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.

Grandin to poultry industry: 'Avoid BS welfare standards'

Dr. Temple Grandin said that when it comes to setting welfare guidelines on things like outdoor access, poultry producers should make sure they are set in a way that consumers will recognize and accept.
Dr. Temple Grandin, animal science professor, Colorado State University, says the most important thing regarding outdoor access provisions for poultry is to “have clear guidelines and no BS, a porch half the size of this table is pure BS.”
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Poultry welfare, science basis with consumer approval

Temple Grandin and the chief veterinarian for HSUS both say poultry production practices must pass muster with average consumers.
Like many professionals working either for poultry companies or for industry suppliers, part of my fascination with the poultry industry has been the never ending quest to use every branch of science and technology to make continuous progress in making safer and more affordable poultry products. Anecdotal evidence for improvement is never enough for this industry, everything is put to the test whether in the lab or in field trials; poultry folks require hard data.
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Broiler lawsuit ignores economic reasons for cutbacks

Successful litigation against U.S. egg producers has emboldened law firms to ignore basic economics and to look for collusion to explain higher chicken prices.

A class action antitrust lawsuit charges that U.S. broiler companies conspired to reduce chicken production to cause chicken prices to rise to “unprecedented” levels during the period from 2008-2014. In a press release, a 50 percent increase in chicken prices is what is described as “unprecedented.”


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Avian flu not behind the cage-free egg purchase pledges

Article about Kroger’s decision to launch a co-packed Kroger brand of cage-free eggs misstates who is really behind the cage-free egg purchase pledges.
Kroger is the second largest seller of groceries in the U.S., trailing only Walmart, and when they announced that they were launching Kroger brand cage-free eggs it makes news. At least one popular press article about this announcement really misses the target when trying to explain what is driving Kroger's move.
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Tyson video shows poultry welfare requires training, feedback

Undercover videos are selectively edited, but this one contains a few learning opportunities for poultry companies.
Poultry producers need to rethink the kind of feedback that is given to crews that handle live birds at all stages of their operations and pay particular attention to areas where injury to birds doesn’t result in significant economic loss.
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‘McPicture’ of cage-housed hens not accurate for US

McDonald's may need to better educate its public relations team on what modern cage housing looks like
Because of its size and the high visibility of its brand, McDonald’s has become a target for just about every activist group out there. The resulting public relations smear campaigns have resulted in the fast food giant making several changes in its purchasing practices for items as diverse as eggs, coffee, chicken meat and packaging materials.
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Slow-growing broilers provide welfare goals for growers

Mortality and condemnation rates are at all-time lows for U.S. broiler producers, but so-called slow-growing chicken strains in Europe are doing even better.

Purposely selecting a breed of chickens because it grows slower seems like the least economically “sustainable” business model that I can imagine. But, with the interest Whole Foods has shown in slow-growing chickens here in the U.S. and the successful niche markets for these birds in France, the Netherlands and the U.K, I was really curious about what Claude Toudic with Hubbard France could tell us about these strains of chickens and the market for them in the Europe.


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US consumers still prefer cheaper cage-produced eggs

The big question is how much longer grocery shoppers will have a choice of the type of eggs they buy
With the tsunami of cage-free egg purchase pledge announcements this year, you might think U.S. egg producers would be struggling to meet the surging demand for cage-free eggs, but that isn’t the case.
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The Salmonella conundrum for egg producers continues

FDA director says the percentage of in-house environmental samples that are positive for SE has declined, but the rate of human illnesses attributed to eggs hasn’t improved.
Out of 1,355 FDA inspections of U.S. registered egg farms, only 10 farms received warning letters from the agency, John Sheehan, director, division of dairy, egg and meat safety, CFSAN, FDA, reported.
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