Monday, December 30, 2013

Animal Fat in our Diets

Yesterday's Blog posting (see Dietary Fat:   Cure or Curse?) covered the quackery of  Keyes on dietary fat and cholesterol, and the terrible impact it has had on the entire world for more than 60 years.

Today, we will contrast and compare the pros, cons, and differences between dietary fats sourced from chicken, beef, and pork.

This is an extremely complex subject, yet the Supply Management Mafia (#ChickenMafia, #EggMafia, #TurkeyMafia, and #DairyMafia) mess around with our food, changing the animal's metabolism at their whim so as to maximize their profits, regardless of the Frankenstein-like effects on the resulting foods that are produced.  After the #ChickenMafia gets done maximizing their profits, is what they sell to us still food?

Even more important, is it nutritious food?

Eating Fat
We must have fat in our diets. Between 1929 and 1932, Burr and Burr showed that restricting fat from animal's diets led to a deficiency disease, and they were the first to describe essential fatty acids.  Essential Fatty Acids ("EFA's) are essential because the human body cannot synthesize them, so we must obtain them through a balanced diet.

Triglycerides and fatty acids are different forms of similar fat molecules, and are changed back and forth between these two forms of fat by our bodies, depending upon what the body needs the most at that moment in time.   Healthy Eating explains that:
"The triglycerides in the foods you eat are too large for the cells of your small intestine to take in. Digestion reduces these [triglyceride] molecules to fatty acids and monoglycerides small enough for absorption. By mixing with bile secreted from your liver, the fat molecules become water soluble enough for the digestive enzyme lipase to access the fat and break down each triglyceride."
Those fatty acids, monoglycerides (and diglycerides which weren't mentioned above), are absorbed by the small intestine and formed with cholesterol and a protein backbone into chylomicrons, which get transported by the lymph system, and eventually go into the blood stream.  The blood distributes the chyomicrons throughout the body to all cells in need of energy, including the heart, liver, fat cells, and muscle where they deliver triglycerides that are used as cellular energy, and/or are further reacted into other simpler and/or more complex molecules that the body needs.  Once the triglycerides have been delivered, the remnants of the chylomicron are recycled by the liver.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Most scientists agree that Omega-3 fatty acids are important in our diets for cellular health, and disease prevention. Omega-3 fatty acids are Essential Fatty Acids ("EFA's).  Omega-3's come in 3 varieties:
  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), is a poly-unsaturated fatty acid ("PUFA"), which is mainly plant sourced from flax seeds, walnuts, etc.  ALA is used to form EPA (see next item in list). Don't confuse linoleic acid ("LA") with alpha-linolenic acid ("ALA"), as LA is an Omega-6 fatty acid.

  • EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), is a Poly-unsaturated fatty acid ("PUFA"), derived from human breast milk, edible seaweed, and oily cold water fish.  EPA is formed from ALA.  EPA is used by the human body to create DHA.  EPA has some beneficial health effects against inflammation, hyperactivity, chemotherapy adjuvent, and liver health.

  • DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), is a poly-unsaturated fatty acid ("PUFA"), comes from human breast milk, synthesized by the human body from EPA, or dietary cold water fish oils that are consumed.  DHA has been shown to be helpful to fight some cancers, Alzheimer's, and possibly ADHD (hyperactivity). 
ALA, EPA, and DHA are all active in the formation of eicosanoids (a.k.a. icosanoids); see below

Omega-3 to Omega-6 Ratios
Wiki says that modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in excess of 10 to 1, some people as high as 30 to 1, partly due to cheap corn oil which has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 49:1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower.  While the Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio is important, the total amount consumed of either fatty acid is also important, as excessive consumption can be a health problem too.
Figure 1: from Stephan Guyenet

Stephan Guyenet looked at the research done on the composition of human body fat over time.  There is a disturbing change in human body fat composition over the last 47 years.  Note that this period is the same period during which many diseases have increased to pandemic proportions (eg. obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, Metabolic Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, etc.).  Looking at Figure 1, each of the dots represent a separate study showing the %  linoleic fatty acid (%LA, an Omega-6 fatty acid known for causing inflammation related diseases) in human subcutaneous fat (21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27) as shown in Figure 1, plus one study (28) of comparative chimpanzee data..  Linoleic acid in human breast milk has also increased quite a bit over the same time period (29).

This data seems to suggest we are overdosing on Omega-6 vegetable oils in our diet, and the damage is accumulative over time.  Secondly, the factory farms of N. America have significantly changed the animal fat composition over the last 50 years, dramatically raising the linoleic acid content of these animals, and therefore in turn, the linoleic acid content of the factory meat that most persons eat.

San Francisco Chronicle reports:
"The biggest sources of linoleic acid in the American diet tend to be processed foods. The top sources of dietary linoleic acid in America include chicken and chicken dishes [emphasis by SFPFC], grain-based desserts, salad dressing, potato and corn chips, pizza, bread, french fries and pasta dishes, according to the National Cancer Institute. Mayonnaise, eggs, popcorn and processed meats are also significant sources."
"The reason many of the above foods contain linoleic acid is because they're made with vegetable oil. In America, "vegetable oil" tends to refer to soybean, corn and safflower oils, all of which contain a high percentage of linoleic acid. About 75 percent of the fatty acid content in safflower oil comes from linoleic acid; for corn and soybean oil, it's between 55 and 60 percent. One tablespoon of safflower oil contains about 10 grams linoleic acid. Sunflower oil contains about 9 grams linoleic acid per tablespoon; corn and soybean oil 7 grams; and sesame oil 5.6 grams."

"Nuts and seeds with high linoleic acid content include sunflower seeds at 9.7 grams per 1-ounce serving; pine nuts, 9.4 grams; pecans, 6.4 grams; and Brazil nuts, 5.8 grams. The linoleic acid content of dairy and meat products varies based on the diets and lifestyles of the animals they come from. A study published in the "Journal of Dairy Science" found that, on average, the linoleic acid content of cheeses ranges from 3.5 to 8 grams per serving. Blue, brie and Swiss cheeses had higher linoleic acid content than other types. The linoleic acid content in milk ranged from 3.4 to 6.4 grams per serving."
Dietary Omega-6 fatty acids are usually consumed as vegetable oils (eg. deep fat frying, salad dressings, snack foods, and processed foods).  We'll discuss this tomorrow. 

