What's new ? - 2009

What's new ? - 2009

Russia bans imports of poultry treated with chlorine

30 December, 2009 Russian officials said that effective Jan. 1 imports of poultry treated with chlorine from any country is prohibited.
The ban could completely rule out imports of U.S. poultry in 2010, estimated at some 500,000 metric tons. Read More

Turkish firms cannot export fresh poultry to EU

23 December, 2009 The Turkish poultry firm Banvit has informed the Istanbul Stock Exchange that after talks with EU authority SANCO (Health and Consumer Protection) ... Read More

Russia cuts U.S. poultry 2010 import quotas

18 December, 2009 Russia, a top market for U.S. meat, has cut its 2010 import quotas, meaning fewer poultry imports will be allowed in at low duty rates compared to 2009.
The news comes as U.S. livestock farmers and meat exporters try to recover from the blow caused by high feed prices and weak global demand, and as Russia aims to become more self-sufficient in meat production. Read More

USDA proposes nutrition labeling on major cuts and ground meat, poultry

18 December, 2009 USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service posted in the Federal Register proposed rules mandating nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped meat and poultry products.
In a supplement to a rule first proposed in January, 2001, FSIS proposed a number of labeling changes. The agency explained it proposes to make current voluntary nutrition labeling guidelines for the major cuts of single-ingredient raw products mandatory because its two most recent surveys indicated a lack of significant participation in the voluntary program. Read More

Europe will fail to meet cage ban deadline

10 December, 2009 Half of the hens currently in conventional cages in European Union states will fail to make the switch to enriched cages by the January 2012 deadline.
New EU rules banning the production of eggs in conventional cages come into force on January 1 2012. Both the EU and the UK Government are currently insisting that the ban will go ahead as planned, but Mark Williams, chief executive of the British Egg Industry Council, believes that huge numbers of producers in other countries will fail to meet the deadline, raising serious questions about how the EU will react. Read More

EU: Commission approves €275 million for the eradication, monitoring and control of animal diseases

26 November, 2009 The European Commission adopted a financial package of €275 million to support programmes to eradicate, control and monitor animal diseases in 2010. The 224 annual or multi-annual programmes which were selected for EU funding will tackle animal diseases that impact both human and animal health. The large EU contribution towards these programmes reflects the high level of importance attached to disease eradication measures, for the protection of both animal and public health. Read More

US: Rep. Israel Announces New Legislation to Get Arsenic out of Poultry

25 November, 2009 Rep. Steve Israel announced new legislation to get arsenic out of the U.S. poultry supply. Rep. Israel’s Poison Free Poultry Act (H.R.3624) bans the use of an arsenical called roxarsone, which is commonly added to chicken and poultry feed, from being used as an additive in the U.S. food supply. Read More

W.T.O. panel begins review of E.U. ban on U.S. poultry

World Trade Organization 19 November, 2009 On Nov. 19, the World Trade Organization (W.T.O.) began investigations into a European Union ban on American poultry.
For more than a decade, Washington and Brussels have argued over E.U. restrictions on U.S. poultry imports treated with four anti-bacterial chemicals: chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chloride, trisodium phosphate and peroxyacids. Read More

FTC approves Merck-Schering-Plough deal

30 October, 2009 Merck & Co. today won Federal Trade Commission approval to buy rival Intervet/Schering-Plough Corp. after agreeing to sell its stake in the Merial Ltd. animal health business and in the nausea drug rolapitant. Merck must divest those assets for antitrust reasons.
Merck already agreed to sell its 50 percent share in the Merial joint venture to Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis SA. It will sell rolapitant-related assets to Miami-based Opko Health Inc. Read More

EU: Animal welfare labelling

28 October, 2009 The European Commission has adopted a report in which it outlines a series of options for animal welfare labeling. The overall goal of policy in this area is to make it easier for consumers to identify and choose welfare-friendly products, and thereby give an economic incentive to producers to improve the welfare of animals. Read More

EU Blocks U.S. Call for WTO to Investigate Poultry-Import Ban

26 October, 2009 The European Union blocked U.S. efforts to have the World Trade Organization decide whether its ban on imports of american poultry break global trade rules. The EU won’t be able to prevent a second request, likely next month.
Chicken and turkey from the U.S. are processed using a cleansing technique called pathogen-reduction treatments, which is forbidden in the EU. Read More

