May 23, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - A team of investigators from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, has discovered a gene that confers resistance to the important broad-spectrum antibiotic, fosfomycin.

The researchers found the gene in isolates of the pathogen, Salmonella enterica, from broiler chickens. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The gene, dubbed fosA7, confers a high level of resistance to fosfomycin, which is otherwise a safe and effective agent for eliminating infections caused by multidrug resistant bacteria. (The "7" in fosA7 indicates that this is the seventh antibiotic resistant fosA gene that has been discovered.)

Currently, there is only limited fosfomycin resistance among Salmonella species, said corresponding author Moussa S. Diarra, PhD, Research Scientist in Food Safety at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. But the powerful resistance the fosA7 gene confers is worrisome, said Diarra. It could spread among different Salmonella serovars (a serovar is a strain of a species), as well as other bacterial pathogen species, via horizontal gene transfer, due to increased use of fosfomycin in both clinical and veterinary settings, said Diarra.

Thus, "vigilant monitoring for the spread of fosfomycin resistance in bacteria, isolated from humans and animals, is needed."

With that in mind, the researchers tested the strength of the resistance the gene could confer on the closely related Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis.

To do so, they cloned the gene, and inserted it into the chromosome of non-antibiotic resistant S. Enteriditis. Their worries were confirmed: the gene boosted the minimum concentration of fosfomycin required to inhibit reproduction in the microbe by more than 256-fold.

These results provided strong support for the hypothesis that fosA7 is, indeed, responsible for fosfomycin resistance, and that if fosA7 were transferred to plasmids--renegade pieces of DNA that can insert themselves into different bacteria--it could induce a high level of resistance in the recipient bacterial strain, according to the report.

The product of the fosA7 gene is an enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase. It inactivates fosfomycin by binding to it, and rupturing a molecular ring structure which is part of the antibiotic.

Fosfomycin resistance genes are often present in multidrug resistant bacteria. "This could further challenge the use of fosfomycin as an alternative treatment approach against urinary tract infections caused by both multidrug resistant E. coli, and blood infections from multidrug resistant Salmonella," said Diarra. So far, the investigators have found fosA7 only on S. enterica serovar Heidelberg and three other serovars of this species. A serovar is a strain of a species.

Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg--the strain in which the researchers found fosA7--is among the most common causes of human salmonellosis worldwide.

The rise of resistance to multiple antibiotics, particularly to extended spectrum cephalosporins in Heidelberg has limited the number of therapeutic options against this Salmonella serovar. In the current study, the investigators found this resistance gene in all of 15 Salmonella Heidelberg isolates in their collection.
Published in Health
May 19, 2017, Waterloo, Ont. - Farmers know the importance of keeping the land, water and air healthy to sustain their farms from one generation of farm family to the next. They also know that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, today announced a $1.9 million investment with the University of Waterloo to examine greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with agricultural activities and the potential benefits of alternative land use practices and beneficial management practices (BMPs).

This project with the University of Waterloo is one of 20 new research projects supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), a partnership with universities and conservation groups across Canada. The program supports research into greenhouse gas mitigation practices and technologies that can be adopted on the farm.
Published in Environment
May 18, 2017, Adelaide, Aus. - People choose to buy free-range or cage-free eggs because they believe they taste better and are better quality than eggs from caged hens, new research published today suggests.

In a study, conducted by researchers at the University of Adelaide and published in Anthrozoös, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, the most often reported motivations for buying free-range eggs included reasons such as the eggs were of better quality, more nutritious, and safer to eat, and that they allowed purchasers to avoid “industrialized” food.

Despite participants describing caged-egg production as “cruel”, they did not tend to emphasize welfare reasons as critical for their purchases of free-range eggs. Instead, participants felt that the free-range chickens were “happier” and thus produced a better quality of product.

This finding suggests that consumers are more likely to purchase a food product if it is both “ethical” and viewed as being of better quality, rather than for ethical reasons alone.

The study also revealed that there were high levels of awareness among participants of caged-egg production when compared to other types of animal farming.

In addition, participants who bought free-range or cage-free eggs did not necessarily tend to buy meat with ethical claims, in part because the price difference is much smaller in eggs in comparison to different types of meat products. Some people produced their own free-range eggs by keeping a few hens.

