Protection
3M Food Safety recently announced its new 3M Molecular Detection Assay 2 – Campylobacter with 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth, providing more efficient testing for a key pathogen associated with poultry production.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the U.S. 3M’s new assay and simplified enrichment broth helps customers safeguard against this pathogen while increasing laboratory productivity.

The testing process is significantly faster than alternatives like PCR, immunoassay and culture methods, and having a streamlined protocol for Campylobacter and Salmonella means the system is able to perform up to 96 tests of multiple types in one 60-minute run.

“We are providing the poultry industry with a complete solution that is simplified to achieve fast, highly accurate results,” said Christopher Somero, 3M food safety marketing manager for new products. “While this product was developed to give our customers an easier workflow, an additional benefit is increased protection of their products and brands from the threat of this pathogen.”

Unlike traditional Campylobacter enrichment protocols that can take 11 or more steps, the 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth requires only five steps. This frees up poultry testing labs to keep their focus on what matters most.

The 3M Campylobacter Enrichment Broth eliminates the need for expensive microaerophilic incubation, supplements, blood, organic solvents or autoclaving the broth, only requiring the addition of sterile water.

The award-winning 3M Molecular Detection System platform is used by food processors, universities, governments and contract testing laboratories in more than 40 countries. It is powered by a combination of advanced technologies—isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection—to provide a pathogen testing solution that is fast, accurate, easy to use and affordable.

The new assay for Campylobacter joins, and can be run concurrently with, molecular tests already offered by 3M for Salmonella, E. coli O157 (including H7), Cronobacter, Listeria and Listeria monocytogenes.

For more information, visit: www.3m.com/foodsafety/poultrytesting

Published in New Technology
Antibiotic resistance is real. In Canada and around the world, fewer antimicrobials remain effective in controlling infection as more microbes become resistant in both human and veterinary medicine.
Published in Ask the Vet
When it comes to disease diagnostics, time is of the essence. And yet there is currently no commercial, on-farm detection technique for poultry diseases like avian influenza (AI).
Published in Health
There are some types of E. coli (known as avian pathogenic E. coli [APEC]) that can cause serious or fatal colibacillosis infection in chickens. Many factors predispose birds to the infections.
Published in Layers
Researchers at The Pirbright Institute have created a new method of genetically modifying the Marek’s disease vaccine so that it is able to protect against another destructive poultry virus called infectious bursal disease (IBD), and potentially others such as avian influenza and Newcastle disease. This approach could lead to a reduction in the number of vaccines that need to be administered to each bird.

For the first time, Pirbright scientists have been able to use a gene editing system called CRISPR/cas9 to add a gene of the IBD virus into a current Marek’s disease vaccine virus. The added genetic material protects poultry against IBD in addition to the protection already offered by the Marek’s disease vaccine, meaning that bird owners would only need to use one vaccine instead of two. For the full story, click here.
Published in News
Poor skeletal health in commercial laying hens was first documented as a production issue in the 1950s. It became an animal welfare concern in the 1980s, when scientists first documented a high prevalence of bone fractures after handling hens at end of lay.
Published in Layers
“There are some diseases that we can live with, but not Avian Influenza. It is a great danger for our livelihoods and our industries,” said Dr. Travis Schaal, GGP/GP and technical manager for Hy-Line International, during the Defend the Flock: Biosecurity Basics for Poultry & Egg Producers program, held at the 2018 International Production & Processing Expo.

Schaal discussed his company’s view on biosecurity, which encompasses four areas: conceptual, structural, operational and cultural. He emphasized the National Poultry Improvement Plan’s 14 points to enforce biosecurity and expressed the importance of farmers committing to these robust standards.

He summarized by stating that culture takes time and repetition; rules must be complied top down in order to have bottom up involvement; rules must be practical and effective, not complicated; and to educate at every opportunity.

Dr. Ben Wileman, director of global technical services for Select Genetics, observed that a big challenge for turkey biosecurity involved people travelling globally on vacations, mission trips or family visits. He remarked that these trips may have an impact on farm animals because pathogens are carried from one place to another.

