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TheMeatSite Newsletter - 18 July 2012

Welcome to this week's newsletter

Editorial – Broiler Welfare Measures Need to be Improved, Says EFSA

A new study from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has shown that animal-based measures can be used effectively in on-farm evaluations of broiler welfare in relation to laws, codes of practice, quality assurance schemes, management and also partly for ante-mortem inspection.

Some animal-based measures can also be taken post-mortem at the slaughterhouse, according to the study, which adds that non-animal-based measures can be used when the association between them and the welfare outcome is strong and when they are more efficient than animal-based measures as a means to safeguard welfare. They can also be useful predictors of welfare in broilers.

EFSA comments that while the Welfare Quality protocol provides information on the majority of the welfare outcomes for the main factors identified in the its Scientific Opinions, the protocol is not the best source of information. It believes that there is a lack of research on the use of animal-based measures on-farm and in the slaughterhouse to assess pain, frustration, boredom and other negative or positive emotional states in the standard broiler.

The European Union, US and Brazil could be heading for another bitter war in the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the use of ractopamine as a growth promoter for beef cattle and pigs.

Recently, Codex Alimentarius set maximum levels for the use of the drug at which the European Commission says the meat will be safe for human consumption.

In all about 27 countries around the world, including the US, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea had declared that meat from animals raised using ractopamine is safe. However, about 100 other countries including the EU and China have banned its use.

The maximum residue levels (MRLs) that have been set by Codex will allow 10 parts per billion in both beef and pork. However, these levels were set and approved by a majority of just two – 69 votes to 67 – after five years of negotiation.

The decision has been welcomed in the US, Canada and Brazil.

However, the European Union has reaffirmed its position that an international standard for ractopamine is not justified. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which advises the European Union, has concluded that there is insufficient data on which to make a proposal for maximum residue levels for ractopamine and it has said that risks to human health cannot be ruled out. As a result, the EU's current legislation will remain in place.

WTO may become the battleground for the two sides to fight out this issue, with the sanctions and bitter retaliation the likely consequences.

Pig producers in the UK have been losing money for nearly two years and the losses are getting greater, according to a new report on feed prices from the British Pig Executive shows that the high and rising feed costs mean that the total cost of producing pigs is currently much higher than the price that the farmer is receiving. At present, farmers are losing about £18 per pig.

The report, 'Feed Price Rises Put Pressure on Pig Industry', says that the cost of pig production in the UK is nearly 173p per kg. Of this amount, feed makes up 60 per cent at 109p per kg. However, these figures do not take into account recent rises in feed costs or rises in feed costs that are expected to come.

However, the situation does not appear to be unique to the UK. In Europe, because of the weakness of the Euro, feed prices could be even higher, particularly as commodity prices are quoted in US dollars. And in the US, the latest reports from the USDA and economic forecasters, show corn and soybean futures rising and expectations on this year's harvest for corn being revised down.

BPEX believes that the only way out of the difficulties is for pig prices to rise sharply. However, this is likely to put further pressure on the processors, who are also experiencing tight margins. Already these tight margins could possibly lead to the closure of one major pig meat processor in Scotland, Halls of Broxburn, part of the Vion Food Group.

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* This Week's Feature Articles

We have 4 new features this week:

Video Imaging Shows Tighter Carcase Grading
Mechanical grading in the form of Video Imaging Analysis (VIA) was introduced in seven Northern Irish meat processing plant for the grading of beef carcases in March 2011 and over the last year the system has recorded a tighter grading system than before, according to a report from the Livestock and Meat Commission of Northern Ireland.
Use of Animal-based Measures to Assess Welfare of Broilers
Animal-based measures (ABM) can be used effectively in the on-farm evaluation of broiler welfare in relation to laws, codes of practice, quality assurance schemes, management and also partly for ante-mortem inspection, according to a new report for the European Food Safety Authority.
Use of Ractopamine in Pigs
Three experiments investigating the use of the non-antibiotic growth promoter, ractopamine hydrochloride (trade name: Paylean), were reported at the Kansas Swine Day conference last year and are summarised here by senior editor, Jackie Linden.
Global Overview for Avian Influenza
Since 2003, H5N1 bird flu has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry and caused an estimated US$20 billion in economic damage across the globe before it was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006, according to a report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
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* Market Reports