All of the Omega-6:Omega-3 fat ratios for various animal sources can be significantly shifted by what the animal has been fed during its raising (eg. agricultural factory owners feeding their animals the slaughter by-products such as hooves, lungs, bones, hides, feathers, chicken manure, unfit or stale candy, sawdust, used deep fat fryer oils, stale bake goods, beer and alcohol by-products, green pasture grass, hay, grain fed, grain-finished, kitchen scraps, restaurant plate scrapings, ground up dead animals, etc.).  In addition, many of the Supply Management Mafia feed a multitude of drugs and chemicals to their animals so as to maximize their profits.  For example:
  • Mercola states that grass-fed beef is much higher in Omega 3 than fish, with a Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio of 0.16 to 1. This information is from a study done at Iowa State University in August 2001.  This is supported by a separate 2006 study of Australian beef.

  • A 2010 study supported these previously mentioned studies, and also found that compared to grain-fed feedlot beef, grass-fed beef had significantly higher Vitamin A, Vitamin E, antioxidants, and conjugated linoleic acid ("CLA", conjugated meaning that the double bonds and single bonds alternate, such as DSDSDS.  CLA's have been found to have very positive health impact, such as preventing cancers.  See CLA's described further below).

  • Another study found that beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids dropped continuously in the beef muscle tissue, the longer the steer was in residence on a grain-fed feedlot.  See Figure 2
    Figure 2 (from )


Wikipedia says:
"Eicosanoids are signaling molecules made by oxidation of 20-carbon fatty acids. They exert complex control over many bodily systems, mainly in inflammation or immunity, and as messengers in the central nervous system. The networks of controls that depend upon eicosanoids are among the most complex in the human body.

Eicosanoids are derived from either omega-3 (ω-3) or omega-6 (ω-6) fatty acids. The ω-6 eicosanoids are generally pro-inflammatory [ie. they cause inflammation]; ω-3s are much less so. The amounts and balance of these fats in a person's diet will affect the body's eicosanoid-controlled functions, with effects on cardiovascular disease, triglycerides, blood pressure, and arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and other NSAIDs act by downregulating eicosanoid synthesis."
Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 compete for the limited supply of intermediary metabolites that must be shared in the formation of their respective eicosanoids.  Due to this poor starting point (ie. there is a dietary excess of bad Omega-6 in the typical diet), therefore limiting the formation of eicosanoids will tend to be more limiting on the Omega-6 eicosanoid formation on a relative basis, thereby significantly reducing the Omega-6 eicosanoids that are associated with inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

As an example of this process, Aspirin thins the blood (making it easier to pump so blood pressure drops), reduces inflammation, and limits the formation of eicosanoids (which is mainly Omega-6 eicosanoids as discussed above), thereby significantly improving overall health, reducing heart attacks and strokes, reducing mortality, and extending the high quality years of life.  That is the justification behind prescribing the taking of a baby aspirin every day, which is now used by millions of people around the world.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid ("CLA")

Wikipedia describes the discovery of CLA, as follows:
"In 1979, researchers from the University of Wisconsin applied a beef extract to mice skin. The mice were then exposed to a strong carcinogen. When the researchers counted the number of tumors developed by the mice 16 weeks later, they found to their surprise that the mice exposed to the beef extract had 20% fewer tumors. The identity of this anticarcinogen was not discovered until almost a decade later, in 1987. Michael Pariza, the scientist who discovered CLA, later remarked that 'few anticarcinogens, and certainly no other known fatty acids, are as effective as CLA in inhibiting carcinogenesis [ie. CLA stops or slows the formation of cancers] in these models.' "
Since then, there is a growing body of research on CLA's, both from naturally occurring CLA's in foods, as well as dietary supplements.

Other researchers have found CLA effective for treating or preventing cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's Disease, % body fat regulation, enhancing human breast milk, BMI (Body Mass Index) control, and enhancing lean muscle development.

Generally, CLA's only occur in animal fats and meat, but two mushrooms have been found that also contain significant levels of CLA, Agaricus bisporus (a.k.a. white mushroom, common mushroom, button mushroom, crimini mushroom, Portobello mushroom) and Agaricus subrufescens (a.k.a. almond mushroom); both of which are rare non-animal sources of CLA.

Kangaroo meat has the highest natural concentration of CLA's, but grass-fed animals (ie. beef, pork, chicken, etc.) have CLA levels that are naturally 3 to 5 times higher than the factory farm and their typical commercial methods using grain feeds and/or silage.  CLA also occurs in eggs from pastured chickens, and can be a significant dietary source of CLA on a natural basis.

CLA is another clear advantage of the small flock, pastured animals methodology.

Animal Fats
Figure 2 (from )
  • Tallow is a rendered (ie. cooked) form of beef or mutton fat, while suet is the non-rendered form (ie. straight from the animal carcass).  Tallow is often composed of 47% Oleic acid, 26% Palmitic acid, 14% Stearic acid, 3% Myristic, 3% Lineolic, 3% Palmitoleic fatty acids (ie. 50% saturated, 42% mono-unsaturated, and 4% poly-unsaturated).
Researchers found a dramatic drop in total fat for grass-fed pastured animals, as compared to grain-fed typical factory farm methods.

Note that mono-unsaturated fats lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL cholesterol.  The principal fats in red meat, bacon, and eggs are not saturated fats (ie. the fats that raise LDL cholesterol).  Red meat, bacon, and eggs are principally mono-unsaturated fats, the same fat that occurs in olive oil, which is almost universally considered one of the healthiest oils.  About 70% of the meat's fat will improve both LDL and HDL levels (if compared to the alternative of consuming carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, or pasta).  The other 30% of the fat will raise both LDL and HDL, and therefore will have little effect on the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol (See p. 168 of Good Calories, Bad Calories).

