chicken

Egg prices spike as bird flu outbreaks reach two-month mark

Americans will not run out of eggs in the ongoing outbreak of bird flu, the worst since 2015, says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Four percent of the U.S. layer flock has died in the two months since the first confirmation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) on Feb. 8.

Bird flu toll leaps to 2.8 million chickens and turkeys

With new outbreaks in Iowa and Missouri, nearly 2.8 million birds—almost entirely chickens and turkeys—have died in one month due to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Agriculture Department said on Monday. The viral disease has been identified in 23 poultry farms and backyard flocks in a dozen states since Feb. 8.

Nine cases of lethal bird flu in eastern U.S.

State and federal officials have killed tens of thousands of broiler chickens and turkeys on poultry farms in Indiana and Kentucky, and backyard flocks in three other states, while fighting outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). They are the first cases of the viral disease, which can quickly wipe out flocks, among domestic flocks in two years.

February storms put a hitch into U.S. poultry production

From hatching operations to processing plants, the mid-February winter storms disrupted the broiler chicken industry, said the USDA on Monday, with a lasting effect on broiler production. The monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook estimated broiler meat production would be 100 million …

At poultry plants allowed to run faster processing lines, a greater risk of Covid-19

Forty percent of the poultry plants participating in the USDA's controversial line speed waiver program have had Covid-19 outbreaks, according to an analysis of FERN’s outbreaks database. Labor advocates have warned that faster speeds on crowded processing lines could expose slaughterhouse workers to a greater risk of Covid-19, and even the top federal workplace authority has suggested that meatpackers reduce line speeds to curb the spread of the virus.(No paywall)

Indictments could be a sign of increased antitrust enforcement in farm sector

After years of failed attempts to draw attention to market concentration in the meat sector, farmers are cautiously optimistic about federal investigations into alleged antitrust violations in the chicken and beef industries. And grand jury indictments of four chicken industry executives could be a sign of more antitrust action to come, says a former attorney at the Department of Justice. (No paywall)

Chicken company to cull birds as processing capacity plummets

With a 50-percent workforce decline at poultry plants owned by the Delaware chicken company Allen Harim, the company told poultry farmers last week that it will begin killing chickens in the field to reduce pressure on its remaining workers during the coronavirus pandemic.(No paywall)

Poultry leads as U.S. meat consumption flies high

Despite a surge in sales of plant-based faux meat, Americans are consuming record amounts of meat and at the moment, poultry is driving the increase. Per-capita consumption will climb to 225.6 pounds in 2020, the highest total ever, with poultry accounting for half of it, according to the …

Hurricane Dorian a threat to coastal agriculture

High winds and heavy rains are possible along the East Coast from Florida northward through the Carolinas, said the National Hurricane Center on Monday. A private forecaster said the hurricane could threaten citrus crops in Florida but the North Carolina Pork Council said hog farmers could handle the expected 4 to 10 inches of rain without damage to manure lagoons.

Higher risk of cross-contamination when chicken is washed

Consumers are more likely to spread bacteria from raw chicken to salad ingredients when they wash the chicken, according to a USDA-funded study released on Tuesday.

With Costco chicken plant set to open, Nebraskans want more oversight of poultry farms

The arrival of a Costco chicken processing plant in Fremont, Nebraska, spurred the introduction of the state’s first industrial chicken farms in 2018. With the plant set to begin operations after Labor Day, some residents are pushing for stronger — or any — oversight of large poultry farms in the state.(No paywall)

Justice Dept. intervenes in major poultry price-fixing case

The Department of Justice intervened Friday in a landmark price-fixing suit against the country’s biggest poultry companies, possibly signaling that its own grand jury investigation into the chicken sector could result in criminal indictments. The DOJ asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to stop discovery in the class-action lawsuit brought by food distributor Maplevale Farm, saying in its motion that “a limited stay is needed to protect the grand jury’s investigation.”

In Maryland, poultry industry monitoring initiative restarts debate

In recent years, agribusiness groups have fought legislation that would require large-scale livestock farms to report what pollutants they discharge into the air. But this week, a Maryland poultry industry group announced a partnership with the state’s environmental regulators to monitor those emissions. (No paywall)

A slow-growth chicken favored by industry

To cut antibiotics use in poultry production, large-scale producers are turning to slower-growing heritage chicken breeds, reports Maryn McKenna, in FERN's latest story with EatingWell magazine. It marks a reversal of the recent production model, which emphasized fast-growing birds.

Chicken is top among food categories in CDC analysis of food-borne illnesses

Chicken is America'a favorite meat, with per capita consumption approaching 110 pounds per person this year, roughly twice as much as beef. Five CDC scientists who analyzed U.S. outbreaks of food-borne illness in recent years say chicken caused the largest number of illnesses when outbreaks were ranked by food category.

House committee considers SBA poultry loans

Members of the House Small Business Committee convened for a hearing Wednesday to discuss the findings of a recent report by the Office of the Inspector General on lending to poultry farmers.

Government report disqualifies poultry farmers as small businesses

In a report released on March 6, the Office of the Inspector General found that some poultry farmers who had received SBA loans were actually ineligible, because poultry companies “exercised such comprehensive control over the growers” that farmers were not, in fact, operating as independent small business owners. (No paywall)

Lawsuits allege conspiracy by chicken processors to raise broiler prices

The biggest poultry processors in the United States face widespread allegations that they colluded to raise prices over the course of 10 years in the $30-billion broiler chicken market. In just three weeks, two grocery retailers and the country’s two biggest food distribution companies filed lawsuits against Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Farms, Sanderson Farms, and others. (No paywall)

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