space in our stores."

In contrast to the Trader Joe's decision, Walmart will extend grocery delivery from 1,600 locations and curbside pickup from 3,100 locations by the end of 2020. This initiative is to compete with the Amazon-Whole Foods Market combination.

Dow Jones estimates that online grocery sales in the U.S. attained $24 billion in 2018 and may treble by 2025.


Midwest Poultry Federation Convention March 12-14th Minneapolis



Chipotle Appoints VP of Food Safety


According to a January 31st press release, Chipotle Mexican Grill has appointed Ms. Kerry Bridges as the Vice President of Food Safety. Bridges was formerly the Senior Director of Supplier Food Safety for Walmart for over five years. Ms. Bridges has also worked for Jack In The Box, noted for quality assurance.

Ms. Bridges replaces Dr. James Marsden, who retired in October 2018. Dr. Marsden previously affiliated with academia and a leader in his field was brought into the company to resolve problems relating to food safety practices in 2016 at a time when the future of the company was in question. It is hoped that Ms. Bridges will build on the foundation created by Dr. Marsden.


Recall of Fruit from Chile


The FDA has issued a recall notice for approximately 3,000 cartons of fresh peaches, nectarines and plums imported from Chile. The fruit was distributed to retailers including Aldi, Costco, Fairway Market and Walmart in 18 states. Routine sampling yielded Listeria and an investigation has been initiated by the importer JAC.Vandenberg, Inc.

This company imports and distributed over 12 million cartons of fresh produce annually from 11 nations.

There are no reports of illness associated with this recall. Preemptive assay of imported food products after arrival in the U.S. is a valuable precaution contributing to both public health and the image and integrity of the company concerned. The FDA apparently only conducts organoleptic examination of less than two percent of imported food. Accordingly it is now the responsibility of importers to conduct microbiological and toxicological monitoring to ensure wholesomeness.


FDA To Strengthen Public Warnings On Voluntary Recalls


Voluntary recalls are implemented by companies in collaboration with their partners in the supply chain with the objective of removing product from shelves as quickly as possible.

The FDA is concerned that additional warnings are required to protect consumers. Following a January 2018 announcement, the FDA issued a draft guidance document requiring companies to disclose retail information on recalled products. A guidance was issued on mandatory recall of foods was finalized in November 2018. On February 7th, the FDA released the Final Rule issued under 21CFR Part 7 describing when the FDA would issue a public warning and describes the general timeframe for companies to issue their own warning including content. The FDA will monitor recalls in accordance with an Enforcement Report.

During the past 12 months, the FDA has issued warnings relating to Kellogg's Honey Smacks, romaine lettuce and certain drugs including Angiotensin II receptor blockers.During fiscal 2018, there were 7,420 recalls with 831 classified as high risk.

It is anticipated that the application of advanced technology including whole genome sequencing will allow state and federal health officials to detect foodborne disease outbreaks, match them to a product or facility and trace contamination to source.

In the accompanying comments, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb noted "I remain committed to investing in the FDA recall and outbreak programs, building on our successes and applying the FDA leadership and expertise to protect American families and keep our nation safe."


Kroger Extends Home Chef Meal Kits


Kroger is now making available Home Chef Meal Kits in 500 Kroger stores and an additional six banners by early March. Home Chef has introduced the Customize It line allowing changes and upgrades among ingredients to provide flexibility. Home Chef Express meal kits will also be available at 65 Walgreens stores in the Chicago area.

Robert Clark, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at Kroger noted "We continue to redefine the customer experience and provide new ways to shop for prepared and cooked meals through brick-and-mortar and digital experiences." Pat Vihtelic, founder and CEO of Home Chef stated "We are proud to continue our evolution towards becoming more than a meal kit delivery brand." He added "With continued innovation, personalization we are providing customers with more ways to enjoy fresh, delicious meals that align with their individual tastes."


Additional Value from Egg Yolk Required


The American Egg Board has circulated a review by X. Huang Dong and U. Ahn regarding the potential to derive added value from egg yolk. This approach is necessary based on the imbalance between relative demand for egg white and whole egg that has created a surplus of yolk. The authors recommend separation of functional proteins and lipids from yolk to be used as functional components of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and cosmetics. Following development of potential applications, it will be necessary to scale up production from pilot studies to commercial use.

For the week ending February 8th, the price for dried whole egg ranged from $2.60 to $2.75 per pound with a similar value for yolk. In contrast, spray-dried white ranged from $4.70 to $4.90 with blends at $2.75 to $2.80.

At the end of December 2018, USDA reported a dried egg inventory of 14.9 million pounds equivalent to slightly less than 5-weeks current production. Low shell egg prices divert non-contracted eggs and shell eggs from companies with both packing and breaking capability into egg liquid.


Vegans Implacable in Refusal to Consume Insect-Derived Protein


A study conducted in Finland on attitudes towards consumption of insect-derived protein among vegans, non-vegan vegetarians and omnivores demonstrated a negative attitude and low willingness to consume insect protein among vegans. Among the group of 567 surveyed, 74 percent were omnivores, non-vegan vegetarians 22 percent and vegans comprised 5 percent of those surveyed.

The vegan demographic held that consumption of insects was "irresponsible and immoral" confirming a weak intention and negative attitudes toward insect protein. In contrast, non-vegan vegetarians demonstrated positive attitudes towards eating insects considering the environmental benefits of insect-derived protein.

Although there has been considerable work on production of insects including fly larvae, crickets and beetles specifically for animal feed, there are profound questions regarding both the commercial acceptability of insect-derived protein and regulatory restraints involving health safety and labeling. It is possible that proteins derived from insect propagation might be incorporated in further-processed foods on the basis of amino acid contribution or functional properties. It is most probable that insect protein, if financially competitive with synthetic amino acids, would be used animal feeds and not human food.