To collect the data for the study, the researchers conducted focus groups and shopping mall interviews with 73 participants (of mixed age and gender) and asked about their food purchasing habits.

Then they categorized the different reasons that people gave for their decisions to understand why people choose the food they do, especially when there are ethical issues and competing values involved.

Lead author Dr. Heather J. Bray from the School of Humanities and the Food Values Research Group at the University of Adelaide commented, “Taste and quality are strong motivations for purchasing and may be part of the reason why people are prepared to pay a higher price. More importantly these findings suggest that consumers think about animal welfare in a much broader way than we previously thought, and in particular they believe that better welfare is connected to a better quality product.”

The authors recommend that more research is needed including studies to further understand consumer motivations behind purchasing products with ethical production claims, in order to explore whether changes in production methods or labelling would be supported by consumers.

This work was funded by the Australian Research Council.

Read the full article online:
Published in Consumer
May 16, 2017, Lancaster, PA - Farmers have been referred to as the first environmentalists. Their livestock and crops depend on a healthy environment to thrive. Still, there’s often room for improvement.

According to some early findings from a study by Penn State graduate student Erica Rogers, poultry producers are potentially lowering their impact on the Chesapeake Bay.

Rogers and fellow Penn State graduate student Amy Barkley discussed those initial findings from their two master’s thesis projects with the poultry service technicians attending Monday’s Penn State Poultry Health and Management Seminar at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center.

Her project’s goal is to accurately depict poultry’s contribution to the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. The Chesapeake Bay “is one of the most studied watersheds in the world,” she said, but the problem with the current model is “they are using outdated information for poultry.”

Rogers built her work around the concept that poultry litter management has changed and farmers have adopted more precise diets for their flocks. READ MORE
Published in Environment
May 16, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. - The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) starts the initial steps to develop a tool set to provide veterinarians with guidelines to support responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial medications in animals during a planning workshop in Ottawa, Ontario from May 9 and 10, 2017.

“The veterinary community has a professional responsibility to support Canada's overarching strategy on antimicrobial resistance and use, and to adopt a multidimensional approach towards antimicrobial stewardship,” says Dr. Troy Bourque, CVMA President. “We are excited to embark on this project to meet veterinary needs for critical information, oversight and decision-support related to prudent antimicrobial use (AMU) in animals.”

Participating in the workshop are Canadian veterinarians, veterinary researchers and educators, government officials and species-group stakeholders working in the areas of swine, poultry, beef, dairy, small ruminants and companion animals.

They are working together to help identify AMU stewardship issues of concern, anticipate content and format needs for veterinary practitioners, address existing information gaps and discuss ways to communicate and engage the new tool set.

The overall outcome of the project is to develop guidelines for prudent AMU across the six species groups and pilot a prototype tool set to review effectiveness and guide further improvements.

“Ultimately, we want to promote enhanced antimicrobial stewardship to slow or limit the rising trend of AMR,” says Dr. Phil Buote, Chair of the Expert Advisory Group involved in the project, as well as Deputy Registrar for the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association.

“Providing these guidelines and tools to veterinarians is intended to influence their prescribing behaviours and enhance communication with producers and industry on the science-based rationale for antimicrobial use. The goal is to promote stewardship and maintain access to effective medically important antimicrobials.”

The CVMA is building on past achievements with its specific-usage Antimicrobial Prudent Use Guidelines for Beef Cattle, Dairy Cattle, Poultry and Swine (2008), and small animal guidelines through an Antimicrobial SmartVet application for urinary tract infections.

Funding for the project is provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada via their AgriMarketing Program supplemented with in-kind contributions by partners including the CVMA and veterinarians.
Published in Health
May 15, 2017, Guelph, Ont. - Collaboration and innovations surrounding antimicrobial stewardship were the focus of a recent poultry research day at the University of Guelph.

Featuring a panel of industry and academic experts, the Poultry Health Research Network (PHRN) Research Day brought together researchers, industry, government, and producer representatives to discuss this timely topic.

