NAEF Calls on Congress

Ken Klippen along with a NAEF supporter from Iowa is meeting with Members of the House and Senate this week (July 19-20, 2017) to discuss a variety of issues confronting egg farmers.  One of those issues includes overturning those state laws that violate the U.S. Constitution commerce clause (Article 1, Section 8, clause 3) that states “Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce….”  Yet California and now Massachusetts have embraced ballot initiatives that call for terminating caged layers for the eggs sold in those states.  That violates what the U.S. Constitution has entrusted to Congress.  Lawsuits by Attorneys General against California have not been successful due to the ruling of California courts.  Efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in have not been successful.  Is it time for Congress to act to protect the powers granted them.  After meeting again with farmers in the Midwest, NAEF will press for such action.


Another issue is the costly procedures of testing for Salmonella under the Egg Rule. Farmers are required to test the environments of their farms. Farmers will use up to 12 single drag swabs being cultured throughout a single building. Pooling the samples will help reduce the cost to farmers and as shown in the 2015 research article (published in Avian Diseases 59:548-553) entitled “Validation of Single and Pooled Manure Drag Swabs for the Detection of Salmonella Serovar Enteritids in Commercial Poultry Houses” by Dr. H. Kinde et.al., California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, School of Veterinary Medicine, San Bernardino, CA. This study showed there is no significant difference between the sensitivity of environmental sampling of four-swab pooled together using the National Poultry Improvement Plan culture method compared to the single swabs analyzed by FDA’s method, but the costs are significantly less.



On July 19 appointments are with IA Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Also IA Senator Joni Ernst (also on the Senate Agriculture Committee) will meet with NAEF officials that same day.  The next day, NAEF has appointments with Rep. Steve King (IA-4th) on the House Agriculture Committee and Rep. David Young (IA-3rd) and House Appropriations Committee.  A request to see Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has been made and acknowledged by the Secretary’s office, but we are awaiting confirmation.


Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against Eggs Again in the News

Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against UEP and Certain Egg Farmers Back in the News
A legal notice was sent out July 10th (see below) announcing the opportunity to provide information for submitting claims in connection with previously-approved settlements with the following defendants: United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers (UEP/USEM), National Food Corporation, Midwest Poultry Services, L.P.,  NuCal Foods, Inc., and Hillandale Farms of Pa., Inc. and Hillandale-Gettysburg, L.P. in the price-fixing lawsuit [re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litig., No. 08-md-2002 (E.D. Pa.)].

What is this lawsuit about?          

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants listed above conspired to decrease the supply of eggs which caused the price of eggs to artificially increase and direct purchasers to pay more for Shell Eggs and Egg Products than they would have otherwise paid. Defendants have denied all liability for this conduct and asserted that their conduct was lawful and/or exempt from the antitrust laws, among other defenses.

Who is included in the Litigation Class?

The Litigation Class includes individuals/entities that purchased Shell Eggs in the U.S. directly from Defendants from 9/24/2004 through 12/31/2008. If you exclude yourself, you will not be entitled to share in any future distributions if Plaintiffs obtain money from a trial or future settlements. The deadline to exclude yourself is October 9, 2017.

NAEF Contacts Each of the 37 Senators in Rhode Island on Cage Ban

NAEF Contacts Each of the 37 Senators in Rhode Island on Cage Ban

On June 12th the NAEF wrote to each of the 37 individual Senators in the state of Rhode Island alerting them to a forthcoming companion bill to H6023 calling for the elimination of cages for chickens producing table eggs and urging a “no” vote.  The RI House is expected to pass a revised version of H6023 June 15th after testimony by NAEF and 3 others including the sole cage-layer farmer spoke against the original bill on April 6th showing the misinformation being put forward by HSUS. 


NAEF explained that the basis for this current legislation is not what's best for the chicken or the consumer in Rhode Island as demonstrated by these three lines of evidence 1) will not improve welfare, 2) food safety concerns, 3) cost-benefit and the elimination of choices for the consumers.  This email will outline why the last remaining Rhode Island egg farmer who produces eggs from caged chickens along with the National Association of Egg Farmers opposes a legislative mandate that all eggs sold in Rhode Island must be from cage-free chickens.

1. Cage-Free Will Not Improve Welfare

Chickens establish a pecking order among a population of birds. Farmers learned decades ago that chickens loose on the ground were injuring themselves from pecking. By reducing the colony size in a cage to 6-8 birds, establishing the pecking order is minimized instead of a pecking order being established among thousands of chickens.

New Research Shows More Bone Breakage in Cage-Free

A new research study shows the majority of breast bone damage originates from collisions with perches in cage-free environments. Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, noted the increased bone breakage and reported it at the Egg Industry Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio in April 2017. Dr. Makagon noted the breast bone integrity is increasingly seen as an indicator of animal welfare, those broken bones are associated with increased mortality, reduced egg production and egg quality, and pain for the animal.

2. Food Safety. Penn State researchers have found that eggs from small flocks of chickens (typically cage-free) are more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis as eggs sold in grocery stores, which typically come from larger flocks. The results were published in the September 16, 2016 issue of PSU News:

That conclusion was drawn from a six-month study done last year in Pennsylvania. Researchers from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences collected and tested more than 6,000 eggs from more than 200 selling points across the state for the study.


3. The Cost Benefit Analysis


H6023 and its companion bill in the Senate will also be harmful to consumers and eliminate consumer choice. The costs to produce cage-free would increase the price of eggs more than 90 percent. This is borne out by the document (attached ) comparing egg prices in California (which established a cage density for layers at 116 square inches in implementing its egg production guidelines on January 1, 2015).  This data was reported by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Livestock, Poultry & Grain Market News National Shell Egg Index Price Report (National prices FOB and California delivered). The daily spreads after California enacted their new law were 90 percent higher than the rest of the nation.


 Conclusions. For the reasons established cage-free chickens will not improve the welfare of the chicken, small backyard flocks are more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella, and the increased cost to the consumer, the National Association of Egg Farmers is opposed to H6023 and its companion bill in the Senate.

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