 » AHDB European Market Survey - 6 July 2012
 » CSO - Crops and Livestock Survey June 2011
 » Utilisation of Milk by Dairies in England and Wales - Review of May 2012
 » USDA National Dairy Products Sales Report - 11 July 2012
 » Irish CSO Milk & Milk Products Supply Balance - 13 July 2012
 » USDA International Egg and Poultry: Comparison of Top US Exports of Mechanically Separated Chicken (MSC)

* Company News

Healthy Farm Doubles Production Capacity
RUSSIA - Healthy Farm, one of the leading producers of high quality food products in Russia, has recently invested in the first Meyn-Ishida poultry processing solution in the Ural region.
New Managerial Appointments for Gainco
US - Gainco, Inc., a US-based manufacturer of weighing, packaging, food inspection and other yield enhancement systems for the meat, poultry and food processing industries, has announced new managerial appointments at the company.
EuroTier 2012 - Bigger than Ever Before
GERMANY - So far 2,100 exhibitors from 50 countries have signed up for EuroTier 2012. With 30 per cent more exhibition space, the show will be held in Hanover from 13 to 16 November 2012.
* Global Meat Industry News

   New Zealand

 » Jobs Go as Goulds Fine Foods Closes
 » NZPork is the World's Best Little Pig Industry

   Ireland

 » IDB Acquires The Cheese Warehouse
 » Protein Prices Putting Pig Production at Risk in Ireland

   United States

 » Harmonise Rules for US-Canadian Pork Production
 » Antibiotic Resistance and Chicken Report Questioned
 » CME: May US Pork Exports Higher Than a Year Ago
 » Media Urged Not to Stigmatise Production Methods
 » Cargill Bids Successfully on Fort Worth Beef Facility
 » May Beef Export Results Mixed
 » Weekly Roberts Market Report
 » Sodexo Reinforces Animal Welfare Commitment
 » AFBF Applauds House Ag Committee Farm Bill
 » Reduced Amounts of Bedding for Pigs in Transport
 » HSUS to Sue Pig Confinement Facilities
 » CME: Changes to Forecasted Meat, Poultry Output Muted
 » AFBF: Livestock Antibiotic Proposals Based on Theory
 » Pork Exports Continue Upward Trend; Beef Mixed
 » Retail Prices for Meats, Dairy and Eggs Decline Slightly
 » Public Food Pathogen Genome Database Created
 » US Pork Tops Korean Blind Taste Test Competition
 » Pressure Mounts to Phase out Gestation Crates
 » Rising Grain Prices Impact Poultry Output
   United Kingdom

 » Strengthening Markets for Pork and Beef
 » Popularity of Pork Undimmed
 » Pig Sector Fighting Feed Costs
 » All Party Paliamentary Group for Beef and Lamb
 » Union Concerned at Lamb Import Levels

   China

 » China's Farm Produce Prices Rebound

   Australia

 » JBS Meat Workers Vote Delayed
 » ACCC Targets Duck Company's Welfare Claims
 » National Food Plan for Australia
 » Inghams Prepares for Sale
 » Indonesia Halves Australian Beef Export Quota
 » Farmers Ask for Quarantine Facilties to Stay
 » AACo Makes Deal with Indigenous People

   Brazil

 » June Pork Exports Down Compared to a Month Ago
 » Government Considers Buying Pork to Raise Price
 » IPC Annual Meeting set for Brazil in August

   Uganda

 » Cheap Imports Suffocate Uganda's Poultry Industry

   Norway

 » Norway's Controls of Food Contact Materials Lacking

   European Union

 » Call for Animal-based Measures to Assess Broiler Welfare
 » EFSA Launches Risk Communications Guidelines
 » EU Pig Prices: Markets Steady Almost Everywhere

   Jordan

 » Breeders to Provide 18M Chickens in Ramadan

   Nigeria

 » Customs Impounds, Destroys Poultry Products

   Jamaica

 » Tax on Imported Food will Benefit Farmers

   Russian Federation

 » Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus Keep Customs Union

   Ukraine

 » Ukraine Bans Chinese Poultry Imports

   Indonesia

 » Chicken Vendors Launch Strike Against Price Hikes

   Colombia

 » Meat Industry Flash Mob Gathers in Bogota

   Canada

 » Irradiate Poultry to Reduce Foodborne Illness
 » Pig Traceability System Reaches Important Milestone
 » Balance Required in Pig Code of Practice Revisions
 » Clearwater Seafoods Achieves MSC Certification

   Spain

 » EC Authorises Changes to Pig Carcase Grading in Spain

   Denmark

 » New Pig Carcase Grading Method Authorised

   Argentina

 » Poultry Sector Reaches Record Production

That's all for this week!

Ed.
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