Tag Archives: Pork

The National Pork Board released the first report from its ambitious and comprehensive Insight to Actionresearch program. The report, Dinner at Home in America, examines the contextual occasions in which Americans are eating dinner in the home. The research identifies areas of growth opportunity for pork, serving up a bold new challenge to the pork industry: innovate or risk losing relevance with today’s – and more importantly tomorrow’s – consumer.

“People live, shop and eat differently today. The pork industry has tremendous momentum with consumers, and that can be leveraged further through innovation in product development, bringing contemporary eating solutions to consumers,” said Jarrod Sutton, vice president of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board. “This research helps us intimately understand the needs and constraints that influence consumer dining choices, and provides a clear path for industry innovation that is rooted in data.”

A First-Ever Research Approach for the Industry 
Dinner at Home in America is the first of several reports the National Pork Board will publish in 2019 as part of the Insight to Action research program. The research approach, which combines 10,000 interviews with demographic and spending data to provide a comprehensive look at how U.S. consumers eat, is a first-ever for the meat industry.

Altogether, the National Pork Board uncovered nine unique dining occasions, or needs states, happening in homes on any given night of the week, ranging from solo dining to celebrating with extended family. During the course of any week, the same person can experience multiple eating occasions as their needs throughout the week change.

Sutton emphasizes this research is groundbreaking because it goes further to answer questions around what people eat and why.

“We are looking at who is at the dinner table, but we move beyond that to pinpoint the varied dinner occasions occurring every night,” he said.  “With these insights, the industry can better understand the needs, behaviors and influences for each dining occasion. Most importantly, the research identifies opportunities for the industry to adapt and innovate.”

“Through its extensive research and analysis, the National Pork Board has curated provocative insights that the U.S. pork industry can act upon to best position pork to consumers,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “This is data that everyone at every step of the pork supply chain can use to better meet consumer needs and grow their business.”

Actionable Insights to Drive Innovation 
The Dinner at Home in America report provides the food industry a veritable roadmap for product innovation and positioning. The research identifies opportunities to respond to changing consumer behaviors and drive category growth in three areas:

  • Health: Educate consumers more effectively about the known health benefits, nutrient density and protein content of fresh and packaged pork cuts
  • Simplicity and Ease: Innovate packaging and cuts to keep pace with evolving consumer needs and demand for convenience best illustrated through portion size, precooked or pre-seasoned options, and cooking and temperature directions.
  • Versatility: Create meal solutions with pork as a key ingredient, moving beyond the old school thought of pork as a center-of-the-plate option only. Consumers seek diversity in their protein choice – from tacos to sandwiches and pasta to casseroles.

“These insights have influenced a new marketing strategy for the Pork Checkoff designed to address key perceptions about our product: tasty, healthy, easy, safe, and sustainable,” Sutton said. “The foundation for all of this work is research and data first.”

China is tightening rules for slaughterhouses as the nation deals with an outbreak of African swine fever.

This week, China’s Agriculture Ministry announced slaughterhouses must test for African swine fever on pig products before selling them to market. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the announcement from China’s agriculture ministry comes amid a new outbreak of the disease on the largest farm to date in northeastern China that is home to 73,000 pigs.

The new regulations take effect in February and require pigs from different origins to be slaughtered separately. If African swine fever is found, the facilities must cull all pigs and suspend operations for at least 48 hours. Last month,

China warned feed imports should be tested after finding the virus in a protein powder made from pig blood. China has reported more than 90 cases of the deadly virus since August.

DES MOINES, IOWA – America’s 60,000 pig farmers and their veterinarians are ending 2018 with recognition of their diligence to use medically important antibiotics in a strictly responsible way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s newly published Annual Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals cites 2017 data that shows a 33 percent decline in this most critical class of antibiotics intended for use in food animals. When added to the decline found in the 2016 data, it confirms a reduction of 43 percent in this class of antibiotics from the 2015 level.
“This report is another indicator of the hard work that my fellow pig farmers have been doing to reduce the need for antibiotics. We continue to work closely with our veterinarians to ensure that we use antibiotics responsibly and according to FDA-approved labels,” said National Pork Board President Steve Rommereim, a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “We’re committed to using antibiotics in a strategic way that focuses on animal health and well-being, as well as to protecting overall public health.”

Veterinarian Dave Pyburn, senior vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, says that while the new report is not a perfect estimate of antibiotic use at the farm level, it clearly shows a downward trend in antibiotic use intended for food animals. He also notes that this latest data reflects what happened after the pork industry’s successful implementation in January 2017 of the Veterinary Feed Directive, which banned the use of medically important antibiotics for growth-promotion use.

“It was a relatively smooth transition after the Veterinary Feed Directives went into effect,” Pyburn said. “Thanks to well-planned and well-executed education programs implemented by the pork industry long before that date, producers, veterinarians and allied industry personnel were prepared to modify their procedures. This was a clear example of how the pork industry adapts to do their part in protecting antibiotics for human and animal health. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

The FDA report shows that the overall usage of antibiotics in livestock is the lowest since the report began in 2009. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics reports, America’s pig farmers produced over 121 million market hogs in 2017 at an average weight of 282 pounds. This is an increase of 16 pounds per pig since 2009, when production stood at roughly 113 million market hogs. Comparing these figures indicates that today’s pig farmers are using far less antibiotics per pound of pork produced than ever before.