Wileman posed the question, “How do you balance independence with not negatively affecting billions of dollars of trade?” He answered by stating that you need to balance trade with national biosecurity through veterinary inspections, CODEX, OIE and USDA AMS, among other organizations.

“Human nature is to take easy routes, which is why biosecurity needs to be fairly simple for people to do,” Wileman remarked. He pointed out that turkeys live longer than breeders and therefore have more risk, especially during their peak growth. Wileman highlighted 14 biosecurity points that every farm should take into consideration, including biosecurity responsibility, training, perimeter buffer areas, and auditing, among others.
Published in Biosecurity
Virtually all poultry become exposed to the coccidial parasite, which often causes the important disease coccidiosis, noted by mortality and enteritis. Often, the enteritis can trigger another important disease, necrotic enteritis.
Published in Ask the Vet
August 29, 2017, U.S. - Chlorinated chicken– or chlorine-washed chicken – simply means that chicken was rinsed with chlorinated water; chlorine is not present in the meat. Just as chlorine helps make drinking water safe, it can help remove potentially harmful bacteria from raw chicken.

Numerous studies and research have confirmed that the use of chlorinated water to chill and clean chicken is safe and effective. Chlorine-washed chicken does not pose any human health concerns and it is not present in the final product.

Hypochlorus (i.e. chlorine) is a common disinfectant used in water treatment and food processing worldwide. Although it is proven safe, a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from chlorinated water in their chilling systems and rinses, opting for alternatives.

The National Chicken Council would estimate that chlorine is used in chilling systems and rinses in about 20-25 per cent of processing plants in the U.S., as a lot of U.S. plants have moved away from its use. Most of the chlorine that is used in the industry is used for cleaning and sanitizing processing equipment.

All chicken produced in the U.S. is closely monitored and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). READ MORE
Published in Processing
August 18, 2017, Vancouver, British Columbia – The governments of Canada and British Columbia are working under the AgriRecovery disaster framework to determine the type of assistance that may be required by British Columbia’s agriculture sector to recover from the impact of wildfires.

The announcement was made following the first meeting between Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay and B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

"The AgriRecovery response will help B.C. ranchers and farmers recover from their losses, and return to their land and their livelihoods. Our governments are working with producers, local officials and stakeholders, and the results and spirit of resilience is collective and clear, we will work together to respond to this emergency until the job is done," Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture said. 

Government officials are working together to quickly assess the extraordinary costs farmers are incurring and what additional assistance may be required to recover and return to production following the wildfires.

The types of costs under consideration include:
  • Costs related to ensuring animal health and safety.
  • Feed, shelter and transportation costs.
  • Costs to re-establish perennial crop and pasture production damaged by fire.
"Our Government stands with producers in British Columbia who are facing challenges and hardships because of these wildfires. Together, with our provincial counterparts, we will work closely with affected producers to assess the full scope of their needs and help them get back in business as quickly as possible," Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said.
Published in Farm Business
August 17, 2017, Guelph Ont. – Catching crews on poultry farms have made do for years when they needed an extra step loading full crates from the barn onto transport trucks. Using the tools at hand, they improvised and turned empty crates on end to get where they needed to be.

But there are two big problems with this practice – the obvious health and safety risks of standing on a slippery, uneven surface, and the damage done to the crate when used as a makeshift step.

The Poultry Service Association – that represents the vast majority of poultry-catching and live-haul poultry business in Ontario – set out to design, build and test a better way.

With no commercially made loading steps available, the association engineered, fabricated and tested a lightweight, portable and safe poultry-loading step for the Ontario industry.

Developing a new, safe, loading step was approached as a sector initiative involving the main commercial poultry-catching companies in Ontario. This collaboration made it a much more economical and unified way to arrive at a solution that all companies could access.