The discussion comes at an important time, as the federal and provincial governments are coming together on a Pan-Canadian framework on antimicrobial resistance, said Dr. Shayan Sharif, PHRN leader and an immunologist at the Ontario Veterinary College.

Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph, acknowledged the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance during a lunchtime address.

He noted, it’s great to meet people from all over North America who are looking at common issues, and asked how can “we work together using each other’s strengths” to solve some of these world challenges? “Antimicrobial resistance is one of those challenges.”

Longfield, who serves on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, as well as the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, added he’ll be asking for help from people around the room “to make sure we have the most current information for science-based decision making.”

The U of G is an agri-food centre of excellence and has been for more than 100 years, noted Malcolm Campbell, U of G vice president research, before introducing MP Longfield to conference attendees. “We partner with people right across the sector. We sit right in the middle of an innovation corridor.”

U of G is the third in the world for agriculture, he added. “That comes from the research impact of our faculty and the graduate students supervised by them.”

A number of those graduate students shared their ongoing research into questions surrounding antimicrobial resistance, vaccines and immunity, and rapid detection devices.

Students are the industry capacity of tomorrow, noted Helen Anne Hudson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Burnbrae Farms Ltd. “We are facing a huge shortage of human resources in the agriculture industry. We are in need of people trained in all facets. Events like this help students to network with industry and also find collaborations.”

“The student presentations provided not only an excellent overview of the work being conducted at the University of Guelph, but also highlighted the up and coming talent that will be important future leaders in the Canadian poultry industry,” added Steve Leech, National Program Manager, Food Safety, Animal Care and Research, with Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Leech also noted networking value for industry, producers, government and researchers.

“The research day is a great opportunity to interact with stakeholders that are all focused on different areas of antimicrobial stewardship, from primary researchers, to policy makers and farmers implementing on the ground,” he said. “The sharing of hurdles, opportunities and ideas helps to create relationships, and to define the research priorities that will help the industry succeed.”

Hudson agreed, adding, “Despite all of our efforts, we all tend to work to some extent in silos. It is important to break down these silos, share ideas and develop collaborations from them. Connecting researchers with other researchers or industry people who are working in the same fields or with different expertise is huge.”

Antimicrobial stewardship is a high priority issue in our industry generating a lot of interest as witnessed by the attendance at the research day, she added.

Keynote speakers during the day included: Dr. Billy Hargis, University of Arkansas, Dr. Martine Boulianne, University of Montreal, and Dr. Scott McEwen, Ontario Veterinary College.

A panel discussion focused on antimicrobial stewardship in poultry provided an open forum for discussion with conference participants.

The University of Guelph has had a long-standing commitment to innovation in animal health and production, with one of the largest groups of poultry scientists and poultry experts in North America. The Poultry Health Research Network has been steadily expanding since its inception in 2012 and now includes more than 60 members from across the U of G campus, as well as industry and government researchers.

Find out more about the PHRN at
Published in Research
May 12, 2017, London, Ont. - Researchers are delving deeper into the nesting motivations of birds and finding them as finicky about nesting as humans are about their comfort.

They are also finding more research needs to be done.

Michelle Hunniford, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph, is researching the nesting behaviour of laying hens.

She has found that new ways of evaluating nesting behaviour are needed.

She told a session at the London Poultry Show that settling behavior, the process hens go through to find and get themselves comfortable to lay an egg, along with egg location should drive cage design evaluation. The speed that a hen gets to that comfort level is correlated to how much pecking it does to establish its space and how long it occupies nesting space.

The University of Guelph re-searchers observed hens through their waking period — lights came on at 5 a.m. — and recorded their behaviour.

They then created graphs that showed a “settled” laying hen moved through its settling phases in more defined periods compared to an “unsettled” layer hen.

In most enhanced systems, the layers have a nesting area, with flooring and a scratch area.
Hunniford and her colleagues looked at what nests would motivate hens to settle in the desired nesting areas.
They found it was difficult to predict which hens would lay where and some hens preferred one system while others chose another.

As a result, one of Hunniford’s recommendations include that providing two smaller nests is more important that providing one large, fully furnished nest. READ MORE
Published in Housing
May 11, 2017, Dublin, Ireland - Research and Markets has announced the release of the "Global Processed Poultry Meat Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report.