Pfizer Gets Final Clearances For Wyeth Acquisition

14 October, 2009 The US Federal Trade Commission has cleared the way for Pfizer's $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth, saying it was satisfied with the previously disclosed divestitures involving animal health products. Pfizer has also won approval from Canadian antitrust authorities for the deal. Read More

Michigan Adopts Farm Animal Housing Law

12 October, 2009 Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed legislation today that will require cage-free housing for layers in 10 years.
The legislation represents a compromise between Michigan agricultural interests and Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Society of the United States and the Michigan Humane Society ..... Read More

China: Merial invests US $ 70 million to expand its poultry vaccine facility in Nanchang

12 October, 2009 Merial, the Animal Health division of the sanofi-aventis Group, announced that Merial Animal Health Co. (China) held a ground-breaking ceremony for an expansion project at its plant located in the Nanchang Hi-tech Development Zone, China. The facility in Nanchang produces poultry vaccines for the domestic Chinese market. Read More

US: antimicrobial resistence report released

9 October, 2009 The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) announced the online availability of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System—Enteric Bacteria (NARMS) 2006 Executive Report. One of the primary objectives of NARMS is to provide timely information to veterinarians and physicians on antimicrobial drug resistance patterns. Read More

Canada: National poultry standard launched

8 October, 2009 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has launched a national standard for poultry producers to help protect animal health and safeguard the Canadian food supply. Read More

U.S. to seek WTO panel over EU poultry ban

7 October, 2009 The United States is expected to request a World Trade Organisation panel to end a long-running dispute with the European Union over Brussels' ban on imports of U.S. chicken. The US Trade Representative's office (USTR) said consultations from an earlier US complaint failed to resolve the issue. Read More

Sanofi-Aventis has completed acquisition of Merial

18 September, 2009 French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA has completed its $4 billion purchase of Merck & Co.'s half interest in their veterinary medicine business. Merial, an animal health company and a 50/50 joint venture between Merck and Sanofi-aventis, has now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of sanofi-aventis. It has sales of USD2.7bn in 2008. Following the closing of the Merck/Schering-Plough merger, Sanofi-aventis also has an option, under the terms of the agreement, to combine the Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health business with Merial and form a joint venture in animal health that would be equally owned by the new Merck and Sanofi-aventis. Read More

EU court upholds EU cartel fine against Akzo Nobel

Akzo Nobel 10 September, 2009 Europe's highest court upheld on a European Union fine against Dutch chemical group Akzo Nobel for fixing prices of an animal feed vitamin (Choline chloride - B4) with other companies.
The European Commission, the EU executive, had fined Akzo 21 million euros ($30.6 million) in 2004. It also slapped penalties on Germany's BASF and Belgian firm UCB for their role in the choline chloride cartel.
Akzo contested the fine, but the European Court of Justice dismissed the appeal and ordered the company to pay costs. Read More

Veterinary Residues Committee annual report published

9 September, 2009 The Veterinary Residues Committee’s (VRC) 2008 Annual Report on the surveillance of veterinary residues in food in the UK published.
The VRC is an independent advisory committee overseeing UK surveillance of residues of veterinary medicines in UK-produced and imported foods. It advises the chief executives of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and the Food Standards Agency on the committee's work and the importance of its results. Read More

Russia may ban US poultry imports

7 September, 2009 The largest importer of poultry meat in Russia – the United States - in 2010 could lose the Russian market, due to new technical regulations, which are currently discussed by the Russian authorities.
According to the first Vice-Prime Minister of Russia Viktor Zubkov this regulations will be adopted very soon. He has already advised importers to have a look at the text in order to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. The new regulations will impose a ban on the imports of poultry meat treated with a solution of chlorine, thus virtually banning all the poultry that are imported into Russia from the United States. Read More

Australia: Free-range egg claims don't add up

6 September, 2009 Doubts about the egg industry's ability to police its producers have been raised after a Sun-Herald analysis found the total of free-range layer hens in the country were incapable of producing the total of free-range eggs sold each year, and as many as one in six eggs labelled free range on retail shelves were cage or barn-laid.
Despite providing annual figures on the number of free-range eggs sold, the Australian Egg Corporation has admitted it has no way of knowing how many free-range layer hens exist. Read More