Driving the need for a new safe step was two-fold – reducing slips and falls by crew, and reducing damage done to crates. It’s tough to calculate improved health and safety in dollars and cents. The savings in reduced crate damage is easier to estimate.

At $85 per crate, and an estimated 30 per cent discard rate of damaged crates, the annual savings to the industry with the new safe step is estimated at more than $2.5 million.

The new safe portable step is now in use by 85 per cent of commercial poultry-catchers in Ontario, and the industry is noticing the difference. Trucking companies have seen a reduction in crate damage and appreciate the safety aspect of the new loading platforms.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.
Published in Bird Management
August 14, 2017, U.S. - The company has implemented the U.S. meat industry’s most extensive third-party remote video auditing (RVA) system, is fielding what is believed to be the world’s largest team of animal well-being specialists and is introducing a pilot project for controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) at two of its poultry facilities this year.

“Ensuring the well-being of the animals in our care is a core part of our broader sustainability journey and these initiatives are the latest examples of our leadership in this important area,” said Justin Whitmore, chief sustainability officer for Tyson Foods. “We’re also piloting other potential innovations as we become the world’s most sustainable producer of protein.”

“Animal welfare is part science, part compassion, and it requires management commitment to learning, training and constant monitoring,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and a member of Tyson Foods’ Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel.

To help monitor live bird handling, the company has rolled out the industry’s largest third-party RVA program in the U.S., covering 33 poultry plants.

The company is using Arrowsight, a leading provider of remote video auditing technology and data analytics services, which has extensive animal welfare monitoring experience.

Video from cameras in Tyson Foods’ chicken plants is analyzed by trained off-site auditors and data feedback is provided daily, weekly and monthly to plant management to deliver excellence in animal welfare practices.

Tyson Foods also is launching an innovative RVA pilot project to assess on-farm catching of birds for transport to processing facilities. Video will be audited and analyzed by Arrowsight for adherence to humane treatment of animals, allowing immediate follow-up if any concerns are identified.

In addition to video monitoring, Tyson Foods is also the first in the industry to employ animal well-being specialists across all its beef, pork and poultry operations. The company has trained and deployed nearly 60 dedicated fulltime animal well-being specialists. This includes at least one at every processing facility that handles live animals, to work collaboratively with our Office of Animal Well-Being and our plants to ensure best-in-class training and 2 practices.

Half of the specialists are also involved in supporting animal well-being on the poultry farms that supply the company. The specialists have experience in either processing plant or live chicken operations and will have continual training. They have participated in animal welfare webinars and a week-long summit. They are also taking a certification course through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO).

Tyson Foods also will launch two pilot projects within the next year to test a process called controlled atmosphere stunning. Support of the use of gas as a more humane way to render the bird unconscious before processing has increased over the past several years among scientists, veterinarians and animal welfare advocates, since it eliminates the handling of conscious birds.

The company will evaluate the results of the pilot program to determine if CAS is a reasonable alternative to the existing method before it makes decisions about deploying it at other facilities. Tyson Foods is also piloting research into chicken house lighting and enrichments for the birds (e.g. perches). In addition, the company continues to work with its poultry breeding suppliers on the important relationship between breeding and bird health. It has also conducted work on enhanced poultry nutrition and ventilation.
Published in New Technology
July 12, 2017 - Biosecurity needs to be approached as a comprehensive process, not as a series of segregated actions, according to Jean Sander, DVM, senior technical services veterinarian for Zoetis.

For example, people about to enter a poultry house will put on their boots, coveralls, hair nets, but then remember they need a piece of equipment that’s in another house. They quickly retrieve it and bring it into another building without cleaning it first.

That’s a breach of biosecurity, Sander told Poultry Health Today.

The intent is to try and do the right thing, but too often biosecurity isn’t viewed holistically, continued the veterinarian, who primarily works with layer producers. READ MORE 
Published in Biosecurity
July 7, 2017, Langley, B.C. – Approximately 2,000 wildfires occur each year in British Columbia. The effect of wildfires on the province’s agriculture community can be devastating and costly.

