Jul12

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.)].
 
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/if-you-purchased-shell-eggs-or-egg-products-produced-in-the-united-states-directly-from-any-producer-you-could-be-a-class-member-in-a-proposed-class-action-settlement-300484820.html&;source=gmail&ust=1499960858073000&usg=AFQjCNGQrMDX9ijBINNuEsTgFskHugRVjQ">http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/if-you-purchased-shell-eggs-or-egg-products-produced-in-the-united-states-directly-from-any-producer-you-could-be-a-class-member-in-a-proposed-class-action-settlement-300484820.html

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.
Jun13

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:
http://news.psu.edu/story/425880/2016/09/14/research/eggs-small-flocks-just-likely-contain-salmonella-enteritidis&;source=gmail&ust=1497475722212000&usg=AFQjCNFb0SSR6CU_rWclch_mDq0L-UapTw">http://news.psu.edu/story/425880/2016/09/14/research/eggs-small-flocks-just-likely-contain-salmonella-enteritidis

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.

May31

Deadline for Reporting Ammonia and Hydrogen Sulfide-Report to EPA is November 14, 2017

In the NAEF Egg Farmers Newsletter sent out Memorial Day (May 29) we reminded all members that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has thrown out a 2008 final rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempting farms from reporting ammonia and hydrogen sulfide when above 100 pounds.

 

All members have been provided a spreadsheet from the Egg Industry Center at Iowa State University that will help you determine your emissions based on your housing style.  In the Memorial Day release of the newsletter, we provided you the phone number of the National Response Center (NRC). Today is the final day to report to the NRC what the spreadsheet has calculated as to your emissions.

 

Why is this happening now?  During rulemaking, the EPA proposed exempting farms from CERCLA and EPCRA reporting air releases from animal waste.  “CERCLA” stands for Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and “EPCRA” for the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

 

The EPA reasoned that requiring reports for animal waste air releases was “unnecessary” because a federal response would usually be “impractical and unlikely.”  They noted that, as of 2007, they had never taken a response action based on animal waste.  During public comment, the EPA expressly requested comments on whether there could be a situation where a response would be triggered due to air release from animal waste on a farm.

In 2008, the EPA finalized the rule.  Soon after the rule was published, the lawsuits started rolling in.  Environmental groups, led by Waterkeeper Alliance, argued that CERCLA and EPCRA do not allow the EPA to exempt anyone from reporting requirements if there are releases over the statutory reportable quantity.  Further, the environmental groups claim that the rule is arbitrary in treating waste on farms differently than similar waste in other places, such as at a zoo or a slaughterhouse, which would not be exempted from reporting.  

 

So now, under CERCLA and EPCRA farmers must notify the National Response Center (NRC) when amounts of certain hazardous materials over a set quantity of 100 pounds are released into the environment. Below is the telephone number.  NAEF called the NRC on May 25th and spoke to the Watch Commander (this is part of the U.S. Coast Guard). The NRC will provide a report number that is then submitted to the EPA in which you have 30 days to submit.

 

Telephone NRC: 1-800-424-8802

1) Identify your report as "Continuous Release"

2) Provide the name and location of the facility

3) Identify the hazardous substance (ammonia and hydrogen sulfide)

4) Give your name and telephone number

5) Within 30 days a written report is required to be filed

(a) https://www.epa.gov/epcra/appendix-b-reporting-requirements-continuous-releases-hazardous-substances

(b) State Emergency Response Commission (https://www.epa.gov/epcra/state-emergency-response-commissions-contacts&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNHJ2iPQt8_46CBQf5xOM7GScOojMw">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/state-emergency-response-commissions-contacts

(c) Local Emergency Planning Committee (https://www.epa.gov/epcra/local-emergency-planning-committees&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNGXBbyda7WtGdRhRO9KnZQpSsTXhw">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/local-emergency-planning-committees)

 

For help in reporting see the following websites (the first one is an updated link for egg farmers to calculate the emissions based on your particular housing for hens and pullets. The other two are from EPA):

 

http://www.eggindustrycenter.org/about-us/news/eic-assists-in-creation-of-emissions-estimator-for-egg-industry/&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNHduPPNu4LRrJMlOSXvuHfppO3CTw">http://www.eggindustrycenter.org/about-us/news/eic-assists-in-creation-of-emissions-estimator-for-egg-industry/

 

https://www.epa.gov/epcra/reporting-requirements-continuous-releases-hazardous-substances-guide-facilities-compliance&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNGSqsAJWHKSceECamJkXCKxMHWHpA">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/reporting-requirements-continuous-releases-hazardous-substances-guide-facilities-compliance

 

https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-continuous-release-reporting%23continuous&;source=gmail&ust=1496333767129000&usg=AFQjCNHlHGoNdvQVtacdEYhprYczrLVwPA">https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-continuous-release-reporting#continuous release reporting

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