Therefore, eating fatty meat (rather than a high carb meal of potatoes, bread, or pasta) would lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.  The same argument can be made for lard, bacon, chicken, and eggs.
  • Lard is pig fat, whether rendered or non-rendered.  Lard is 45% mono-unsaturated, 39% saturated, and 11% poly-unsaturated.  These fat ratios can be significantly shifted by what the pig has been fed.

  • Chicken fat from the #ChickenMafia is noted for being high in linoleic acid, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acid.  Linoleic acid levels are between 17.9% and 22.8%.  These fat ratios can be significantly shifted by what the chicken has been fed.  Chicken factory feeding methods tend to minimize the healthy effects.  Small flock and pasture raised chickens tend to maximize the healthy effects.

    Cross Roads Farm reported the following:
    "A recent USDA-funded study between pasture-raised chickens and confinement chickens revealed the following: The pasture-raised chickens had 21% less total fat, 30% less saturated fat, and 28% fewer calories. The pastured chickens also had 50% more Vitamin A and a whopping 100% more Omega-3 fatty acids."
    From a culinary perspective, here are a few opinions from a chef and homemaker on the pragmatic differences between free-range chicken and the chicken factory variety.
In one study, scientists compared free-range pastured chicken that consumed just 5% DM (Dry Matter) from the pasture (ie. 95% DM grain-based chicken feed), to chicken raised in similar low intensity pens but without access to pasture (ie. 100% grain-fed chickens).  It is not surprising that there was no significant difference in the meats produced by these two groups when only a 5% dietary intake of pasture occurred.  Given the choice of high energy, palatable and satiating chicken feed, most animals would choose the easy road, as the chickens did in this case.
Other studies have found significant differences in the fats and nutritiousness of the meat between pasture raised chickens vs. chicken factory, high stress, high intensity lifestyles.
From the book Eating on the Wild Side, and its website, we learn:
  • One researcher found that when chickens are housed indoors and deprived of greens, their meat and eggs also become artificially low in omega-3s.  Eggs from pastured hens can contain as much as 10 times more omega-3s than eggs from factory hens.
Knowing these results, #EggMafia factory farms have resorted to supplementing their factory chicken feed with Omega-3 fatty acids at significant cost, which of course are passed on to consumers by the "Omega-3 egg" premium prices.  However, this doesn't even come close to the Omega-3 levels in eggs from pasture raised chickens, all occurring naturally.
In summary, it appears that small flock methodologies for pastured chicken are far superior to the mega chicken factory methods of the #ChickenMafia.

Omega-3 Enhanced Eggs

One health diet website responded to a question about the benefits from Omega-3 enhanced chicken eggs available at retail stores as follows:
"Recent studies suggest that in order for an egg to have an omega 6:omega 3 ratio close to the 2:1 that is thought to be favourable according to Paleolithic principles, the hen producing the egg would require a special feed beyond that of simply being free range. A 2009 study found that "omega-3 enriched eggs" contained an omega 6:omega 3 ratio of 2.27:1, whereas both "organic free range" and conventional eggs maintained a ratio of 10:1 (Samman et al. 2009).
Other studies have mentioned that the nutrient composition of the egg varies greatly with the feed given to the hen, and that consuming eggs modified to deliver higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids "may lend a health advantage" (Shapira et al. 2010, p. 273)."

"Additionally, in response to your idea of absorption by the human body, I agree with the comment above that suggests the chicken does most of the processing. Ferrier et al. (1995) and Oh et al. (1991) both demonstrated that consumption of omega-3 fats from eggs were reflected in the blood profiles of humans - suggesting their easy assimilation. In fact, chickens are thought to be great 'factories' for making nutrients bio-available to humans (hence the wealth of literature suggesting all kinds of 'designer' eggs rich in antioxidants and such)."
 Others suggest that rather than buying Omega-3 enhanced eggs at significantly higher cost, it would be cheaper and just as healthy (or more healthy) to eat cheaper regular eggs (or better yet, more healthy pasture-raised eggs), plus sprinkle some flax seed on top of your regular diet.

Tomorrow, we will look at vegetable oils in our diets, as compared to animal fats.  Is canola oil superior to chicken fat?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dietary Fat: Cure or Curse?

One of the most controversial subject of today is dietary fat.  Sounds like a juicy subject to explore.

Some people feel that:
  • Chicken fat is a natural, back-to-basics, organic, healthy comfort food.
  • Chicken fat used to fit into the former category (ie. it was deemed to be good for us, and tasted good too), but in the last 50 years, chicken meat and fat has been morphed by "modern agriculture" into a Frankenstein, mutated poison that must be totally shunned and banned from all diets.
  • Chicken meat and fat, like all (or almost all) other animal meats and fats, need to be reduced or eliminated from our diets (ie. go vegetarian).

Could all of the above be true simultaneously?

One problem we have to watch out for is the mis-information and pet theories not supported by facts, and medical quackery.  As Mark Twain said,

“It's not what you don't know that kills you,  it's what you know
that just isn't so.”

One infamous dietary quack was Ancel Keyes, who developed the Lipid Hypothesis in the 1950's that blamed dietary cholesterol and saturated fat for cardiovascular disease.  Keyes had gathered reliable health data from 22 countries, but cherry-picked the data from just 7 of those 22 countries; choosing only the data that supported his theory.  He discounted, rejected, hid, disguised, and ignored any data that went against his pet theory.

Due to his non-scientific fraud, and his continual life-long defense of his quackery like a rabid dog, Keyes got on the cover of Time magazine, testified before the US Congress, and received millions in government research funding, and scientific notoriety.

Once something is "learned", it is hard to get the public to "un-learn" it.  Today, we are still trying to recover from Ancel Keyes' quackery and his plain wrong superstitions, more than 60 years later.

In 1972, Dr. Atkins was one of the first to speak out against Keyes' quackery.