More than half of the wildfires in 2016 were caused by humans.

With the wildfire season upon on us in B.C., there are measures that ranchers, farmers, growers, and others who make their living in agriculture can do to protect their workers and their property. Addressing potential fire hazards will significantly reduce the chances of a large-scale fire affecting your operation.

Controlling the environment is important. Clear vegetation and wood debris to at least 10 metres from fences and structures; collect and remove generated wastes whether it is solid, semi-solid, or liquid; and reduce the timber fuel load elsewhere on your property and Crown or lease land to help mitigate the risk.

In the case that you have to address fire on your property, have a well-rehearsed Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place. The ERP should also include an Evacuation Plan for workers and livestock.

“Having a map of your property, including Crown and lease lands, and a list of all of your workers and their locations is extremely helpful for evacuation and useful for first responders,” says Wendy Bennett, Executive Director of AgSafe. A list of materials and a safety data sheet of all liquid and spray chemicals and their locations should also be made available to attending firefighters.

Bennett suggests checking the Government of BC Wildfire Status website regularly to report or monitor the status of fires in your area.

For over twenty years AgSafe has been the expert on safety in the workplace for British Columbia’s agriculture industry and is committed to reducing the number of agriculture-related workplace deaths and injuries by offering health and safety programs, training, evaluation and consultation services.

For more information about agriculture workplace safety or AgSafe services call 1-877-533-1789 or visit www.AgSafeBC.ca
Published in Farmer Health/Safety
June 22, 2017, China – Scientists have identified three mutations that, if they occurred at the same time in nature, could turn a strain of bird flu now circulating in China into a potential pandemic virus that could spread among people.

The flu strain, known as H7N9, now mostly infects birds but it has infected at least 779 people in outbreaks in and around China, mainly related to poultry markets.

The World Health Organization said earlier this year that all bird flu viruses need constant monitoring, warning that their constantly changing nature makes them "a persistent and significant threat to public health".

At the moment, the H7N9 virus does not have the capability to spread sustainably from person to person. But scientists are worried it could at any time mutate into a form that does.

To assess this risk, researchers led by James Paulson of the Scripps Research Institute in California looked at mutations that could potentially take place in the H7N9 virus's genome.

They focused on the H7 hemagglutanin, a protein on the flu virus surface that allows it to latch onto host cells.

The team's findings, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, showed that in laboratory tests, mutations in three amino acids made the virus more able to bind to human cells - suggesting these changes are key to making the virus more dangerous to people.

Scientists not directly involved in this study said its findings were important, but should not cause immediate alarm.

"This study will help us to monitor the risk posed by bird flu in a more informed way, and increasing our knowledge of which changes in bird flu viruses could be potentially dangerous will be very useful in surveillance," said Fiona Culley, an expert in respiratory immunology at Imperial College London.

She noted that while "some of the individual mutations have been seen naturally, ... these combinations of mutations have not", and added: "The chances of all three occurring together is relatively low."

Wendy Barclay, a virologist and flu specialist also at Imperial, said the study's findings were important in showing why H7N9 bird flu should be kept under intense surveillance.

"These studies keep H7N9 virus high on the list of viruses we should be concerned about," she said. "The more people infected, the higher the chance that the lethal combination of mutations could occur."
Published in Research
June 15, 2017, Vancouver, B.C. - A chicken-catching company at the centre of an animal cruelty investigation in British Columbia says it will require staff to wear body cameras after an animal advocacy group released video of alleged abuse.

Dwayne Dueck, president of Elite Services in Chilliwack, says it will be mandatory for one supervisor and two staff members in each barn to wear cameras on their vests, and the video will be reviewed at the end of each day.

The announcement comes after the SPCA in British Columbia launched an investigation following the release of undercover video by Mercy for Animals that shows workers allegedly hitting, kicking and throwing chickens.

A statement from Elite Services says six staff members have now been fired, including two who were let go prior to the video being released, three who were fired immediately after, and one more who was terminated after the company did a ''detailed forensic review'' of the video.

