Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) Tries To Cool Fear Over Bird Flu Case

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) doesn’t think there is any major cause for concern about the safety of its flocks following reports of bird flu case in Arkansas. Federal officials confirmed avian influenza case in a commercial flock in Arkansas’ Boone County. Shares of Tyson took a hit following the report.

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What was initially a suspected case of avian influenza in Arkansas has been confirmed by federal faming officials. However, in an email statement, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) seemed to cool fears about the safety of its products. The company’s spokesman, Worth Sparkman, stated that none of their flocks had tested positive for avian influenza virus. Further to that, Sparkman noted that Tyson always gas biosecurity measures to deal with such cases when they arise. Sparkman added that they have been more diligent given that avian influenza has been in the U.S.

No cause for alarm

According to the Department of Agriculture officials, the health risk from the noted infections is low.

Following the massive outbreak of bird flu in 2013, poultry from Arkansas was temporary banned in markets such as China, Hong Kong, Japan and Russia.

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) is not the only poultry company taking the hit from the confirmation of bird flu infection in Arkansas. Other poultry names such as Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ:SAFM) and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ:PPC) also registered impacts on their stocks.

Antibiotic chicken

The issue of bird flu infection comes at a time when Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN)’s shares recently suffered a shock after McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) said it would phase out chicken raised with human antibiotics. Tyson is a major supplier of chicken to McDonald’s and it uses antibiotics on its flock, especially in the hatcheries to prevent infections.

However, since at least October last year, Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) said it has not used a particular antibiotic known as gentamicin, which had been in use at its hatcheries. Tyson is considering alternatives to antibiotics to keep its flocks safe. However, its rival, Perdue Farms, has already done away with antibiotics in its hatcheries. The move by Perdue was motivated by consumer concern.

Scott Coper

Scott Coper

Coper graduated from the University of Chicagi with majors in political science and journalism.