Why cage-free production ceased 50 years ago

Why cage-free production ceased 50 years ago

Cage-free egg production turned into cage confinement for several reasons, including humane ones

My blog last week about traditional egg production and cage-free egg production caused several positive reactions. On that occasion I asked to be informed about whether any organization promoted the benefits of traditional production. And that was the case. I was contacted by Ken Klippen, president of the National Association of Egg Farmers in the United States, who provided me with several interesting concepts.

Subject to a full article later, I summarize here some insights, based on more than 40 years of Klippen’s experience in producing eggs and evidence from researchers. The question is: Why did we stop producing cage-free eggs about 50 years ago?

There are several reasons for this. I will mention only a few. Has anyone thought of the pecking order hens establish? When the population is limited to a few birds, within a cage, the damage caused by pecking and mortality is reduced. In cage-free systems it is very different. It is a matter of observing this between the traditional system and free-range systems.

In cage-free systems, keel bone breakage is higher from collisions with perches. Free hens have more external parasite issues, such as the situation in Europe with red mites. In terms of diseases, there has been a resurgence in infectious coryza in backyard flocks or the presence of spotty liver disease. In addition, access to the outside world makes them prone to other diseases.

And what about product safety? Cage-free eggs may have round worms, in addition to production of more dirty eggs, to the detriment of public health.

Sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions, and cost are all to be mentioned. Is it understood why we are producing with cages?

So, it is not so humane to leave hens loose there, as it is believed. No one in his healthy judgment produces eggs in cages to disturb, to make hens suffer, to oppress a species. It is a matter of profitability, health, ecology, and food production at a fair and affordable price.

What do you think?

Benjamin Ruiz

Innovation requires inspiration and collaboration

Innovation requires inspiration and collaboration
Word cloud concept illustration of innovation creative

One thing that this unpredictable pandemic has pointed out clearly is that implementing new technology is now more important than ever. Think of how much more economically devastating the pandemic-associated restrictions would have been without the communication and sensing technologies that have been developed and widely adopted just in the past decade.

We know technology is advancing at a staggering pace, but we also know that, when it comes to new technology, one size doesn’t fit all. For instance, robots and sensors developed for automobile plants can’t just be plugged in and used at poultry facilities and farms. These technologies require modification and further development before they can be implemented economically in poultry operations.

Find and implement new technologies for your operations by being part of the conversation early in the development process. The Virtual Poultry Tech Summit promotes collaboration between poultry industry professionals, technology innovators, researchers, investors and established technology providers with the ultimate goal of speeding the development and adoption of new technologies to benefit all aspects of the poultry supply chain.

Improve the odds that the next generation of robots, probiotics, vaccines, diagnostic tools, data aggregation and artificial intelligence, on-farm sensors and block chain systems will improve your operations’ performance and profitability by joining us at the 2020 Virtual Poultry Tech Summit. Collaborate and help shape the development of technologies that will help solve today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

I invite you to join this international gathering by registering to join us on October 20-22. The Virtual Poultry Tech Summit features the unveiling of exciting technologies in development, discussions of emerging technologies that are available now to solve industry challenges, and expert panels discussing the trends that will shape the future of the poultry industry.

Corn flow from the US to Latin American poultry industry

Corn flow from the US to Latin American poultry industry
Although the U.S. values the Latin American market and wants to regain its market share, it is necessary to take into account the elections in that country and the corollary of the pandemic in the Latin American economy.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has just published a report on corn exports to Latin America. Nothing less than 25% of these commercial transactions are mainly done with Mexico, Colombia and Peru, as well as other countries.

The world’s largest importer of U.S. corn is Mexico, while Colombia and Peru are key markets in South America. It is just matter of reading the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) weekly reports to see the importance.

The increase in these imports has been the result of the growing demand for animal protein from a population that seemed to economically improve. There is also the inability of these countries to produce what they need because of inadequate policies, a lack of water and farmland, the prevalence of mountains and deserts, a lack of infrastructure, and perhaps many other reasons.

Around this and other grains is the term self-sufficiency, word overheard by politicians and dreamers, which seems increasingly distant and alien. Peru produces only one-third of its corn needs, Colombia 20%, and Mexico, although self-sufficient and even an exporter of white corn for human consumption, produces only 20% of its animal consumption needs. Mexico is the second largest producer of chicken and eggs in the region, while Colombia is third in both and Peru is fourth and fifth, respectively.

While Colombia and Peru are at different stages about duties and import quotas from the U.S., they are located relatively close to Brazil and Argentina. At a given time, these suppliers can be attractive. However, the ground transportation infrastructure still has shortcomings.

In the case of Mexico, the tariff situation with the U.S. is at a different stage and corn freely enters the country. In addition, Mexico has developed an important railway and road infrastructure, which allows 60 percent of imported corn to be distributed along these routes. Proximity has, of course, been an advantage, but it also represents a disadvantage if diversifying suppliers are desired.

On the other hand, this report informs that imports have been trailing off. But the market seems promising, and the U.S. hopes to regain its market share soon.

The impact of the current COVID-19 crisis on the economy and of the relationship between the U.S. government and Latin American governments, remains to be seen. Let us not forget the outcome of the elections in the United States. In these days, no one can say, “that is not going to happen,” because it can happen. For the good of all, I hope that trade relations will continue to enjoy a good, healthy status.

What do you think?


The ‘Superman’ of foods is the egg

Superman of foods is the egg

During the 22nd Previtep Week, I gave a presentation on the comparison between the poultry industry of the Mexican state of Jalisco – the country’s poultry capital – and Latin America. In the question and answer session, one of the attendees asked me about my prediction of egg products over the next few years. Not knowing the answer, I threw the ball to food technologists.

With the celebrations of World Egg Day, I attended a webinar organized by the Spanish Institute of Egg Studies, the Association of Agri-Food Journalists of Spain and the National Association of Health Communicators, entitled “Egg, Much More Than the Perfect Protein.” And I think I can now partly answer the question I was asked.

In the webinar, Dr. Marta Miguel, researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid, spoke about egg products, and I liked the way she classified them into technological and culinary developments. She mentioned the well-known omega-3-enriched eggs, which, although not as successful as enriched milk products, they have found their niche in the market.

More recently, in Spain, they have developed the “Iberian eggs” (following the image of the gastronomic jewel of the “Iberian ham”), produced by free-range hens that are fed also with crushed acorns, which modifies the lipid profile and provides more oleic acid to the egg.

Then, she talked about technological developments, such as yolk fractionation to separate egg components and make membranes or biofilms. Also, blue eggs, of the Araucana hen, which do have less cholesterol. And the hyperimmune eggs, from which immunoglobulin Y – similar to IgG of the secondary immune response – is extracted, because it builds up in the yolk. IgY is extracted and used to obtain significant levels of antibodies, for treatments and diagnostic assays.

The hydrolyzed egg, developed by Dr. Miguel’s research group, in which long proteins are cut, whose peptide sequences serve to control pathologies such as hypertension, diabetes or obesity, or to provide new textures to dairy products.

She finally spoke of the culinary side, such as the Spanish development of frozen fried egg, used in Burger King burgers, or the low-temperature eggs, pre-cooked and ready-to-eat, widely used in restaurants and hotels.

So, here I leave with you some ideas to stimulate minds to create. It’s a good time during this World Egg Day and egg week. Dr. Marta Miguel said that egg, more than a superfood, is the Superman of foods, for its nutritional contribution, versatility, and low cost.

After all, a dozen eggs cost less than a single KN95/ FFP2 mask!

What do you think?