By then, Keyes and his multitude of supporters had their professional careers and funding source tightly bonded to the continuation of Keyes' quackery.  Keyes lead the attack against Atkins, attempting to discredit Atkins, thereby enabling Keyes' gravy train and scientific fame to continue a little longer.  Unfortunately, Keyes and his supporters were mostly successful.  A few independent thinkers discovered that Atkin's had done his homework, that Atkin's science was sound, and it worked in the real world.

An excellent history of these struggles is given by an award-winning investigative reporter, Gary Taubes with his 2002 article in the New York Times.

Gary Taubes went on to do further research, then wrote the definitive literature review (big & thick, with references to all the scientific literature sources) on dietary fat, calories, and healthy diets in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories.  Subsequently, he wrote Why we get Fat in 2011.

I recommend both of Gary Taubes' books, depending on the depth of knowledge you wish to obtain.

Tomorrow, we will investigate the differences, pros, and cons in the dietary fat & oils from beef, pork, and chicken.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Urban Farming Guerrillas for Chickens

On June 5, 2013 CBC Radio in Montreal spoke with a family that received a chicken eviction notice for harboring 4 chickens in their backyard.

Pierre Provost with his wife Sophie Séguin state it's a "way of life".  Note that SFPFC's Philosophies Item # 15 speaks of "a way of life" too.

Small Flockers understand and supports, even if few others do.

There is talk of an underground movement for supporting and defying the Montreal by-law.  In June 2013, this issue was the first to be able to activate the municipal public meetings and review of the By-law by the huge response to the petition in support of backyard chickens.

What should this say to government officials?

Protest Song: The Chicken Rebellion

We now have the lyrics to a half baked protest song, to cheer us through our struggles and spread the word.

As this is the first song lyrics I have ever written, I'm sure many of you can do a lot better.  We need a whole songbook.  If you are willing to write it for free and donate it to the cause, SFPFC is willing to share with you on a 50/50 basis for any royalties that are created as it goes #1 on Billboard pop singles.

A friend of mine has been asked to set it to music, so we will soon have a melody to go with it.

Here it is, enjoy:

The Chicken Rebellion

Greed and unfair marks the chicken millionaire,
Factory farms are stained, but few are aware.
Protected by government, he rakes it in,
The poor will stay hungry, they can never win.

Small Flockers are oppressed, but we'll soon be free
Small Flockers have good food for you and for me,
We will fight for our rights, just you wait and see,
Fight Supply Management monopoly.

No sunlight or grass, but many dirty deeds,
Drugs and chemicals to the chickens he feeds.
Too much feed too fast, the chickens will be changed,
To millionaire's gold, but the food is deranged.


Three times the price for the chicken we pay,
Free superbugs are added most every day,
Few chicken exports the millionaires seek,
Exports are tough, but Canadian people are weak.


Canadians are weak, as we sleep
Millionaires think we are sheep
But soon Canadians will awake
The day of the millionaires' wake.


© 2013 Glenn Black
All rights assigned to SFPFC

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ontario's Chicken Election

Will the upcoming Ontario election be decided by the chicken issue?
Tim Hudak, Ontario MPP, Leader of the ON PC Party. 
Hudak is nose to nose with more than the Ontario Liberals

In a previous Blog posting (see Enough is Enough! Supreme Court has Ruled), I suggested that a small shift of just 6% in voters intentions could shift the popular vote in favor of the PC's, and a 10% shift if the NDP are to be in the lead.

In a more recent poll on Nov. 26, 2013, Forum Research says Ontario voters favor the PC with 38%, Liberals 32%, NDP with 23%, the Greens with 6%, and all others 1%.

Due to the distribution of votes in the various ridings, this is estimated to produce 47 (43.9%) seats for the PC, 44 for the Liberals, and 16 for the NDP; which is another minority government.

In speaking with Torstar News Services, Forum Research said that the PC would need up to 42% of the popular vote for an outright win; equating to an 8% gain in popular votes.  While it doesn't seem like much, the PC's have failed to do it, in spite of numerous attempts over time.  PC's are heavy winners of rural votes, but lack the urban centres where most of the votes are.  Could #ChickenMafia be the issue that launches the PC's forward to the finish line?

Perhaps the PC's need a secret weapon, a #ChickenMafia killer to ignite the citizens and rally them all together against a shared and mutually beneficial issue, reducing the power and oppression of the #ChickenMafia.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Not Good Enough

The U.S. National Chicken Council ("USNCC") thinks that 99.9% safety is good enough, but it isn't.

As Blogged previously (see Oops! They Did It Again!), Consumer Reports testing of retail chicken found that virtually all of US retail chicken is contaminated with deadly pathogens.

Remember, about 25% of the chicken sold in Canada comes from the USA.  If you think the US exports only the good stuff, and keep all the contaminated chicken for the unsuspecting American consumers (or the US school lunch program), start laughing now.

USNCC says that 99.9% of US chicken servings are consumed safely every day.  The #ChickenMafia feels they should be allowed to continue producing bio-hazardous foods, because proper handling and cooking will eliminate the bacterial risks.

What do you say, Mr. & Mrs. Consumer?

Note that if consumers don't speak up, the USNCC and #ChickenMafia will win the non-argument by default.  If you don't choose to act, you've still made a choice.

If 99.9% isn't good enough, just how good do they have to be?  USDA reports that 8 Billion chickens are processed each year.  Assuming 8 servings of 1/4 pound each per typical serving size, that's 64 Billion servings of chicken per year.  If just 99.9% are safely served, that means 0.01% result in food poisoning per year, or 6.4 million cases of food poisoning per year from contaminated chicken.

In Total quality, quality excellence, Six Sigma, and similar types of modern quality management systems, they suggest the goal should be no defects that reach the consumer within the life expectancy of the food process, which might mean a 40 year period.

At 64 Billion servings per year for a total life expectancy of 40 years, that's a total of 2.56 Trillion servings of chicken.  For no food poisoning incidents in that 40 year period, the #ChickenMafia needs to operate at an AOQL (Average Outgoing Quality Level) of less than 2.56 parts per trillion.