JBS Said to Be Near Buying Bankrupt Pilgrim’s Pride

4 September, 2009 JBS SA, the world’s largest beef producer, may buy bankrupt poultry company Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in the U.S. as early as next week to resume its global expansion.
JBS will tap about $1.2 billion of cash and $500 million of revolving credit lines to buy Pittsburg.
Chief Executive Officer Joesley Mendonca Batista turned JBS into the top meatpacker, processing about 10 percent of the world’s red meat, after buying Swift & Co. in 2007 and two Smithfield Foods Inc. units last year. Read More

Ceva Biomune is expanding its poultry vaccine production

Ceva 2 September, 2009 Ceva Biomune is expanding its poultry vaccine production operation in Lenexa and intends to hire 80 more employees next year.
The French firm plans to build a 20,000-square-foot facility on its current campus at 8906 Rosehill Road in Lenexa. The company already employs 150 people at the location. Lenexa was chosen over sites in Europe and Brazil for the expansion. Read More

UK: DEFRA confirms no birds in conventional cages from 2012

1 September, 2009 There will be no birds in conventional cages in the UK after 1 January 2012.
It means that the latest effective date for housing new flocks in conventional cages will be December 2010. Read More

US Approved Israeli Poultry to Expand Sales in US Kosher Market

The Kosher Market 31 August, 2009 An already crowded kosher poultry market in the US may soon be even more crowded as representatives of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture approved chicken farmers, slaughterhouses and chicken food product factories to export to the American market. The visit was part of the FSIS's regular inspections of factories worldwide that export chicken food products to the American market. The FSIS approval means that the US considers veterinarian supervision to be equal to US standards. Read More

NFU calls for parity on poultry

25 August, 2009 The National Farmers' Union has responded to calls from the RSPCA and other welfare organisations that would bar UK producers from using the same legal stocking densities as their European counterparts.
The Broiler Welfare Directive came into European law in 2007 and will be implemented in the UK in 2010. For the first time, it sets stocking limits for chickens reared for meat.
The directive allows producers to stock to 33kg/m2 to 39kg/m2 if certain welfare indicators are measured and shown not to be compromised. This can be increased to 42kg/m2 if results of monitoring for the previous seven cycles of birds meet directive standards - and that is where the RSPCA has criticised the legislation. Read More

Turkey production drop in first-half 2009

20 August, 2009 During the first six months of 2009, turkey meat production totaled 2.8 billion lbs., down 9.4% from the same period in 2008, according to Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from U.S.D.A.’s Economic Research Service. The production drop was primarily due to a decline in the number of birds slaughtered.
During the first half of 2009, the number of turkeys slaughtered was down 9.5% compared with the first half of 2008. There was also a small reduction in the average weight of birds going to slaughter compared with a year earlier. Read More

Sanofi to Buy Merck’s Merial Stake for $4 Billion

30 July, 2009 Sanofi-Aventis agreed to buy Merck & Co.’s half of their Merial animal-health venture for $4 billion. Sanofi will pay cash for the 50 percent it doesn’t own of Merial. Merck and Sanofi, which compete in making drugs for people, have worked together for more than a decade to build Merial into a company with $2.6 billion in annual sales.
After Merial is sold to sanofi and Merck acquires Schering in the fourth quarter, sanofi has an option to get Merck back as a partner by combining Merial with Intervet. The valuation of Intervet is yet to be determined, but will be more than Merial, so sanofi will pay the new Merck some cash to reestablish the 50-50 joint venture. Read More

Thanks to two mega-mergers several animal health assets are currently up for sale

Animal Health Drug-Makers 16 July, 2009 Four of the world’s biggest drug-makers are likely to compete for Pfizer and Merck animal-health products. Novartis, Eli Lilly, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim may seek to buy animal-health businesses from Merck and Schering-Plough Corp. with a combined $4.27 billion in sales last year.
Pfizer’s animal products with as much as $400 million in sales will also draw interest.
The assets are being sold because Pfizer, the purchaser of Wyeth, and Merck, the buyer of Schering-Plough, have been told by regulators the acquisitions may make them too dominant in the animal-health market. Read More

Administration Seeks to Restrict Antibiotics in Livestock

Antibiotics 13 July, 2009 The Obama administration announced Monday that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.
In written testimony to the House Rules Committee, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, said feeding antibiotics to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle — done to encourage rapid growth — should cease. And Dr. Sharfstein said farmers should no longer be able to use antibiotics in animals without the supervision of a veterinarian. Read More

