Aug10

Stopping States From Regulating Commerce of Eggs

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) testified before the House Judiciary Committee July 25th and included in his testimony data from NAEF on egg prices in California compared to the rest of the nation. The hearing was to consider HR 2887 entitled "No Regulation without Representation Act of 2017" H.R. 2887, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).  It’s objective is to stop states from adopting laws and regulations that ban the sale of out-of-state products that don’t meet their state’s criteria for production practices.

 

When asked by the staff of Congressional offices during the Capitol Hill visits July 19-20 if NAEF would support this legislation, we said we would, as it would benefit the nation’s egg farmers.  The bill was designed to address the growing problem of states regulating beyond their borders.  This hearing was directed at California's Prop 2 that regulates cage size for laying chickens and gestation stalls for sows as well as the recent ballet initiative that passed in Massachusetts.

 

https://judiciary.house.gov/hearing/no-regulation-without-representation-h-r-2887-growing-problem-states-regulating-beyond-borders/?utm_source=Daybreak&;utm_campaign=c34adcce6f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ac0d35ef7c-c34adcce6f-40888829

 

 

Aug10

USDA Responds to Egg Farmers Request

USDA Responds to Egg Farmers Request

On July 20th NAEF was in the office of the USDA General Counsel Stephen Vaden asking for better reporting and data collection by the State Veterinary Disease Laboratories.  In trying to evaluate how effective the Egg Rule has been [21 CFR part 118 Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Transportation, and Storage (74 FR 33030)] it was discovered that the labs do not report the egg pool samples as coming from eggs being tested. Instead the information is lumped into one general category "poultry".  How can the government assess the effectiveness of the testing being done and paid for by the individual egg farmer when the reporting is so vague?   That was the question posed to the USDA General Counsel, and he agreed and followed with a promise to consult with Kevin Shea, the Administrator of the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, that very day.  USDA's Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jack Shere telephoned days later to say adjustments would be made in the reporting forms to accurately reflect sample results. 

 

Furthermore, Sec. 118.7 (a) of the Egg Rule requires environmental tests of each poultry house.  If any environmental sample tests positive, Sec. 118.8 requires four 1,000 egg samples tested at 2-week intervals for a total 4,000 eggs. NAEF showed the General Counsel the results from the Iowa State University VDL showing that Salmonella- positive environmental samples do not necessarily translate into contaminated eggs. After testing over 685,000 shell eggs from the summer of 2010 until March of 2016, ISU VDL has found only one positive egg pool, which was during the 2010 national recall. 

 

NAEF informed USDA that it had urged Congress in meetings on July 19-20 to test pooled samples from environmental drag swabs instead of the individual swabs currently required by FDA.   Pooled samples would reduce the financial burden on egg farmers. This is consistent with 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.  NAEF has not yet heard back from FDA on this suggested improvement and cost-reducing measure to save testing expenses for the nation’s egg farmers.On July 20th NAEF was in the office of the USDA General Counsel Stephen Vaden asking for better reporting and data collection by the State Veterinary Disease Laboratories.  In trying to evaluate how effective the Egg Rule has been [21 CFR part 118 Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Transportation, and Storage (74 FR 33030)] it was discovered that the labs do not report the egg pool samples as coming from eggs being tested. Instead the information is lumped into one general category "poultry".  How can the government assess the effectiveness of the testing being done and paid for by the individual egg farmer when the reporting is so vague?   That was the question posed to the USDA General Counsel, and he agreed and followed with a promise to consult with Kevin Shea, the Administrator of the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, that very day.  USDA's Chief Veterinarian Dr. Jack Shere telephoned days later to say adjustments would be made in the reporting forms to accurately reflect sample results. 

 

Furthermore, Sec. 118.7 (a) of the Egg Rule requires environmental tests of each poultry house.  If any environmental sample tests positive, Sec. 118.8 requires four 1,000 egg samples tested at 2-week intervals for a total 4,000 eggs. NAEF showed the General Counsel the results from the Iowa State University VDL showing that Salmonella- positive environmental samples do not necessarily translate into contaminated eggs. After testing over 685,000 shell eggs from the summer of 2010 until March of 2016, ISU VDL has found only one positive egg pool, which was during the 2010 national recall. 

 

NAEF informed USDA that it had urged Congress in meetings on July 19-20 to test pooled samples from environmental drag swabs instead of the individual swabs currently required by FDA.   Pooled samples would reduce the financial burden on egg farmers. This is consistent with 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.  NAEF has not yet heard back from FDA on this suggested improvement and cost-reducing measure to save testing expenses for the nation’s egg farmers.

Aug10

Animal Rights Not on the Menu at Local Diners

Animal Rights Not on the Menu at Local Diners

On July 31, WATT Global noted that many restaurants are not seeing their customers ask for cage free eggs.  Why then are many in the egg industry pushing for cage-free? Here’s what was reported.

 

http://www.wattagnet.com/blogs/27-animal-agribusiness-angle/post/31475-animal-rights-issues-not-on-the-menu-at-local-diners

 

National chains say customer demand for better animal welfare practices have led to changes, but mom and pop restaurants aren’t saying that. Typically, these restaurant chains have made announcements of the pledges, and those announcements typically tend to say they are because of consumer demand. Justifiably so, there has been some skepticism about this and it has more to do with activist pressure and a matter of not wanting to be painted in an unfavorable light. The fact that cage-free eggs aren’t selling as quickly in grocery stores as lower-priced cage-produced eggs alone gives credibility to the skeptics.  If customers are truly concerned about cage-free eggs and other activist-supported food trends, they will let that be known as well.

And wouldn’t you know it, I haven’t seen a single report of how an establishment like “Marvin’s BBQ Hut in Beatrice, Nebraska,” has pledged to only serve chicken from slower-growing broilers. Maybe that’s because Marvin is off the radar of animal rights extremists and he truly knows the wishes of his customers.

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