Not even Six Sigma is good enough in this case.

The wimpy, weak-kneed, mediocrity of just 99.9% good is just 2.56 Billion times too low.

Not even close.

If you think this is way too close to perfection, you can feel free to be the lead volunteer for a suicide mission, life long disability, or severe acute illness from unprotected exposure to contaminated chicken.

One illness is one too many.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seasonal Greetings

Spicy thanks and warm wishes to:

  • All poultry birds in Canada and world-wide, without whom there would be many poultry farmers out of work;

  • All those who choose to do animal husbandry with the feathered flocks, keeping them well cared for until their final destiny;

  • All those who have access to nutritious, affordable poultry meats and eggs, and choose to partake;

  • All those who need and want affordable food, and will hopefully be able to soon get some, both now and forever more;

  • The governments and tart mandarins that garnish, enable, support, and assist all that we do;

  • The  CSIS, CSEC, BIAS, DFAIT, CSEC, RCMP, DND, SIGINT, CSE, HIC, FVEY, STONEGHOST, UKUSA, FAD, 9-Eyes, 14-Eyes, GCHQ, CIA, NSA, MI-5, and all other groups so secret that they themselves don't realize they exist, while they patiently listen, record, store, track, and metadata compile all that is written here (see here and here);

  • All those poultry activists, deviant misfits, uninformed citizens who are slowly awakening, and fossilized bureaucrats around the world who read, comment, or hide out herein while they are hacked, tracked, metadata indexed, IP-addressed, and GPS co-ordinated;

that we may all recognize and accept the existence of all other factions, share openly, learn about each other, find common ground, and develop a shared and mutually acceptable vision for the future.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ontario Chicken Prices

How does Ontario chicken prices vary?  SFPFC's Market Research Dept. (me) has been collecting data on a haphazard non-scientific basis from 2013-11-28 to 2013-12-22.
Figure 1: Basic statistics for Ontario chicken meat prices, $/kg

The basic statistics in Figure 1 for the chicken meat prices in Ontario, shows the minimum, median, mode, average, maximum, standard deviation,  and coefficient of variation (%).

The minimum chicken price found by SFPFC's survey was $4.98/kg on 2013-11-28 at GG's Grocery Store (small independent) in Little Current Ontario for "VCP Chic Leg Quarters".  I was told "VCP" was short form for "Value Club Pack", meaning it was a large tray of chicken, for "buy in bulk" savings.

Figure 2:   He PingPing (on left), the world's shortest man at
that time, just 2 ft 5.37 in (74.61 cm) tall, died in 2011 at the
age of 21.  On He PingPing's right is the world's
currently tallest man. Sultan Kosen, 8 ft 1 in (246.5 cm).
 These two men have a height ratio of 3.30
The Median is the value where 50% of the prices are higher, and 50% are lower.  When a high %CV occurs (see below), the Median is often more representative of the sample population than the Average value. The Mode is the most frequently occurring price.

A CV of 52.36% is quite excessive.  Another way of showing this large variation in values within this population is that the maximum price is 6.02 times the minimum price.

As a comparison for this degree of
variation within a population, note that the world record tallest man was 8 ft. 11" tall, while the world record shortest man was 1 ft. 10" tall, which is a 4.86 ratio of heights.  In Figure 2 we see the 2011 meeting of the current record holders, who had a 3.3 height ratio.  The all time record is 4.86 for human max/min height ratio.

Compare that to the Ontario chicken market with a max/min price ratio of 6.02 

Figure 3: Histogram of Ontario Chicken Prices, $/kg
The histogram of the 46 data points for Ontario chicken prices are shown in Figure 3.

When we look at the histogram in Figure 3, we can likely see at least two separate distributions or populations that are combined together in the marketplace.  The first distribution appears to be from $4.98/kg to around $25/kg, which seems to be the bargain basement, plain chicken cuts.  The second distribution seems to go from $25/kg to $29.975/kg. which are the premium, branded, prepared (eg. seasoned, specialty, etc.) chicken, or pre-cooked ready to serve chicken.

The description of the various cuts of chicken may give us a clue as to the reasons for the wide variation in prices.
Figure 4: Ontario chicken meat prices $/kg. vs. type of cut
and other specifications

It appears that sequence of prices from the lowest cost to the highest cost is:
  • chicken legs
  • whole chickens
  • flattened whole seasoned chickens, back missing
  • chicken thighs
  • chicken breasts
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • organic chicken
  • PC Free (no antibiotics) chicken
  • cooked & sliced chicken
  • branded boneless, skinless chicken breast
It appears that some processors are trying to get super premium pricing, but this isn't totally successful, as these sky-high prices likely result in significant losses from expired product that never sold, or discounted product as the expiry date approaches.

In a previous Blog posting (see Chicken Price Parity:  Will it ever come? and Chicken Monopoly Pricing), I showed that the Canadian chicken price as defined by Statistics Canada was steadily increasing by 3.54%/yr for the last 17 years.  Returning to StatsCan's CANSIM Table 326-0012  we find that the Canada-wide chicken price as of Nov. 2013 is $6.99/kg.  SFPFC's average price for Nov. - Dec. 2013 was $13.63/kg., which is 1.95 times Stats Can average price.

Stats Can data is for farm gate pricing paid to producers, as defined by StatsCan Report 5039.  SFPFC's data is for retail prices.

The US retail composite chicken price per USDA for Nov. 2013 is 195.6 cents per pound (ie. $4.30 per kg.).

With a minimum Ontario retail price of $4.98/kg and a composite average US price of $4.30/kg, this lowest Ontario price is 15.81% higher.  Was this cheapest Ontario chicken old, soon to expire its best-before date, and therefore on deep discount pricing for quick sale? Unfortunately, this is  unknown, and we can only speculate.

Therefore retail price of chicken in Ontario Canada for Nov. 2013 is 316.98% of US retail chicken prices.

Proof again of the monopolistic, unjust, price gouging of Canadians by the #ChickenMafia.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Enough is Enough! The Supreme Court has Ruled.