The Global Processed Poultry Meat Market is poised to grow at a CAGR (compond annual growth rate) of around 7.6 per cent over the next decade to reach approximately $418 billion by 2025.

This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts of all the given segments on global as well as regional levels presented in the research scope.

The study provides historical market data for 2014, 2015 revenue estimations are presented for 2016 and forecasts from 2016 till 2025.

The study focuses on market trends, leading players, supply chain trends, technological innovations, key developments, and future strategies for existing players, new entrants and the future investors.

The market size is calculated based on the revenue generated through sales from all the given segments and sub segments in the research scope. The market data is gathered from extensive primary interviews and secondary research.

The study presents detailed market analysis with inputs derived from industry professionals across the value chain. A special focus has been made on 23 countries such as U.S., Canada, Mexico, U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Italy, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, etc.

For more information about this report, visit:
Published in Research
May 10, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Statistics Canada released the 2016 Census of Agriculture today, providing an overview of each agriculture sector in Canada.

The number of farms reporting hens and chickens increased 15.8 per cent from 2011 to 23,910 in 2016. The number of birds rose from 133.0 million to 145.5 million.

According to the Census, one in eight farms, or 12.7 per cent, sell food directly to consumers, with 96.1 per cent of products being unprocessed products, such as eggs and fruit.

Overall, farm profits are unchanged since 2010 and farms were as profitable in 2015 at the national level as they were in 2010. The gross farm receipts totaled $69.4 billion in 2015, with primary agriculture accounting for 1.5 per cent of the national gross domestic product in 2013.

Agriculture goods accounted for 2.2 per cent of Canada’s total imports and 4.6 per cent of total exports.

The Census reports that farm operators are slightly older and there are fewer farms in Canada than in 2011, but farms are on average larger and more area is being devoted to crop production.

Farm size varied considerably based on region and farm type. The largest operation on average were found in Saskatchewan (1,784 acres), while the smallest on average were located in Newfoundland and Labrador (174 acres).

The value of land and buildings used by agricultural operations increased 37.5 per cent, from $311.2 billion in 2011 to $427.9 billion in 2016.

For more information or to view the entire Census of Agriculture, visit:
Published in Research
May 9, 2017, Ottawa, Ont. – Dr. Bonnie Mallard, professor at the University of Guelph (U of G) has been named a recipient of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Award.

Mallard created the High Immune Response Technology (HIR), which manages livestock health through genetic identification. This sustainable and efficient approach was designed to meet consumer expectations for healthy, non-GMO products while maintaining profitability and addressing global food demands.

Mallard was nominated for the award by Universities Canada.

The Governor General's Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations whose exceptional and transformative work help shape our future and positively impact our quality of life.

The Governor General will present the awards to the winners during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa, on May 23, 2017, at 6 p.m.

Listed below are the other winners and their citations:

David Brown
Island View, New Brunswick

David Brown founded MyCodev Group in order to resolve a lack of supply of chitosan, a valuable pharmaceutical ingredient that is essential in a wide variety of medical devices and drugs. Mr. Brown's innovative technology produces chitosan directly from a fungal fermentation, a process that uses very little energy or chemicals. Mycodev Group is only four years old and is selling its chitosan to major pharmaceutical and medical device companies around the world.
Nominated by Futurpreneur Canada

Marie-Odile Junker
Ottawa, Ontario

Marie-Odile Junker has been a pioneer with respect to endangered Aboriginal languages in Canada, exploring how information and communication technologies can be used to preserve these languages. She has also brought together numerous speaker communities by using a participatory-action research framework that has resulted in the creation of several collaborative websites, including the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas and its online dictionary.
Nominated by Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Patrick McGrath (Strongest Families Institute)
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Dr. Patrick McGrath are the creators of the Strongest Families Institute, a non-profit organization that delivers evidence-based programs to children, youth and families through a unique distance-delivery system. Using proprietary software technology, trained coaches are able to connect with users by phone or via the Internet, thus allowing families greater flexibility when accessing services. The programs address common mental health problems and other issues impacting overall health and well-being.
Nominated by Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Audra Renyi
Montréal, Quebec