China blocking US poultry imports

9 July, 2009 Beijing has halted imports of U.S. chicken, although officially China is saying imports are not blocked.
China is a huge market for U.S. chicken feet, commonly called paws, and bought 421,000 tons, or $280 million worth, in 2008.
In China, paws are popular in soups, stews, and as snack items, but very few are sold in the United States.
Without the Chinese market, most of the paws will have to be processed into feed or other non-food uses, which brings less money to U.S. chicken companies. Read More

FDA Improves Egg Safety

7 July, 2009 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a regulation expected to prevent each year approximately 79,000 cases of foodborne illness and 30 deaths caused by consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis.
The regulation requires preventive measures during the production of eggs in poultry houses and requires subsequent refrigeration during storage and transportation. Egg producers will also be required to register with FDA and to maintain a prevention plan and records to show they are following the regulation. Read More

China Is Expected to Block Imports of Chicken From U.S.

2 July, 2009 China is expected to ban imports of U.S. chicken in coming days, a move likely to deliver a blow to the struggling American chicken industry and escalate trade tensions between the two nations.
The potential ban appears to be tied to a provision in the most recent U.S. spending bill that prohibits the USDA from allowing Chinese chicken plants to send poultry products to the U.S. Lawmakers question whether China's chicken processing plants meet U.S. standards. Read More

Poor egg hygiene in UK restaurants and takeaways

21 June, 2009 Poor egg handling practices in restaurants and takeaways could be putting UK consumers at risk, reveals a new report from the Health Protection Agency and LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services). Food poisoning risks associated with food preparation in the catering industry include the use of large volumes of eggs and the practice of pooling and mixing eggs, with which there are numerous risk factors.
Councils across the UK collected hundreds of egg mix samples from restaurants, takeaways, bakeries, cafés and sandwich bars, along with information on hygiene practices. Read More

Bayer may acquire Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health from Merck & Co

5 June, 2009 According to Wall Street Journal, Bayer AG, a Germany-based company engaged in the healthcare, nutrition, and high-tech materials business, is contemplated to be one of the potential bidders to acquire Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, a Netherlands-based engaged in the research, development, manufacturing, and marketing of animal health products, from Merck & Co., Inc. The transaction would range between $6,000 million to $8,000 million. Read More

Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

Report 3 June, 2009 Since the late 1990s, U.S. organic production has more than doubled, but the consumer market has grown even faster.
Organic food sales have more than quintupled, increasing from $3.6 billion in 1997 to $18.9 billion in 2007.
This fast-paced growth has led to input and product shortages in organic supply chains, and several new issues—concern about premium-priced product sales in a tight U.S. economy, as well as competition from new environmental labels—are emerging in the organic industry. Read More

The Farm Animal Welfare Council (fawc) today publishes its Report

28 May, 2009 The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) today publishes its Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing – Part Two: White Meat Animals.
This Report considers the welfare of poultry (and other white meat species) in the last few hours of their lives up to the moment of slaughter or killing. It deals with the experiences of poultry during catching and loading on the farm, the journey to the slaughterhouse, the wait in the lairage, unloading from transport containers, stunning and finally slaughter or killing.
The Report also covers other circumstances in which poultry are killed as well as licensing and training of slaughtermen, legislation and its enforcement and equipment design and approval, since these also affect welfare. Read More

South Korea on alert over residues in duck meat

26 May, 2009 Korea banned the import of Chinese heat-processed duck meat after discovering an antimicrobial: cloramfenicol in duck meat. Korea has prohibited the use on animals since 1991.
The National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service (NVRQS) said it found 1.0 parts per billion of Chloramphenicol in a 3.8 tonne-shipment of meat from a Chinese meat exporter. Read More

Denmark: All eggs to be Salmonella-free

22 May, 2009 Denmark receives a special allowance from the EU to require all egg imports to be free of salmonella.
European Union health authorities okayed a Danish application for ‘special status’ earlier this week that will ensure all eggs imported to the country are guaranteed by their distributors as being 100 percent salmonella-free.
Eva Kjer Hansen, the food and veterinary minister, called the approval from Brussels a ‘breakthrough’ and said Denmark would also be seeking special status for chicken imports as well. Read More

EU: definition of 'fresh' poultry meat

7 May, 2009 Poultry meat that has been frozen and then thawed should not be described as "fresh", says a report by the EP Agriculture Committee. The report also expresses strong disapproval of the use of substances such as chlorine to decontaminate chicken carcasses. Members of the Agriculture Committee agree with the Commission that only meat which has been kept at a temperature between -2°C and +4°C should be described as "fresh". Read More

