BioLargo, through its commercial partner Clarion Water, obtained EPA registration for the use of aqueous iodine in poultry applications. This registration for poultry marks a key milestone in the commercialization of a full suite of biosecurity solutions aimed at mitigating the risk of avian flu and other common pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella across all phases of the US food supply chain.
Poultry Is Big Business
USDA poultry production data from the Census of Agriculture reported 233,770 poultry farms in the United States in 2012. In 2014, the U.S. poultry industry produced 8.54 billion broilers, 99.8 billion eggs, and 238 million turkeys. The combined value of production from broilers, eggs, turkeys, and the value of sales from chickens in 2014 was $48.3 billion, up 9 percent from $44.4 billion in 2013.
Bird Flu And Salmonella Are Priority Problems For Poultry Industry
Bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), is a virus that can be financially devastating to poultry farmers because once an infection is confirmed at a farm, all surviving birds on the property are typically killed very quickly to prevent it from spreading. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that the deadly H5N2 bird flu virus was found at a farm in northwest Iowa’s Osceola County where up to 5.3 million hens had to be destroyed in a state that produces one in every five eggs consumed in the country. The virus, which doomed nearly 7.8 million turkeys and chickens since March 2015, has hit seven other mid-western states.
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say the virus could be a problem for several years to come. The USDA’s chief veterinary officer, Dr. John Clifford, also said last week that while new cases should drop to close to zero once the weather warms up and kills off the virus, there is very likely to be a resurgence this fall when the wild waterfowl, that are natural carriers of avian influenza, fly south for the winter.
Salmonella and E. coli are also common threats to poultry that can be transmitted to people. The CDC claims Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) as a major disease, globally estimated to cause 93 million enteric infections and 155,000 diarrheal deaths each year. While poultry is not the largest cause of Salmonella infections, it is nonetheless a significant issue with consumers and well-known fast-food companies such as Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), which has been the focus of food safety articles for several months now. Chipotle has been plagued by outbreaks of Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria that have cost Chipotle shareholders billions of dollars in losses. There have also been recent cases of recalls due to Salmonella involving Foster Farms, which provided chicken sold to Costco (NASDAQ: COST), Kroger (NYSE: KR), FoodMaxx, and Safeway Stores.
Antibiotics and Poultry
In 1940, antibiotics were found to promote animal growth and increase yields thereby increasing profits for poultry farmers. They also were found to provide a layer of protection against disease. As would be expected, antibiotics have been widely used with livestock until 2004 when the NIH published their findings suggesting that widespread overuse of antibiotics in poultry may be related to the spread of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria. Since 2004, consumers have been expressing their concern about the use of antibiotics in livestock and increasing their demand for antibiotic-free poultry.
Many large poultry producers and restaurant chains are responding to shifting consumer demands and are now providing antibiotic-free poultry. This trend is also spreading to the beef and pork industries where the use of antibiotics has been heavy. Leading the shift to antibiotic free chicken are Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), YUM Brands, Inc. (NYSE: YUM), Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ: PNRA), Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, (NASDAQ: PPC), and McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD).
Absence of Antibiotics Requires New Lines of Defense To Protect Against Bird Flu, Salmonella and Pathogens
Antibiotics may not be effective against viruses, but their elimination from poultry increases the need for multiple lines of defense to create a clean, safe and healthy environment for poultry to avoid bird flu, Salmonella and other common diseases.
Birds contaminate their environment by defecating anywhere they happen to be. Diseases are commonly carried in their feces and urine and can quickly spread throughout their environment and their drinking water. Poultry farms typically process large populations of birds in crowded spaces that tend to create an environment conducive for disease transmission. Clearly, with the growing absence of antibiotics, some form of protection against microbial diseases is needed.
Safe And Effective Disease Control For Poultry Farms By Applying The Earth’s Natural Iodine Cleansing Cycle
Kenneth Code, Chief Scientific Officer of BioLargo, Inc., (BLGO) explains, “The all-natural iodine cycle is part of the natural ocean water cycles and it is well understood. The ocean stores up iodine in the form of an iodate, and microscopic sea life and plants use it in their metabolism. They release gases like methyl iodide and ethyl iodide that rise from the ocean into the high atmosphere, ionosphere, where the iodides are oxidized by UV light generating iodine [I2]. These energized forms of iodine then come on shore in the rain, and fall onto the land and as they come into contact vegetation they react to form iodides and iodates. The land drains to the river, the river to the ocean, and so it goes in a cycle. The Iodine Cycle is simply an elegant cleansing system for our earth and it is a critical cycle to maintain microbial balance in nature while, at the same time, iodine supports life as an essential nutrient.”
Clarion Water announced, “IoMax™ is highly effective in killing pathogenic micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and potentially protozoa in water.” “IoMax™ is supplied through Clarion’s patented iSAN™ delivery system that doses aqueous iodine into water systems at an accuracy of up to +/- 0.5PPM.”
Clarion’s announcement continued, “In poultry drinking water applications specifically, field experience has shown a strong correlation between the use of IoMax™ and improvements in animal gut health, growth rates and mortality rates. As the marketplace continues to move toward a preference for all-natural, antibiotic-free poultry products, control of pathogens increases in importance. Although Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. are the predominant pathogens associated with poultry, other pathogens also occur, including Clostridium perfringens, Escherichia coli 0157 and Listeria.”
“Effective and measurable control of pathogens in poultry operations is a priority for growers looking to protect their yields, especially in antibiotic-free lines,” said Tom Bercaw, President of Clarion Water. “Use of an iSAN™ system to deliver metered IoMax™ provides effective sanitation with full automation, data logging and remote monitoring capabilities. The active ingredient of IoMax™, free iodine, is well known for its efficacy as a broad spectrum biocide across a wide variety of industries and applications. Additionally, IoMax™ provides supplementation to the animal diet with low levels of iodine residue. Beyond poultry, Clarion expects to be working with the EPA to approve expanded use of IoMax and iSan for drinking water for all livestock, and for produce wash post-harvest.”
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