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.