FFA Student Anna Kelly Experimenting with Garlic Eggs

Anna Kelly Feeds Her Chickens Garlic to Flavor Their Eggs with Garlic

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

It’s a very interesting concept, garlic eggs. Flavoring freshly-laid eggs with garlic. How to do it is very simple, according to Anna Kelly with the West Sacramento FFA at River City High School, who is working with a Blue Ameraucana chicken. She had the idea of replicating what your grandparents may have done. They just fed their laying hens some garlic.

Blue Ameraucana Chicken

They wanted to try to change their chickens’ diets cause their chickens were not eating much

And low and behold, the eggs started tasting as if they were seasoned with garlic.

Kelly got the idea of feeding her chicken garlic as a research project.

“I took one garlic clove, and I fed it to my chicken, whose name is Monster, and she loved it,” said Kelly. “And every time when I gave her daily garlic, she would meet me up at her bedding, and it was so cute.”

She found that her chicken wanted the garlic, and sure enough, the eggs had a garlic taste. She asked her culinary arts teacher, Cheryle Sutton to see if she could cook one of her chicken’s garlic eggs. The teacher said okay.

“I cut it up, and I asked several of my teachers to try it,” Kelly said. “And it was amazing; the teachers said it tasted like an actual garlic egg. No salt and pepper, no other additional seasonings.”

“What I’m hoping is to grow my project more. I am incubating more chickens, and I’m going to put them on the same diet. I want to test different varieties of chickens to see which one’s eggs taste more like garlic eggs,” Kelly explained.

Eventually, she may grow the project into a wholesale operation supplying grocery stores with garlic-tasting eggs.

To hear a podcast with Anna Kelly on her garlic eggs experiment, click here.

Poultry Industry Doing Well, for Now

Poultry Industry Shines, Like a Canary in a Coal Mine

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation, based in Modesto, reported the state’s poultry industry is doing well despite new regulations and wage increases. “First of all,” he explained, “it looks like chicken has taken over as the [category of] highest meat consumption now in the United States. It’s getting more and more popular, so that’s good,” Mattos noted.

“Also, the best thing is the industry seems to be weathering the Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu (HPAI) A (H5N1) storm,” he continued. “In California, we’re doing our due diligence with biosecurity. We don’t have any Avian Influenza. We’ll knock on wood for that.”

California Poultry Federation logo“The industry is also enjoying lower feed costs. That’s 60% of our cost, so that’s good news,” he added.

And, poultry industry employees have job security. “It doesn’t look like there will be fewer employees in the industry over the next few years, and we’d like to have more,” he said.

Notwithstanding the good news, challenges loom on the near horizon. “The Air Quality and Water Quality Control Boards are regulating a lot of different industries,” Mattos observed. “They’re starting to look at the poultry industry now that they have completed the dairy rules. We’re very concerned about those issues, so we are trying to work with the boards to explain to them what we do and how our business runs,” noted Mattos.

The updated minimum wage requirement may hurt the California poultry industry, another big concern of Mattos. “We supply half the chicken consumed in California. The other half comes from out of state. Without the same minimum wage requirements, we’re going to be at a disadvantage. We’re looking into the different possibilities—what we can do—to offset that.”

“You will be seeing some new things coming out from the poultry industry as we look at the ramifications of the new minimum wage,” explained Mattos. “We can’t compete with that. They are going to be taking a lot more percentage away from us, which may cost us some jobs if we don’t work this out.”

“With the minimum wage hike, California lawmakers are trying to appease workers. But it really affects businesses. Ours happen to be mostly in the Central Valley, which is the hardest-pressed area for unemployment. It isn’t a good place to have to follow wage requirements like you’re seeing in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It frankly makes no sense in the Central Valley,” said Mattos.

USDA Proposes New Measures to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry Products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) proposed new federal standards to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in ground chicken and turkey products as well as raw chicken breasts, legs and wings. Development of these new standards is a major step in FSIS’ Salmonella Action Plan, launched in December 2013 to reduce Salmonella illnesses from meat and poultry products.

“Today, we are taking specific aim at making the poultry items that Americans most often purchase safer to eat,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This is a meaningful, targeted step that could prevent tens of thousands of illnesses each year.”

“These new standards, as well as improved testing patterns, will have a major impact on public health,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza. “The proposed changes are another way we’re working to meet the ever-changing food safety landscape and better protect Americans from foodborne illness.”

“Getting more germs out of the chicken and turkey we eat is an important step in protecting people from foodborne illness,” said Robert V. Tauxe, MD, deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I look forward to seeing fewer Americans get sick as a result of these proposed changes.”

A pathogen reduction performance standard is the measure that FSIS uses to assess the food safety performance of facilities that prepare meat and poultry products. By making the standards for ground poultry tougher to meet, ground poultry products nationwide will have less contamination and therefore result in fewer foodborne illnesses. FSIS implemented performance standards for whole chickens in 1996 but has since learned that Salmonella levels increase as chicken is further processed into parts. Poultry parts like breasts, wings and others represent 80 percent of the chicken available for Americans to purchase. By creating a standard for chicken parts, and by performing regulatory testing at a point closer to the final product, FSIS can greatly reduce consumer exposure to Salmonella and Campylobacter.

FSIS’ science-based risk assessment estimates that implementation of these standards would lead to an average of 50,000 prevented illnesses annually. FSIS intends to evaluate comments for 60 days and announce final standards and an implementation date this spring. The federal register notice is available on FSIS’ website at  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/federal-register-notices.

For chicken parts, ground chicken, and ground turkey, FSIS is proposing a pathogen reduction performance standard designed to achieve at least a 30 percent reduction in illnesses from Salmonella. For chicken parts, ground chicken, and ground turkey, FSIS is proposing a pathogen reduction performance standard designed to reduce illness from Campylobacter by at least 19 and as much as 37 percent.

FSIS plans to use routine sampling throughout the year rather than infrequently sampling on consecutive days to assess whether establishments’ processes are effectively addressing Salmonella and, where applicable, Campylobacter on poultry carcasses and other products derived from these carcasses.

 

California Turkey Industry Enjoys Excellent Year

California Turkey Producers and Processors Offer Wide Variety to Consumers and Benefit From Steady High Prices

For the last two weeks, grocery store meat departments have been catering to consumers looking for the perfect turkey.

According to Bill Mattos, President of the Modesto-based California Poultry Federation, it has been a great year for California turkey producers:

“This is probably one of the best years for turkey in many, many years for the farmer and the processor. The consumer still gets a bargain every Thanksgiving even though prices this year are higher [as] there are less turkeys in the nation. California fresh turkey was sold out from our processors two weeks before Thanksgiving. So, we were urging everyone who wanted California fresh turkey to get their order in early, and they may still be able to do that. The California farmer is offering everything from fresh and natural to organic to free range; you can find just about everything in your supermarket. It will be a very good year for turkey, and it will be a good year for chickens coming up as well. We look forward to 2015 because we think it will be even better than 2014.”

Mattos said that the turkey industry was careful to avoid oversupply, “The turkey industry didn’t grow crazy, and prices stayed at a pretty good level. They didn’t all start growing like farmers do sometimes as they all get into the business when prices are good. Turkey farmers held back and kept their supply even; however,  with very high beef, pork and other meat prices at this time of year, people look at turkey and even chicken as a bargain.”

As we all sit around the table with friends and family this Thanksgiving, we can be thankful for the California turkey producers and processors, as well as the farmers and farm workers who provide so much for the seasonal meals.