Israel: Agriculture Ministry Blamed for Arsenic-Tainted Chicken Sales

7 May, 2009 From 2003 to 2006, a growth promoter containing arsenic (3-nitro®) was fed to chickens and pigs raised in Israel. A report issued on 6 May by State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss.
This happened with the knowledge of the Agriculture Ministry, the report said, and it harshly criticises the Agriculture Ministry and other government authorities, including the health and education systems, police and transportation authorities.
According to the report, arsenic can cause cardiac and circulatory problems in addition to cancer, digestive problems and a decline in mental function. Read More

India rejects patents on Tamiflu (oseltamivir)

Tamiflu 23 April, 2009 India has rejected Gilead Sciences' patent application for its antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) on multiple grounds, including obviousness. Gilead's application had been opposed by Cipla and another domestic firm, Intermed.
The decision is likely to have only a limited immediate commercial value on the domestic market for Indian generic companies, since retail sales of the product had been disallowed by the Indian government a couple of years ago and the government is the only procurer of the product. Read More

California Takes First Step to Feed Antibiotic Ban

Feed Antibiotic Ban 21 April, 2009 Californian farmers and ranchers would be prohibited from routinely dosing healthy farm animals with antibiotics under a bill getting its first level of approval on 21 April in the state Senate.
SB416, authored by state Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, chairman of the California Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture which approved the bill 3-1, would have the prohibition in place by 2015. As early as 2012 public schools would be prohibited from serving fish, poultry or meat that had been routinely treated with antibiotics. Read More

China challenges U.S. ban on its poultry

18 April, 2009 China launched the first World Trade Organization case against the administration of President Barack Obama on Friday, challenging a U.S. ban on Chinese poultry. Beijing said Washington was violating a number of global commerce rules by preventing Chinese chicken parts from entering the U.S. market. Its request for consultation kicks off a 60-day consultation period, after which it can ask the WTO to launch a formal investigation. The WTO can authorize sanctions against countries failing to comply with trade rules, usually after years of litigation. In Washington, Deborah Mesloh, a spokeswoman for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, said the administration viewed the WTO procedure as a “… constructive mechanism to allow trading partners to resolve their differences.” Read More

Avian Influenza Vaccines Cover only 36% of Egypt's Rural Poultry

Egypt 13 April, 2009 An international workshop staged yesterday by the FAO in collaboration with the General Authority for Veterinary Services in Cairo unveiled that veterinary vaccines covered only 36% of Egypt's total rural poultry (300 million birds), which means that 64% of these birds do not get any vaccine.
The participants in the workshop, held to assess the national campaign to fight avian influenza, stressed the necessity to boost the role of the General Authority for Veterinary Services and to provide the material and human resources to control the disease. Read More

New Book

9 April, 2009 Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease – A field laboratory manual: A new book edited by Dr. Ilaria Capua and Dr. Dennis Alexander two well known scientist. An excellent publication that reflects the huge experience information and laboratory work gained from outbreaks in many countries.
A 'must have' for anyone who find interest in Avian Influenza and/or Newcastle Disease. Read More

Health workers on trial for vaccine scam in Poland

Poland 7 April, 2009 Nine health workers went on trial in northern Poland Monday accused of having tested a vaccine against avian influenza on nearly 200 patients without their knowledge.
The accused, three doctors and six nurses, are charged with fraud, creating false documents and delivering health care without authorisation to 196 patients.
They allegedly led their patients, many of them poor and homeless, to believe they were being vaccinated against ordinary flu. Read More

Avian Influenza Symposium

Athens, Georgia 5 April, 2009 The 7th International Symposium on Avian Influenza at the University of Georgia started today is attended by more than 400 participants. The Co-chairs are Dr Swayne (USDA, USA) Dr Stallknecht (University of Georgia, USA) and Dr Brown (VLA. UK).
Keynote presentations were given by Dr Capua (Italy): "It is up to the veterinary scientific community to stand out and make best use of the knowledge and experience it has gained, and become a strong voice at the decision making level – For Avian Influenza and beyond Avian Influenza". Read More