Is the Supreme Court of Canada on the side of Small Flockers, and against the Supply Management monopoly system?

In the recent Supreme Court decision the judgement referred to a hypothetical example of bad law.  Suppose that riding your bike is a legal activity, but for some strange reason the government passes a law  for the purpose of protecting you, which prohibits you from wearing a bicycle helmet.

The Supreme Court states that under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this bicycle helmet law would be unconstitutional, as it could be easily shown that it puts bicycle riders at greater risk, cannot be supported or justified on an objective, scientific evidence basis, and is therefore arbitrary, and therefore violates fundamental justice.
Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, Section 7
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

In Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72, the Supreme Court has said that "fundamental justice" means:
"This case concerns [fundamental justice,] the basic values against arbitrariness (where there is no connection between the effect and the object of the law), overbreadth (where the law goes too far and interferes with some conduct that bears no connection to its objective), and gross disproportionality (where the effect of the law is grossly disproportionate to the state’s objective)." 
Makes sense to me.

Now look at the Small Flockers vs. #ChickenMafia case for the Ontario Meat Regulations.

CFIA, University of Guelph, and OMAF have consistently found that 30% to 80% of Canadian chicken is contaminated with lethal bacteria (eg. E. Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and/or other human pathogen)Contaminated Chicken and here.
, including superbugs ( for example, see Blog Posting

The Provincial and Federal government have passed regulations that restrict the slaughter of meat to only occur at their approved abattoirs.  These "approved" abattoirs usually entails long distance shipping of the poultry, causing and spreading contamination from some birds to all birds.  Next, mechanized high speed, high volume slaughter systems spread that contamination everywhere, up and down the production line.  Even when done exactly according to the approved procedure, this will usually result in multiple birds being significantly contaminated. This contaminated meat puts consumers at significant risk, up to and including death.

Secondly, the nutritional content of a chicken factory bird is worse than small flock birds that are pasture or free-range raised.

Thirdly, many of the Supply Management chicken factories use a witches' brew of drugs and chemicals to maximize their the #ChickenMafia's profits, regardless of the downstream impact on those who unknowingly buy or consume the resulting meat.

Alternatively, on-farm slaughter done one bird at a time in a correct manner, prevents or mitigates the potential contamination of the meat.  Unfortunately, this is prohibited by Ontario law, by a penalty on first offense of 2 years in jail and a $25,000 fine.

I take offense to the government prohibiting the safer route, subjecting me and all others to significant risks.

If a law significantly impacts somebody's life, liberty, or security, and this law violates fundamental justice, then the Supreme Court of Canada says this is bad law, and cannot be justified in the free and democratic country of Canada.

I have repeatedly asked the Ontario government to share with me the objective evidence upon which they based these oppressive meat regulations.  They have stonewalled and refused to do so.

I asked the government where is there risk assessment and sound science upon which these regulations are based.  They have none.

Justice Haines in his 2004 Meat Report strongly recommended that the government base all meat regulations upon sound science.  The Liberal Government has ignored this comprehensive report on two separate occasions when they passed their Meat Regulations, and instead, they passed whimsical and arbitrary regulations that oppress small flockers and put all citizens at risk.

I previously Blogged (see Meat Regulations Gone Wild) about the over-reaching Regulations they passed in 2005, which they finally admitted in 2013 had gone way overboard, almost destroying half of the meat industry in Ontario.  While they admitted their mistake 6 years late, they then compounded their error by refusing to correct all their prior Meat Regulation mistakes when they re-did the regs in 2013 (see Blog posting Ignored by new Meat Regulations).

Why did the Ontario government ignore Justice Haines in 2005, and ignore Small Flockers plea for relief in 2012 and 2013?  Because they wanted to protect and serve their financial supporters, the millionaire #ChickenMafia and their friends.  Chicken Apartheid is alive and flourishing in Canada, where the 1,114 millionaire chicken factory owners oppress the 13.5 million people of Ontario, and persecute the 13,500 Smal Flockers in Ontario.

Enough is enough!

Cold Winter Wynne makes the Dec. 13, 2013
cover of Toronto Sun newspaper
Thanks to the Christmas gift from the Supreme Court of Canada, now is the time to end this #ChickenMafia insanity.

I will put the question to Premier and Agriculture Minister Wynne (a.k.a. Cold Winter Wynne), and if the government confirms their plans in writing to promptly adjust the Meat Regulations in response to Small Flockers plea for relief, whether in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, or otherwise, then we will accept this and patiently wait.

If we get no answer, or we get foggy generalities with few commitments, then it appears it is time to go to Court to have the offending sections of the Meat Regulation declared ultra vires and/or unconstitutional.

If there are any lawyers out there (jailhouse or otherwise) who can assist with this plan, or advise a better strategy, or explain why this Supreme Court ruling doesn't in fact support the Small Flockers case, we would appreciate hearing from you.

Alternatively, it seems all three political parties in Ontario are spoiling for an election.  Perhaps we should wait for the calling of the election, then make sure these issues become the pivot point for the election.  After all, 8.2% of Ontario families can't afford the food they need to feed their families.  For 99.9% of Ontario citizens, they have to pay the chicken prices ranging between $4.98/kg to as high as $29.975/kg for chicken in Ontario grocery stores, 2 to 3 times the international price for chicken.

I'm no poly sci expert, but it seems that everybody will be reminded of these issues each week during the writ period as they do their weekly grocery shopping.  As bad as the Ornge, Gas Plants, Heinz, Kellogg's, wind turbines, Ontario North, and all other Liberal scandals are, all of these scandals are in the past, not likely to repeat, and none resonate with voters like the double & triple prices they pay for chicken every week at the grocery store, and will continue to be forced to pay until it becomes an issue that will win or lose elections.

An Oct. 2013 Nanos Research poll found that the Liberals had 36% support, PC's had 31%, and NDP had 26%; in other words, neck and neck (7% no preference).  All the NDP needs is an issue that steals 10% of the support away from the other two parties, and they would have 32.7% support; beating the other two parties.  For the PC's, they only have to win an additional 6% support from the other parties, and they would lead with 34.7% support.

