Mexico Easing US Poultry Ban Shows Ebbing Threat of Bird Flu
Mexico’s move to start allowing some imports of American chicken and turkey from states with commercial bird- flu cases signals that the disease’s threat to US poultry exports is starting to subside.
Mexico will accept shipments of some poultry from the states if the products are destined for further domestic processing, according to an update Tuesday on the website for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Other nations may follow suit, according to Farha Aslam, a New York-based analyst for Stephens Inc.
“Over time, China and South Korea will likely lift their trade restrictions, but no actions are expected in the near term,” Aslam said in an e-mail Tuesday. “The increased access to Mexico is a positive for US poultry companies.”
Shares of Tyson Foods, the biggest US chicken processor, and Sanderson Farms have recouped most of their losses over the past two weeks after plunging on 11 March on signs that the disease was spreading toward the nation’s southeast region, the heart of the domestic poultry industry. Both companies have said they were reinforcing precautions for their flocks. Mexico’s decision comes as there are still restrictions in place for shipments to China, the European Union and more than a dozen other countries.
“We’re seeing countries as important as Mexico as being willing to be a little more nimble with their policies,” Will Sawyer, an Atlanta-based vice president of US animal-protein research for Rabobank International, said in a telephone interview. “The industry is feeling a lot better about the whole situation.”
Bloomberg News, edited by ESM