“When viewing this data with a scientific lens, I clearly see that America’s pig farmers are on the right track in their antibiotic stewardship,” said public health veterinarian Heather Fowler, director of producer and public health with the National Pork Board. “The industry is not complacent either. We’re proud of our ongoing collaboration with some of the best researchers in the world develop antibiotic on-farm metrics. We are working with diverse stakeholders to continually improve antibiotic stewardship for the health of people, pigs and the planet.”

As an example of this cooperative approach to antibiotic stewardship, the National Pork Board, along with the National Pork Producers Council, recently announced a partnership with the Farm Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts and many others to introduce a comprehensive framework to strengthen antibiotic stewardship to protect animal and public health. The stakeholders agree that the use of medically important antibiotics in all settings, from human health care to livestock production, must be carefully managed to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and preserve the effectiveness of vital drugs. The framework defines effective stewardship, outlines its core components and describes essential characteristics of effective stewardship programs, including key performance measures.

In addition to the two pork groups, organizations that agree with the framework include: Elanco Animal Health, Hormel Foods, Jennie-O Turkey Store, McDonald’s Corporation, National Milk Producers Federation, National Turkey Federation, Smithfield Foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, Walmart Inc. and Zoetis.

“There is a broad consensus across the food animal industry that we must continue to drive and demonstrate antibiotic stewardship in animal agriculture,” said Joe Swedberg, chairman of the board of Farm Foundation. “This framework is about stakeholders coming together to do the right thing and to communicate their commitment to antibiotic stewardship with a transparent and meaningful approach.”

The 15 core components of the antibiotic stewardship framework are based on the importance of veterinary guidance and partnership, disease prevention strategies and optimal treatment approaches, as well as effective record keeping and a culture of continuous improvement and commitment to antibiotic stewardship. The components address education, implementation and evaluation steps for phasing in stewardship programs. The framework’s guiding principles are intended to help ensure that stewardship programs have a clear scientific basis, are transparent, minimize the risk of unintended consequences, encourage alternatives to antibiotics and focus on long-term sustainability.

Rommereim says the Pork Checkoff is on their right path forward to make additional progress on antibiotic stewardship.

“We will make continuous improvement in antibiotic stewardship through additional Checkoff-funded antibiotic research and collaboration with those who share our objectives to protect animal and public health,” Rommereim said. “We can make the U.S. pork industry even more sustainable into the future.”

The European Union parliament this week approved the EU-Japan trade agreement. The agreement removes tariffs on 97 percent of European exports, with agriculture exports seeing significant tariff reductions. The pact will enter into force Feb. 1, 2019. In addition, the 11 nation CPTPP regional trade agreement will come into effect on December 30 with a second round of tariff cuts coming again on April 1, 2019. In 2016, Japanese consumers purchased almost $1.6 billion of U.S. pork products. With the CPTPP deal and the EU-Japan trade pact in place, U.S. pork is at risk of losing market share in one its largest export markets. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to expeditiously negotiate a trade agreement with Japan to avoid market share loss.

As of early December, China is reporting more than 80 cases of African swine fever (ASF) in 17 provinces and four municipalities, including Beijing, the capitol. Despite the best efforts by Chinese officials, the disease does not appear to be slowing its geographic spread.

At the recent Midwest Pork Conference held in Indiana, state veterinarian, Brett Marsh offered some insight into China’s current status. “We had hoped, of course, with the steps taken by the Chinese government that they could contain the virus,” he said. “That’s clearly not been the case as we continue to get new cases reported in new provinces.”

As reported by Hoosier Ag Today, Marsh says it’s imperative that producers are looking for things that are out of the ordinary or unusual. He says ASF won’t produce blisters on the snout or at the top of the hoof like some other diseases.

Marsh said, “Producers know their swine. They’re with them every day. They’ll know long before someone like me would know (that something is wrong), and so it’s critical that they’re looking for those unusual events.”

Marsh adds that updating your Premises ID will be critical should an outbreak ever occur here in the U.S. He also says there needs to be a strong relationship between you and your vet, and your vet and the state veterinarian’s office.

Other FADs in China
Aside from the battle with ASF, China is also fighting other foreign animal diseases (FADs) such as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Xinjiang province in the country’s far northwest. The reported case killed 46 pigs and infected 108 of the farm’s 331 pigs. In addition, China still has classical swine fever within its borders despite some improvement with the use of vaccinations. However, no regions have been declared free of the disease.

Status quo for ASF in Europe
Meanwhile in Europe, ASF continues its slow spread primarily via feral pig populations. The virus remains very limited in Belgium, but other nations have wider infections, including Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, the Baltics, Bulgaria and points east. Of course, Africa remains the origin of the virus where herds remain infected.