A majority government will take a little bit more shifting, but I'm sure you, and all three political parties get the point.  Wynne's government is vulnerable.  Now is the chance for the other parties to shift policy and join the winning side.  Being first to switch will have its rewards.

Everybody seems to agree that Wynne is a smart and savvy lady.  If she shifts alliances soon, it just might cause a Christmas spirit of forgiveness in the hearts of all Ontarians when they gain hope of cheaper chicken and more jobs throughout Ontario in their near future.

Alternatively, perhaps Wynne is banking on continued poor nutrition for the populace, causing early onset of Alzheimer's among voters, so that all the past scandals of the Liberal government are prematurely forgotten.

In that same poll, Ontarians said healthcare was the #1 issue, identified by 22% of the citizens polled.  I suggest that healthcare is the top issue right now, only because they don't know how badly they are being screwed over for chicken, eggs, turkey, and dairy prices.  Small Flockers plan to change that.

Secondly, affordable nutritious food is a healthcare issue as I pointed out previously (see Blog posting Health Consequences of Food Monopolies).  Few people see a doctor every day, but everybody eats each day (or should).  That daily reminder may help bring these issues to the forefront soon enough.

Let the people understand, then they can vote for relief.

Now is the time for Small Flockers to prepare for the dropping of the Ontario writ (more on this soon).  Once the writ is dropped, we will need to hit all political parties, all town hall meetings, all political rallies, and all media outlets with an unending barrage of information and questions on these issues.

Therefore, if your are on the side of the Ontario citizens and Small Flockers:   Prepare!

If you are against Small Flockers and all citizens, and side with the #ChickenMafia:   Beware!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oops! They did it Again

Consumer Reports has again found that almost all raw US chicken is contaminated with 1 or more deadly bacteria (ie. enterococcus, E. coli, campylobacter, klebsiella pneumonia, salmonella, and staphylococcus aureus).  These 316 samples of chicken breasts were taken from retail stores all across USA in July 2013.

Consumer Reports tested for enterococcus (79.8 % of samples were contaminated), E. coli (65.2% contaminated), campylobacter (43% contaminated), klebsiella pneumonia (13.6% contaminated), salmonella (10.8% contaminated) and staphylococcus aureus (9.2% contaminated).

They have also found that 49.7% of samples had bacteria that were resistant to 3 or more antibiotics; in other words, the chicken was contaminated with superbugs.  If you accidentally contaminated yourself or a member of your family with the superbugs on the chicken, the medical system would have great difficulty curing you of the infection, as most available antibiotcs would be helpless against the superbugs.

Please note that Agriculture & Agri-Foods Canada reports that for 2012, 88.6% of the chicken meat imports into Canada, and 99.79% of the mature chicken (spent fowl) imports into Canada, came from USA.  CFC's Chicken Data Booklet 2013 shows that those USA chicken imports (ie. a total of 218,677,453 kg., or 0.22 Million metric tonnes of chicken), represent 21.43% by weight of the chicken consumed in Canada.

No matter how much the #ChickenMafia puff themselves up, or hold their noses high in the air, don't think that Canadian chicken is pure and safe.  CFIA, University of Guelph, and OMAF have consistently found that 30% to 80% of Canadian chicken is contaminated with lethal bacteria, including superbugs ( for example, see Blog Posting Contaminated Chicken and here.

The FDA has posted draft regulations to force their chicken industry to slowly taper off on the antibiotics being fed chicken, supposedly to get rid of the superbugs.  In vitro mouse tests showed that salmonella had a doubling time that ranged from 20 minutes to more than 1 hour, depending on the mouse's immune system (presence or absence of macrophages).  The geometric median between 20 min and 1 hr is 34.64 minutes.  A three year tapering period proposed by the FDA is 1.5768 million minutes, or 45,519 doublings.  Assuming we started with just 1 superbug, in that 3 year period with 45,519 doublings, we would produce a number far bigger than what any spreadsheet or calculator can compute.  This number is bigger than all the nucleons in the entire visible universe (estimated to be 1080 nucleons, see Harrison, Edward Robert, Cosmology: The Science of the Universe Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 481, 482).
"The mathematics of uncontrolled growth are frightening. A single cell of the bacterium E. coli would, under ideal circumstances, divide every twenty minutes. That is not particularly disturbing until you think about it, but the fact is that bacteria multiply geometrically: one becomes two, two become four, four become eight, and so on. In this way it can be shown that in a single day, one cell of E. coli could produce a super-colony equal in size and weight to the entire planet Earth."
Michael Crichton (1969) The Andromeda Strain, Dell, N.Y. p247

Note that an E.coli bacteria weighs approximately 10-15 kg., while Earth weighs 5.9763 x 1024 kg., so I calculate it to take 132.13 doublings of 20 minutes each for one E.coli bacteria to grow into an Earth-sized super-colony, which is 1.83 days; slightly different from Crichton's calculation.

So how do you feel about the FDA letting this issue go on for another 3 years?

Of course, Health Canada has no plans whatsoever as of now.  Why panic?

So what do the experts suggest to protect yourself from biohazardous chicken?  Use a cutting board that is only used for poultry, prepare the chicken without washing the chicken (ie. washing spreads the contamination all over the kitchen), and as soon as you're done, put the cutting board into the dishwasher.

I go into a hospital to visit, or for emergency medical care about 1 or 2 times per year.  Every week, my wife or I enter a grocery store where bio-hazardous chicken is handled, stored, and sold.  Both the grocery store and the hospital are known reservoirs for superbugs.  Which represents the greatest superbug infection potential for my family, the grocery store, or the hospital?

Obviously, the grocery store is a far greater risk, both in probability and lack of detectability (ie. the grocery store risk is poo-poohed, covered up, and hushed up by everybody, including the government).

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada's prostitution laws are non-constitutional because they put sex trade workers at significant risk.  The #ChickenMafia puts most Canadians at significant risk too from their biohazardous chicken.  Why is biohazardous chicken permitted and enforced by government regulations?

