US food processing firm Tyson Foods made the statement yesterday to reassure customers worldwide that the company is better equipped to deal with an outbreak of HPAI.
“We’re hopeful highly pathogenic avian influenza will not return to the US when wild waterfowl begin their annual migration,” said public relations manager Worth Sparkman.
“Even though our chicken operations have not been affected and there has been no new case reported near our turkey operations since mid-June, all of our poultry operations are in a heightened biosecurity status.
'Biosecurity guidance given'
“Tyson Foods’ employees who come in contact with live birds have received additional training specifically designed to help protect against the spread of HPAI and we’re communicating additional biosecurity guidance to the farmers who grow for our company.
“We test all Tyson-owned birds for the virus before they leave the farm, and we know the results before they’re processed. Should any flock be diagnosed with HPAI, farms are immediately quarantined and birds from them are not processed.”
Tyson Foods’ comment on its preparedness for a bird flu outbreak follows a report by Moody’s Investor Services. In an extensive review of the state of America’s poultry industry, the report, published on 24 November, concluded that any outbreak of HPAI would be “much less severe”.
Larger food processors with more diversified revenue streams – such as Tyson Foods – are “best positioned to withstand segment earning pressure”, said Moody’s vice-president Brian Weddington.