Investigators with the SPCA are working on a report that will be forwarded to Crown counsel and SPCA spokeswoman Marcie Moriarty says the organization will recommend multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The statement from Elite Services says the company hopes the ''senseless acts of violence'' in the footage will help implement new levels of animal care across the industry.

The company says it is updating its standards and procedures, undertook organization-wide retraining on Wednesday, and all employees will be asked to sign documents affirming they understand the company's care and concern procedures.

''It is our intent to share the experience of our new best practices with industry regulators, and adopt other best practices from cutting edge producers,'' the statement says.
Published in Company News
June 8, 2017, Abbotsford, B.C. - Tens of thousands of chickens have died in an Abbotsford, B.C., barnfire.

Firefighters were called to the property in the Ross Road area around 1 p.m Tuesday. They arrived to find the two-storey barn fully engulfed by "flames from one end to the other."

Assistant fire chief said there were around 25,000 chickens inside. READ MORE
Published in News
May 4, 2017, Milton, Ont. - Farm & Food Care Ontario, Ontario Pork, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario released a joint statement today in response to the dismissal of charges announced by Justice David Harris on Anita Krajnc's charge for criminal mischief related to interfering with farm animals while in transit.

The Ontario farm organizations are extremely disappointed with the decision and are concerned that activists will be encouraged to engage in escalating activities that are a growing threat to animal welfare, food security and human safety.

Bruce Kelly, Farm & Food Care Ontario said that "Ontario farmers work hard to ensure high standards of animal welfare and a safe and healthy food supply for Canadians. Actions by Krajnc and activists like her should not be condoned by the courts as they threaten acceptable and legal farming practices and are a threat to food safety."

Eric Schwindt, board chair for Ontario Pork added, "This is frustrating for Ontario pork producers, who adhere to federal regulations and high standards of animal care, and are constantly evolving to further enhance their commitment to healthy animals and communities. Our concern in this instance was specific to the safety of food and people."

Furthermore, Pat Jilesen, Director, Ontario Federation of Agriculture said, "The livestock industry abides by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Health of Animals transport regulations. This ensures the well-being of all livestock during movement and transport. Interfering with animals during transport is simply unsafe for the animals and the people involved."

Clarence Nywening, President of the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, concluded, "This is a huge disappointment to Ontario farmers who are committed to keeping animals healthy and safe throughout their lives. Actions like this by activists are putting pigs, families, communities and livelihoods at risk."

Farm & Food Care Ontario, Ontario Pork, Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario share a mandate to support agriculture and Ontario farmers. The four groups will meet to discuss next steps related to this issue.
Published in Consumer Issues
April 17, 2017, Dufferin County, Ont. – On behalf of the four feather boards, the Feather Board Command Centre (FBCC) is issuing an Infectious Laryngotracheitis (ILT) Disease advisory to all poultry industry service providers operating in a 10-km zone in Dufferin County southwest of Shelburne.

FBCC has been alerted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that birds from a small backyard “dual purpose” chicken flock in Dufferin County have tested positive for Infectious Laryngotracheitis.

The lab submission came through the Small Flock Surveillance Project administered by OMAFRA and the University of Guelph. OMAFRA staff are providing advice to the small flock owner and his veterinarian to ensure proper biosecurity and disease control measures are implemented.

This advisory status is anticipated to last until late May. READ MORE
Published in Health
In January, new broiler producer Brent Pryce welcomed more than 20,000 birds (14,000 quota) into his brand new barn in Walton, Ont.

“I grew up on a farm, with my grandfather starting with dairy and then cash crops and some pork and beef, and always wanted to get into farming,” Pryce says. “I worked towards this through starting up a few different businesses like road dust control, a rental business, vehicle undercoating, and then decided last summer to take the plunge to buy quota and build a barn.”

Construction started in September 2016 and finished in December 2016.

