News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.

Food Safety and Processing Perspective

Terrence O’Keefe, WATT’s content director, provides his perspective on everything from animal agriculture trends that impact our food chain to food-safety related issues affecting chicken and egg production. O’Keefe has covered the poultry industry as an editor for more than a decade and also brings his experience in plant management and poultry production to comment on today’s issues.

CSES egg layer housing research answers and raises questions

The initialfindings report for the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply was releasedrecently and it presents preliminary results for some of the measurements takenfrom the two flock study. The research tracts animal well-being, environmental,food safety, worker safety and affordability measurements for eggs produced fromhens housed in conventional cages, enriched colonies and aviaries on acommercial farm. This three year project will provide a comparison of thesethree housing alternatives for hens in these five areas of sustainability usingthe best available science to measure indicators such as ammonia concentrationin the house, feather condition, egg production and a myriad of others.
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Anthropomorphism runs wild in latest Butterball undercover video

About 30 seconds into the latest Mercy for Animals “undercover video” of a Butterball turkey hatchery in Raeford, North Carolina, the narration attempts to draw a contrast between a poult being hatched in a hatchery versus being brooded by the hen.  “When they hatch, turkeys at this Butterball hatchery are roughly separated from their shells. Instead of the warm and comforting touch of their mothers, these baby birds are greeted with cold metal,” the narrator said.
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Broiler industry experts discuss progress to a feed conversion of 1.0

The questionposed to an international group of broiler producers, nutritionists andveterinarians was, “What needs to be done to get broiler feed conversion ratesdown to 1.0?” This question was sparked by a prediction from a Cobb-Vantressgeneticist that by 2050 it would be possible to raise a broiler to 4.4 pounds(2 kilograms) in 19 days with a feed conversion approaching 1.0. Attendees inthe international poultry discussion group at the Alltech Symposium were askedto participate in what was characterized as a “Yale style debate” and offertheir opinions on the subject.
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‘Fed Up’ film takes aim at sugar in processed foods

“Soda is the cigarettes of the 21st century,” according to the documentary film, "Fed Up," and “big sugar” and the soft drink companies are presented as the cause of the “obesity epidemic” that plagues the U.S. and many other parts of the world. I saw this film in its debut weekend and found it a compelling, if one-sided, discussion of the role that the film’s creators believe that added sugar in processed foods is playing in the fattening of America, particularly among children.
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'Farmland' film shows the human face of agriculture

I recently attended the only scheduled North Carolina showing of the documentary film, "Farmland." The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, who provided the financial backing to make the film, certainly got what they wanted: a 75-minute film that puts a human face on several types of farming operations spread out across all regions of the country.
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Are false health, food safety claims behind sales growth of organic foods?

The Organic Marketing Report recently released by Academics Review contains an analysis of more than 200 published academic, industry and government research reports into why consumers adopt organic product purchasing behaviors. The review concludes that:“Research studies clearly show that food safety and health concerns are the primary drivers of consumer organic purchasing. Further, research reveals that other factors, such as sustainability, environmental claims and even organic certification, do not motivate general consumers to purchase organic products in the absence of health risk claims. Research by USDA, the organic industry and independent academic organizations also confirms that the use of the USDA Organic Seal is critical to conveying confidence in organic labeling claims, which the majority of consumers mistakenly believe to mean healthier and safer food products.”
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