Audra Renyi co-founded World Wide Hearing (WWH) Foundation, which uses affordable technology, market incentives and rapid training to help underprivileged people affected by hearing loss. Ms. Renyi is also the founder and CEO of earAccess, a for-profit social enterprise that aims to cut the price of hearing aids by 75 per cent. HAW uses innovative distribution models to ensure hearing aids and related services are available to those who need them the most.
Nominated by Grand Challenges Canada

Paul Santerre
Toronto, Ontario
Dr. Paul Santerre invented Endexo technology, a unique compound of surface-modifying macro molecules that are added to plastics during the manufacturing process of medical devices, like catheters. The special coating helps reduce clotting when the devices are used to treat patients, reducing the risk of adverse reactions and potentially deadly complications. Now being used in commercialized products in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, Endexo is helping to improve treatment outcomes for thousands of patients.
Nominated by Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation
Published in Researchers
May 8, 2017 - Supplements containing arsenic have been banned in the European Union since 1999 and in North America since 2013. In many countries they are still added to poultry feed to prevent parasitic infection and promote weight gain.

Scientists have now demonstrated that the danger to human health may be greater than previously thought because the metabolic breakdown of these compounds in chickens occurs via intermediates that are significantly more toxic than the initial additives. READ MORE
Published in Nutrition and Feed
May 8, 2017, London, Ont. - Dr. John Summers, Professor Emeritus of the University of Guelph, has been posthumously awarded the 2016 Ed McKinlay Poultry Worker of the Year award.

This award is presented annually to outstanding individuals in the poultry industry and was presented on April 6th, 2017 at the London Poultry Show.

Ed Verkley, chair of the Poultry Industry Council stated, “Dr. John Summers was a leader in the poultry nutrition field. He taught and mentored many individuals who went on to work in the Ontario poultry industry, and his continuous contact with industry resulted in his research work being relevant and timely for direct application into the sector. Dr. Summers is very deserving of this award.”

Dr. Summers originally joined the University of Guelph’s Department of Poultry Science in 1956. Following the completion of his PhD from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1962, he returned to the Department and remained there until his retirement in 1987. Dr. Summers was appointed Chair of the Department of Poultry Science in 1969.

His research focus areas and accomplishments were quite diverse, and he served as a Technical Adviser to many organizations throughout his career. Dr. Summers passed away in August 2016. His son, Dr. David Summers accepted the award on his behalf.
Published in Researchers
May 8, 2017, Africa - One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in American Chemical Society’s journal Energy & Fuels

Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don’t transform well into biogas, so it’s mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.

Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.

The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.

The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University (Nigeria).
Published in Environment
May 5, 2017, Toronto, Ont.- A recent national survey revealed 70 per cent of Canadian mothers are unaware that babies six to 12 months need 11 mg of iron per dayi – that's nearly 40 per cent more than is required of a full-grown man.

The startling statistic was uncovered just in time for World Iron Awareness Week taking place May 1-7 to encourage education and understanding surrounding the importance of iron consumption at every age and stage.

The Canada-wide infant feeding survey was commissioned to help inform parents how and when to introduce babies to iron-rich foods.

Based on survey findings, Canadian moms are seeking infant feeding information from a wide variety of sources including doctors and pediatricians, online resources, baby care books, magazines and of course, friends and family.

While moms of infants are aware that iron is an essential nutrient, there is confusion surrounding when parents should be introducing iron-rich solid foods like meat into their baby's diet.

In 2012, Health Canada released new guidelines advising parents to offer their six-month old infants meat, fish, poultry or meat alternatives two or more times a day, on a daily basis.

While other foods may offer significant amounts of iron, meat provides our bodies with heme iron – a more easily absorbed variation of the nutrient. Adding meat to a meal also helps absorb up to four times the amount of iron from other foods like green vegetables, bread and cerealsiii.

Only about half of moms (55 per cent) surveyed were aware that heme iron found in meats is better absorbed than other dietary iron, or that iron deficiency anemia in infants is associated with irreversible developmental delays (51 per cent).
Published in Consumer
May 2, 2017, Kitchner, Ont. - With several partners, Hendrix Genetics is investigating possibilities to use blockchain in the egg value-chain. Blockchain is a new technology that has the potential to make processes more democratic, secure, transparent, and efficient.