Why isn't biohazardous chicken from the #ChickenMafia also declared non-constitutional?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Question for Ontario Premier & Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne

I understand that Ontario's Premier Wynne will be doing a call-in Q&A session on CBC Radio – Sudbury on Thursday Dec. 19th, 2013.  I respectfully request consideration of the following question to be put to Premier Wynne at that time.

If this question doesn't make it to air on CBC Radio, perhaps Premier Wynne would like to send an answer to Small Flockers on her own initiative.  Alternatively, some aware and inquisitive MPP might stand at Queens Park and ask the government this question.

             As Agriculture Minister, on Oct. 7th you called for the doubling of agri-food exports from Ontario, thereby creating 120,000 new jobs before 2020.  Do you expect Ontario’s Supply Management chicken sector to support and participate in achieving that goal?

Follow-up Question

Domestic chicken prices are more than twice the price of chicken on the international export markets.  If Canada was to export significant quantities of chicken, we’d find no buyers at our sky-high domestic prices, or we would soon be slapped with WTO trade complaints for dumping chicken on the international market that was priced significantly lower than our domestic prices.  This would seem to explain why Canada only has 1.4% market share for OECD chicken exports.  If Canada was to gain just 50% OECD market share, Canada would have to produce 5 times more chicken than what we do today.  It is estimated that Ontario’s share of that would be $10.8 Billion per year of additional economic activity.

Premier, would you support the lowering of the price charged to Canadians for chicken, thereby helping Canadians with more affordable food, while simultaneously enabling up to $10.8 Billion per year of additional economic activity and many new jobs for Ontario?

Background Facts
  1. Health Canada reports that 7.6% of Canadians cannot afford the food they need to feed their families.  Ontario is 8.2%, which is 11% worse than the Canadian average.  The local foodbank near my home reports, like many other foodbanks in Ontario, that usage of their services is climbing at over 20% per year for the last 3 years.  I conclude there is a greater & greater need for affordable food in Ontario.
  2. Remote and rural communities in the North, and many others need the affordable food and local jobs produced by locally grown chicken.  Unfortunately, there are just 1,114 Supply Management chicken producers, all in Southern Ontario.  There are about 13,500 small flock chicken farmers throughout Ontario, but they are prevented or severely restricted in supplying affordable chicken for their local communities.
  3. Canadians in general, including us in Ontario, currently pay between 200% to 300% more for chicken, as compared to US prices (depending on the cut & the store & time of year).  The Chicken Farmers of Ontario have continuously raised the price of chicken by 3.54% per year for more than 17 years.  Historically, chicken was the "Meat for the Masses" (ie. the cheapest meat available on a $/kg basis), but is now double the price of turkey.    These price increases have been a severe burden on Ontario citizens.
  4. The Chicken Farmers of Ontario ("CFO") used trickery and lack of regulatory oversight to over-charge Ontario citizens with a bogus FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio), which inflated their alleged costs to raise chickens, thereby gaining more than their "reasonable costs".  This resulted in excess charges to Canadians of about $1 Billion per year for more than 10 years, for a total of more than $10 Billion that was unjustly charged to Canadians.  After years of complaints by numerous victims, the Ontario government finally ordered CFO to reduce their bogus FCR by 16.3% as of August 2013.  Do the Supply Management chicken farmers get to keep their ill gotten gains of $10 Billion they took from Canadians?
  5. As food becomes less and less affordable, people compensate by buying cheaper, less nutritious foods; usually higher in carbohydrates.  Poor nutrition causes or contributes to many of the health epidemics that we have today, such as obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver dysfunction, Alzheimer's, Metabolic Syndrome, stroke, cancer, etc.
  6. The Supply Management system condones & supports the regular feeding of antibiotics and other drugs to chickens as growth promoters, not because the chickens are sick, nor to keep them healthy, but so they can earn extra profits.  These drugs & chemicals significantly alter the birds health, metabolism, and the resulting nutritional profile of the resulting meat.
  7. The current Supply Management system produces chicken such that 30% to 80% of the raw chicken being sold at grocery store meat counters is contaminated with deadly pathogens (eg. E.Coli, campylobacter, listeria, salmonella, etc.) , some of which are superbugs with antibiotic resistance due to the Supply Management's bad habit of regularly feeding chickens antibiotics, contrary to Health Canada recommendations.
  8. The insiders of the Supply Management system have had ongoing arguments amongst themselves (ie. province to province, producer to processor, processor to processor, etc.), and even the insiders say the system is significantly flawed and dysfunctional.  Ontario has been repeatedly denied the right to produce adequate amounts of chicken to feed our Ontario citizens and Ontario chicken processing businesses.  Alberta has given up and is abandoning the chicken Supply Management system as of Dec. 31, 2013 unless a "Hail Mary" rescue can be achieved in the next few weeks.
  9. Today, there is little to no Canadian chicken exported; neither from Ontario nor the rest of Canada.  Canada has only 1.4% market share of OECD chicken exports.  The reason is that the high domestic prices make it uneconomical for other countries to purchase the chicken at Canadian domestic prices, and to lower the price for Canadian export chicken invites other countries to lodge WTO complaints against Canada dumping chicken on international markets (ie. export pricing lower than domestic pricing is defined as "dumping" under WTO rules).  Alternatively, if we lowered Canadian chicken prices, we could export, and in exporting we could go from 1.4% market share to maybe as much as 50% OECD market share.  At 50% market share, that means Canada could then grow 5 times more chicken than what we do today.  Since Ontario has about 1/3 of the Canadian production, this would mean an additional $10.5 Billion of GDP for Ontario, and thousands of additional, permanent, good paying jobs.
  10. The Chicken Supply Management system isn't interested in exporting because that's too much like work.  They're happy with their 99.97% domestic market share at 200% to 300% gouging pricing that most people in Ontario are forced to pay, or go without chicken (ie. Hobson's Choice ).

All of the above is based upon, and supported by the objective evidence presented on our Blog

Glenn Black
Small Flock Poultry Farmers of Canada