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Should You Have Your Own Chickens for Eggs?

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Touch the Soil News #586 (feature photo – Phil Catterall CC 2.0) The consolidation in the agricultural industry just keeps on going. This is illustrated in virtually all farm-raised foods, including eggs. Not that you are going to jump out and start raising chickens in your backyard – which by the way is gaining popularity in the U.S. Twenty years ago, 99 percent of all eggs produced came from around 350 different farms. Today, 99 percent of all eggs produced come from only 192 farms. There is little question today that the national egg supply can be at risk to Avian Influenza outbreaks (see news piece #581 – Got Eggs?).…

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Got Eggs?

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Touch the Soil News #581 The Avian Influenza is a disease that infects hens that lay eggs. The Avian Influenza is a virus that causes high mortality rates in hens. The only way to stop it is to cull (destroy) the entire flock of hens in which an infected hen is found. Over the last couple of months, the nation of South Korea has been hit hard with Avian Influenza. As of recent, South Korea has had to cull about 20.5 million of its 80 million laying hens. The dramatic decline in egg production is hitting the nation hard. What is spooky about the whole Avian Influenza is that there…

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Clutching for Health

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Touch the Soil News #471 Imagine waking up in the morning in a nation that must feed almost 1.4 billion people, but has slightly less productive crop land than the U.S. with only 325 million people. Now, if that is not enough, imagine that you must compete for a healthy diet with other consumers bidding up the price. Yes, you are in China. This all sets the stage for a booming demand in China for what is called algal EPA-fortified eggs. At the heart of the matter is algae and special strains of algae from which the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is derived. Laying hens are given feed that contains the…

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Eggs – When is Big… Big Enough?

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Touch the Soil News #452 Recently, Cal-Maine, America’s largest egg producer (and the world’s largest), announced it was buying Dixie Egg Company. Headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, Cal-Maine has 36.4 million laying hens. When Dixie’s 3.1 million laying hens are added, Cal-Maine will have almost 40 million laying hens which will represent close to 25 percent of the nation’s egg market. Not surprisingly, two of Cal-Maine’s largest customers are Wal Mart and Sams Club. Cal-Maine is a publically traded company that is engaged in the production, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs. The company produces over 1 billion dozen eggs each year. The company can process and pack over 400,000…

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Who is Pledging to go to Cage-Free Eggs – Is Your Favorite Restaurant on the list?

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Touch the Soil News #308 The number of announcements by food companies to source eggs only from cage-free laying hen farms is growing (we’re up to 37). Thanks to research by WattAgNet News, we were able to compile a list of food companies being influenced by science and public sentiment to source eggs from cage-free enterprises. Pressure to end the practice of egg production using battery cages has reached national proportions. Over-cramped quarters leads to greater use of antibiotics to offset diseases endemic to weak and unhealthy birds. See if you can find your favorite restaurant or food company on the list of cage-free announcements: Arby’s BJ’s Wholesale Club Bob…

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The Movement – Cage-Free Eggs

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Touch the Soil News #278 Watt Global Media – which specializes in news surrounding the egg and poultry industries just published all the players in the cage=free egg movement. Following are the companies and time frames when they will be able to source all of their eggs from producers that use cage-free practices.   Completion by 2016 Taco Bell and Shake Shack   Completion by 2020 Arby’s Nestle, Peet’s Coffee, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, Wendy’s,   Completion by 2022 Royal Caribbean Cruises   Completion by 2025 Dunkin Donuts, General Mills, McDonlads, Groupo Bimbo, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Kellogg’s, Carnival Cruise Lines, Subway and Quiznos.   In the Future…

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News Round-Up – Food Chain News You Might Have Missed

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Touch the Soil News # 176   September 8, 2015 │ Treatment of Workers International Poultry news reports that JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, was recently fined $19 million for labor violations. These violations included: 1) Work shifts of 18 hours. 2) Forcing workers to work weeks on end without a break. 3) Failure to give employees breaks. 4) Inadequate chemical controls harmful to employees. 5) Poor working conditions found 53 percent of workers relying on some sort of medicine to be able to work. All of these violations were in a facility that slaughters 350,000 chickens daily in Brazil.   September 9, 2015 │ McDonald’s & Cage-Free Eggs…

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Impossible Foods – Getting the Google Eye

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Touch the Soil News # 148 To get a more complete picture of what is going on here, a few words about Impossible Foods. Impossible Foods was created by Patrick O. Brown, MD, PhD and a Stanford University Biologist. The business is three years old and is located in Redwood City, California. To date, Brown has assembled an impressive staff of researchers and developers to include over 50 scientists, farmers and engineers. Their goal – make the best meats and cheeses you’ll ever eat – from plants. The team looked at specific proteins and nutrients from greens, seeds, and grains to recreate a very realistic experience of meats and dairy…

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Egg Conundrum

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Touch the Soil News # 135 Consumer pressure to make egg production more humane resulted in a watershed law in California last year. California laws required that on January 1, 2015, any eggs sold in California must come from hens that have at least 116 square inches of floor space – a 73 percent increase over common practices. Egg industry experts estimated that many egg laying enterprises will enlarge the spaces in order to be able to sell in California, but may reduce the number of hens they have. One estimate is that the California law might precipitate the culling of 10 million hens. Unanticipated, however, is the roughly 50…

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Food-Chain News Roundup

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Touch the Soil News # 121 – includes 4 videos   Monsanto Blunders in its Approach to Buy Syngenta Swiss company Syngenta, has been dogged by Monsanto to sell itself to Monsanto (three tries so far). Monsanto has offered a deal worth $45 billion. However, Syngenta believes their company is worth far more than Monsanto’s proposal. In addition, Syngenta feels such merger is dangerous if it cannot be consummated without hang-ups and regulatory snags. Should the two companies try to merge and fail, it could hurt the value of Syngenta. Monsanto has agreed to put up a $2 billion safety net that would go to Syngenta should the deal fail.…

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