What is blockchain? Blockchain is in essence a public decentralized 'ledger'. All transactions are stored in a shared database and everything is verifiable and traceable. Nobody owns the database, all participants share it. Blockchains are secure by design.

With participation of several companies, Hendrix has defined its first blockchain project. They will build and test a system for international payments and deliveries in the egg value chain with the objective to replace the current Letter of Credit system. Hendrix is working on a proof of concept to investigate and learn the possibilities and limitations of blockchain technology for the animal protein value chains in which they are involved in.

For more information, visit

Published in Company News
April 25, 2017, Columbus, OH - Keel bone health is increasingly seen as an animal welfare metric in alternative housing systems.

A new research study shows the majority of keel bone damage originates from collisions with perches inside the layer house.

Dr. Maja Makagon, assistant professor of applied animal behavior at University of California, Davis’ Department of Animal Science, discussed the results of a study conducted to analyze keel bone damage in a layer environment. Makagon, who spoke on April 19 as part of the Egg Industry Center Egg Industry Issues Forum in Columbus, Ohio, said the study utilized accelerometers and 3D imaging technology to study the force of the collisions and measure their effects on the keel bone.

The keel is an extension of the sternum that provides an anchor for the bird’s wing muscles and provides leverage for flight. As laying hens are being removed from a conventional cage environment, Makagon said, keel integrity is increasingly seen as an indicator of animal welfare. Damaged keels are associated with increased mortality, reduced egg production and egg quality, and keel damage is likely associated with pain for the animal. READ MORE
Published in Layers
April 24, 2017, Tucker, GA – The U.S. Poultry Foundation announced the completion of a funded research project at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, in which researchers report a potential cause of wooden breast lesion in broilers. The “woody breast” condition has long confused producers and processors, and research has been ongoing to find an explanation for the condition.

The research project is part of the Association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

Dr. Benham Abasht and colleagues at the Univ. of Delaware found that the early lesions of the condition could be found in the breast tissue of one-week old broilers, and the first stage of the condition involves inflammation of the veins in the breast tissue and accumulation of lipid around the affected veins. The study went onto say that this condition was followed over time by muscle cell death and replacement by fibrous and fatty tissue. Genetic analyses also indicated that there was dysfunction in lipid metabolism in affected birds. This new understanding that inflammation of veins is the likely cause of wooden breast lesions in broilers will provide important direction for future research on this condition. READ MORE 
Published in Health
April 24, 2017, New York, NY- The U.S. government's latest report card on food poisoning suggests that a germ commonly linked to raw milk and poultry is surpassing salmonella at the top of the culprit list.

The report counts cases in only 10 states for nine of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but is believed to be a good indicator of national food poisoning trends.

The most common bug last year was campylobacter (pronounced: kam-pih-loh-BAK'-tur). It's mostly a problem in unpasteurized dairy products, but also is seen in contaminated chicken, water, and produce. Salmonella was number one for the last 20 years but last year moved down to number two. Other causes like listeria, shigella (shih-GEHL'-uh) and E. coli trail behind.

Last year, there were no significant changes in new case rates for most kinds of food poisoning, compared to the previous three years. The new report tallied about 24,000 illnesses and 98 deaths in the 10 states. The CDC estimates that one in six Americans get sick from contaminated food each year, though most cases are not reported.

There's been a continued decline in illnesses from what used to be the most common strain of salmonella -- called Salmonella Typhimurium. That's possibly because of vaccinations of chicken flocks and tighter regulations. READ MORE
Published in Consumer
Chicago, IL, April 10, 2017 – Chicken remains consumers’ protein of choice while turkey shows room to grow, according to Technomic’s recently-released 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry Consumer Trend Report.

Chicken consumption has been bolstered over the past few years by increases at breakfast and snacking occasions. Meanwhile, turkey consumption is still centered on the holidays, though 39 per cent of consumers who eat turkey indicate they are more likely now than two years ago to eat turkey during the rest of the year.

