Weekly Overview: Poultry Farmers in the Human Health and Nutrition Business

ANALYSIS - Poultry producers should consider themselves in the human health business, according to a professor from Dublin extolling the health benefits of eggs for people of all ages at a recent conference. The growing human population and rising economies are shifting food consumption patterns and will continue to do so but a new report suggests these trends will go in a new direction.
calendar icon 29 November 2012
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Professor Patrick Wall of University College Dublin last week urged egg producers to think of themselves as being in the human health business, stressing the excellent nutrition offered by the egg to people of all ages, particularly to the elderly who require plenty of easily digestible protein for good health and mobility. Eggs are also good sources of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to promote good eye health, he said.

Speaking at the annual meeting on the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), he reminded the audience that not all cholesterol is bad; it is excessive saturated fat intake that increases 'bad' cholesterol in the body and not egg consumption.

Food safety has to be the top priority, said Professor Wall, adding that the Lion scheme and labelling of every egg have been 'phenomenally successful' for the UK egg industry in this respect.

The growth of the global population to reach over nine billion by 2050 is expected to change global consumption, supply and demand patterns for food.

Population growth and the growing wealth in the developing nations are changing consumption trends, according to an expert from Cropnosis. In China and South East Asia, the migration of the population from the rural to the urban economy is changing the demand for a more protein-rich diet. However, the change in consumption patterns may not be so much a change from cereals to meat and fish, but one to more edible oils and more milk and dairy products.

Such a change and a pattern of growth will not only have an effect on the economies of developed and developing nations but also on agriculture and the demand for different crops.

Turning to other news, with the US election of 2012 over, it may be a good thing that the forthcoming debate over the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic budget cuts and tax increases coincides with the ongoing debate over the US Farm Bill.

Lameness is an important production and welfare issue in turkeys, as in other livestock. Some recent developments to minimise the issue reveal the need for a multifactorial approach to meeting the challenges of the different leg and foot conditions.

And finally, turning to news of bird flu, the low-pathogenic form has been found in a layer flock in Taiwan. There have been no new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (caused by the H7N7 subtype of the virus) in Australia; however, the Philippines has imposed an immediate ban on poultry imports from that country.

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