“Our sons, Russell and Clinton, are the reason Catherine and I did it, so that they can have a future in farming if they want it,” Pryce adds. “We’re starting with the goal of producing 2.2 kilogram birds, with four kilograms as the ultimate goal.”

Pryce chose a cross-ventilation barn design with a heating system that’s brand new to North America – one he’s seen working well in other barns he’s visited. Pryce also believes it will help save on heating bills and electricity, which is quite costly in Ontario, and provide excellent humidity control.

Weeden Environments was a main contractor for the project. Nathan Conley, the firm’s manager for Ontario and the northern United States, says the cross-ventilation design offers a lower building cost than longer and narrower tunnel barns. “Many of Brent’s neighbours and friends are very happy with their cross-ventilated buildings,” he says. “We recommended that two sides have modular side wall air inlets for consistent control over incoming air during minimum ventilation. The air from both sides travels up and along the ceiling [the warmest part of the barn] and therefore it’s conditioned before it reaches the birds and the litter. We then use stir fans to produce consistent temperatures throughout.”

Conley says when warmer weather arrives, a continuous double baffle inlet on one side of the barn will be employed; this set-up creates the same amount of wind chill over the birds as continuous baffle on both sides of the barn. Val-Co HyperMax exhaust fans were chosen for the barn, which Conley says are high-performing and very energy efficient.

A first in North America, the barn’s forced air propane heating and humidity control system is provided by Mabre. Mike Neutel, CEO of Neu Air Systems in Woodstock, Ont., says the systems are used all over the world. The set-up includes two 600,000 Btu Mabre propane furnaces with Reillo burners.

“In poultry barns, typical heating systems are tube heaters and box forced air heaters,” Neutel says. “Some growers have these heaters vented to the outdoors and some vent the products of combustion in the barn.”

He notes the contaminants contained in this air are very harmful to birds, and the exhaust also contains tons of moisture – 0.82 litres of water for every litre of liquid propane burned, and 0.65 litres of water for every litre of liquid natural gas.

Mabre heating systems exit exhaust through chimneys while maintaining a high efficiency of 92 per cent, Neutel notes, while the forced air blowers provide excellent air circulation, which is key in maintaining proper humidity levels. A very even temperature, often within a degree throughout the entire barn, is achieved, but no draft is created. Return air going back to the furnace incorporates fresh outside air through a louver, while heating and mixing this air through an exchanger.



All of this, Neutel says, was important to Pryce. “[He] also commented during his decision process that the low ammonia levels will make it a safe environment for his children to manage the barn when they get older without having to worry about farmer lung,” Neutel adds. Mabre systems maintain humidity between 50 and 60 per cent, even with outside humidity levels of 90 per cent, which Neutel says keeps ammonia levels very low.

Mabre is available with natural gas, propane, wood pellet and wood chip options. More than 200 wood pellet systems have been installed in Quebec poultry barns.

In terms of how popular the cross-ventilation systems will become, Conley notes that in Ontario, producers are moving away from two and three-story barns for easier cleaning and to incorporate modular loading systems. “In the U.S., longer tunnel-ventilated barns are the norm, because the barns are larger and the temperatures higher,” he explains. “With this design – used there and around the world – the barn operates the same as a cross-ventilated barn, where air is brought in via sidewall inlets and exhausted out the sidewalls, but when hotter weather arrives, we gradually transition into tunnel to generate air speed down the length of the barn to create wind chill over the birds to cool them. I think that you’ll begin to see a trend of tunnel-ventilated buildings popping up over the next few years as we continue to see hotter, longer summers and the need to control heat stress becomes greater.”

In late January, Pryce reported in on barn performance and his first flock, which had arrived three weeks prior. “So far, I’m really happy with the heat unit and the environment in there is great. Right now is when you see things start to slide a bit, but it’s the same as the first few days the chickens came in. Usually you don’t really take young kids in a barn, but I’m pretty comfortable with taking my young kids in. The carbon dioxide and humidity levels are bang on.”
Published in New Technology
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