“Chicken’s adaptability will be on full display over the next few years as operators increasingly highlight this healthy protein across dayparts”, explains Kelly Weikel, director of consumer insights at Technomic. “For turkey, operators will work to menu this protein in a way that is new and intriguing, but still leverages turkey’s positioning as a familiar and healthy standby.”

Key takeaways from the report include:
  • 47 per cent of consumers say it’s important for restaurants to be transparent about where they source their poultry
  • 45 per cent of consumers who eat chicken strongly agree that restaurants should offer more chicken entrees with ethnic flavors
  • 38 per cent of consumers who eat turkey would like restaurants to offer turkey as a protein choice for a wider variety of entrees
Published in Consumer
April 6, 2017, Nottingham, UK – Specially-bred wheat could help provide some of the key nutrients essential for healthy bones in poultry, reducing the need to supplement the feed, researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Aarhus University in Denmark have found.

Scientists from the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, discovered that wheat can be bred naturally to produce high levels of phytase – an enzyme needed to release phosphorous, which the bird requires to grow a healthy skeleton.

The wheat was tested on poultry in feed trials carried out at Nottingham Trent University’s Poultry Research Unit.

The poultry industry has been very successful in improving bird productivity, with growth rates increasing threefold over the last 50 years. However, in order to ensure that bird welfare is not compromised, particular attention has to be focused on ensuring that a healthy, well-developed skeletal frame is produced.

Nutritionists have tackled this issue through supplements, to ensure the correct mineral balance in the diet. A key component is phosphorous, a mineral found in plant tissues, grains and oil seeds and which is vital for skeletal growth and maintenance.

However, not only is phosphorous supplementation very expensive but also the phosphorous, from plant sources, present in the feed of poultry and pigs has a very low bio-availability, being bound up in a plant substance called phytate.

Phosphorous bound in phytate cannot be utilized by these monogastric animals because they have negligible amounts of the phytase enzyme in their gastrointestinal tract – which is needed to make the phosphorous from phytate bioavailable.

This anti-nutritional effect of phytate is estimated to cost animal producers billions of dollars a year. In addition to this, phytate-bound phosphorous, which is excreted, can have negative impact on the environment such as via eutrophication.

For the latest work, published in the journal Animal: An International Journal of Animal Bioscience, plant-breeding scientists from Aarhus University used their expertise to make it simple and efficient to breed wheat with naturally high levels of phytase.

Scientists in Nottingham Trent University’s poultry nutrition research team then designed and carried out a poultry nutrition trial to compare this new source of phytase to traditional poultry diet formulations. The trial shows that inclusion of the high phytase wheat in the feed is a highly effective way to unlock the phosphorous in the diet for use by the animal.

”Aiming for high phytase activity in wheat grains has been a key research target for many years,” said Dr Henrik Brinch-Pedersen, group leader at Aarhus University’s Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

”Reaching it was a milestone, but seeing that it works well in animal feeding is extremely satisfactory,” he added. “A particularly exciting additional implication of this work may actually be for humans. 700 million people globally suffer anaemia partly caused by the high phytate content of their diet. Providing a variety of wheat that contains its own phytate-destruction enzyme could improve the population health of many nations.”

”It has been exciting to explore a completely different way of providing meat chickens with the phosphorous needed for healthy bones,” said Dr. Emily Burton, head of the Poultry Research Unit in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences. ”We will be looking to explore further the possibilities of wheat-derived phytase, as emerging research in this field shows the anti-nutritional effects of phytate in poultry extends far beyond locking away phosphorous.”

”Wheat is the predominant ingredient used in poultry diets and over 50 per cent of all the wheat grown in the EU is used in the manufacture of animal feeds,” said Steve Wilson, monogastric nutritionist at the animal feed producers ForFarmers. “If the naturally occurring level of phytase in this major cereal can be increased then it can make a significant economic contribution to our aim to improve the efficiency and sustainability of future feed production.”

Plant Bioscience Ltd (PBL, Norwich, UK) – an independent technology management company specializing in plant, food and microbial science – was also involved in the study and funded the work. PBL is now working with partners in the plant breeding and feed industry to bring this innovation into use.
Published in Nutrition and Feed

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