Eggland’s Best Receives Woman’s Choice Award.


For the 5th consecutive year, Eggland's Best shell eggs were named America's Most Recommended Eggs through the Women's Choice Award®. EB Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs also received this honor for the 2 nd consecutive year.


"Being voted the most recommended egg brand by women across America five years in a row is an incredible feat," said CEO and Founder of the Women's Choice Award® Delia Passi. "Women account for 93 percent of all food purchases, and having their stamp of approval only reaffirms the Eggland's Best brand's commitment to providing a product with the best quality, freshness, variety, taste and nutrition."

The Women's Choice Award® seal helps women make smart choices for themselves and their families based on the experiences and recommendations of women across the nation.


Egg Industry Issues Forum WILL Take Place in April


A malicious hack of the Egg Industry Center list server resulted in a spurious message stating that the 2019 Egg industry Forum had been cancelled. The event will take place and the following release is posted to support the EIC:-

The 2019 Egg Industry Issues Forum is scheduled for April 16-17 in Kansas City, Missouri. Held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel, the event will discuss the considerations of outcomes-based vs. research-based standards, labor needs, Prop 12 and cage-free economic implications and more. Research presentations will focus on the results from studies conducted on Focal Duodenal Necrosis disease, poultry manure application, cage-free housing, and egg quality in aged hens. Before and after the Forum, attendees will have the opportunity to attend free in-depth workshops on connecting with consumers and ventilation management.

For additional information or registration access




Prospects for Passage of USMCA?


Despite the publicity accorded the signing ceremony for the USMCA during the G-20 Summit, none of the three nations involved have presented the Agreement to their respective legislatures for ratification. Given the composition of the House, prospects for passage without changes and concessions appear dim. In the event that Congress does not approve the USMCA, the White House has threatened to unilaterally withdraw from NAFTA.

In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal expressed the view that prominent legislators including Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH) consider that the USMCA provides insufficient protection for U.S. workers. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer pushed for higher wages for a proportion of workers in Mexico producing automobiles for the U.S. market. This was intended to placate Democratic members of the House and Senate who have since become emboldened to oppose the USMCA.

The conservative credentials of The Wall Street Journal are without question as a pro-business publication. They characterize a unilateral withdrawal from NAFTA as "political suicide" for the party in power unless there are sufficient votes to ratify USMCA.

CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS have consistently stressed the importance of exports to both Canada and Mexico, without which prices and hence profitability of poultry would be eroded in the domestic market resulting in curtailed production and shuttered plants. As with many contentious issues which have surfaced in the past two years, it is hoped that reason will prevail and that a workable compromise will emerge. This will contribute to harmonious relations with our northern and southern neighbors to the benefit of the agricultural sector and specifically egg, turkey and broiler production.


Sponsored Announcements

Innovative Plastic Container Offers Advantages over Cardboard.


On February 11th Tosca, an Atlanta-based manufacturer of reusable packaging and supply chain applications for perishables, announced today the results of a time and motion study for eggs. Advantage Consulting, a third-party industrial engineering firm, was commissioned by Tosca to conduct the study to evaluate the impact of outer packaging on store labor. The study compared the time required to stock and manage egg displays in a grocery store using traditional one-way corrugated shipping boxes compared to the Tosca's Reusable Plastic Container (RPC). The study was conducted in regional grocery stores in the Midwest during 2018. Over two separate one-week periods an engineer traveled to selected representative stores and recorded the time required to stock and rotate eggs in a display cooler. The first week considered traditional corrugated shipping boxes and the second week reusable plastic containers (RPCs) were used.

The comparison analyzed the multi-step process in the egg section of the dairy department comprising pulling egg cases from the cooler, stocking and rotating cartons, disposing of packaging and removing damaged eggs.

Findings from the study were:-

  • It takes less than half the time to stock an egg display using retail-ready RPCs compared to corrugated cartons. On average, in an 8-foot display case, RPCs stock and rotate product in 10 minutes versus 21 minutes for corrugated packaging.
  • Taking advantage of timesaving RPCs, retailers could achieve a 53 percent reduction in labor to manage the egg category.
  • Using RPCs, each store will save 56 hours of labor annually that can be reallocated to other tasks.

The study found that when using corrugated cartons, transfer to the display case significantly impacts stocking time by 35 percent. Rotation of product may also increase in stocking time by 24 percent.

With Tosca's retail-ready solution, eggs can be displayed directly in a custom designed RPC, eliminating the time-consuming tasks of removing, stacking, and rotating egg cartons. Tosca's unique one-step SmartWall TM design simplifies restocking and saves labor by allowing employees to place the container directly in the case and drop the front wall for display in one easy motion.

"We know that retailers are looking for a better way to identify cost and labor savings, improve supply chain efficiency and protect the product quality of perishables," said Eric Frank, president and CEO of Tosca. "This study helps validate that there is a better way to move eggs safely and efficiently from source to shelf. RPCs not only are easier and faster to stock but also help reduce shrink by offering the best protection available for fragile eggs."

Tosca (www.toscaltd.com) is a leading provider of reusable packaging and supply chain solutions across a diverse range of markets including eggs, case-ready meat, poultry, produce, and cheese. The proven RPC system is a more efficient way to move fresh product safely from plant to shelf, substantially reducing breakage and labor cost, maintaining product quality, and optimizing overall supply chain efficiency for packers and retailers.

For additional information access < www.toscaltd.com>


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Dr. Simon M. Shane
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