Russia suspends three U.S. poultry plants due to drug residue

20 March, 2009 Russia has suspended imports from three U.S. poultry processing plants due to drug residue findings, possibly from antibiotics or anti-parasitics.
Effective March 27, the following facilities are ineligible to export to Russia: Tyson Foods' plant in Cumming, Ga.; Peco Foods' plant in Canton, Miss.; and Sanderson Farms' plant in Hammond, La.
In August 2008, Russia banned imports from 19 U.S. poultry plants, saying the facilities did not meet previously agreed upon standards. Read More

den Dulk Poultry Farms Voluntary Recall of Organic Eggs Due to Possible Health Risk

Salmonella and Eggs 20 March, 2009 den Dulk Poultry Farms of Ripon CA. is voluntarily recalling their Organic brown eggs as a precaution because the eggs have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Read More

United States Poultry production

United States 18 March, 2009 With broiler meat production down sharply in 2009 and chick placements continuing to be below year-earlier levels, the quarterly estimates for 2009 were revised downward. The broiler production estimate for 2009 is now 35.8 billion pounds, down 3.1 percent from 2008. First-quarter 2009 turkey meat production is estimated at 1.46 billion pounds, down almost 5 percent from a year earlier. Ending stocks for January showed a doubling in whole turkey stocks. Table egg production rose for the second consecutive month after declining in 22 of the previous 23 months. Read More

Pfizer may sell units to clear Wyeth deal

Pfizer 18 March, 2009 Pfizer may have to shed some of its animal-health business in order to gain antitrust clearance for its planned purchase of Wyeth.
Pfizer has a strong presence in companion and livestock animal-health products, while Wyeth is strong in animal vaccines.
Talks with regulators are ongoing and no decisions have been made. If divestitures are needed, it is unlikely they would account for more than 10 percent of the combined $4 billion in revenue generated last year by the two animal units. Read More

Cobb Europe acquires Kabir coloured chickens

Kabir - Cobb 15 March, 2009 Kabir international has been acquired by Cobb Europe.
The Kabir breed was established in Israel by the Katz family.
The Kabir gene pool includes a number of pure lines used to provide a range of products with specific coloured and naked neck characteristics. The gene pool is unique, considered to be close to the traditional fowl from which the modern broiler chicken has been developed. Read More

Merck, Schering-Plough Plan $41.1B Merger

9 March, 2009 Merck & Co. announced that it has agreed to acquire rival Schering-Plough Corp. in a deal worth $41.1 billion.
The combined company will take the Merck name.
The deal would involve some sort of relationship between Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, the largest animal health company in the world, and Merial, the second-largest animal health company. Merck owns 50% of Merial, a joint venture that was established in 1997 in the merger of the animal health companies of Merck and Rhone Merieux, a predecessor to what is now sanofi-aventis. Read More

Czech Republic: H5N1 lab exposure

Contaminated vaccine 17 February, 2009 An Austrian pharmaceutical firm sent a flu vaccine, which it had accidentally contaminated with the H5N1 avian influenza virus, for testing in the Czech Republic. The Austrian firm Baxter said it contaminated the vaccine by accident, likely during packaging in Austria.
Baxter shipped the infected vaccine to the Czech biomedical firm Biotest for testing on ferrets in late January.
The contaminated product, which Baxter calls "experimental virus material," was made at the Orth-Donau research facility.
The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany. Read More

Pfizer to Acquire Wyeth, Creating the World's Premier Biopharmaceutical Company

Pfizer - Wyeth 26 January, 2009 Pfizer and Wyeth announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Pfizer will acquire Wyeth in a cash-and-stock transaction currently valued at $50.19 per share, or a total of approximately $68 billion. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the combination.
Acquiring Wyeth would transform Pfizer from a pure pharmaceutical company into a broadly diversified health-care giant, given Wyeth's huge presence in biotech drugs, vaccines, veterinary medicines and consumer health products. Read More

US files WTO complaint on EU poultry restrictions

US - EU 18 January, 2009 The United States filed a WTO complaint, challenging the European Union's long-standing ban on importing chicken meat that has been treated with chemicals such as chlorine dioxide to kill pathogens, which is a common practice in the U.S. industry.
The U.S. chicken industry currently exports about 16% of its production to customers such as Russia and China. Read More

Celldex Announces Sale of Poultry Vaccines Business to Lohmann

Lohmann 13 January, 2009 Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its poultry vaccines business to Lohmann Animal Health International. Since 2002, Lohmann has performed all manufacturing, marketing and distribution activities for Celldex’s marketed Megan®Vac 1 and Megan®Egg poultry vaccines and has paid Celldex product royalties. Read More