Mexico clamps down on Yankee chickens over bird flu outbreak

Mexico clamps down on Yankee chickens over bird flu outbreak

[Ed. – Squawk!]

Mexico, the biggest buyer of U.S. chicken, and other major countries imposed new import restrictions on Thursday after a virulent form of bird flu was found at the heart of America’s poultry region.

The virus’ discovery in Arkansas is expected to prompt similar moves by up to 40 more countries, and the restrictions are likely to depress prices and hurt U.S. poultry producers, economists said.

Top U.S. poultry producers like JBS SA unit Pilgrim’s Pride Corp and Sanderson Farms Inc downplayed the risk to operations, but the Arkansas case sent their shares tumbling on Wednesday ahead of an official confirmation. …

After recent cases in a handful of other states, the U.S. government on Wednesday confirmed the infection of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian flu in turkeys in Arkansas, home to Tyson Foods Inc, the world’s biggest chicken company. The virus is unlikely to kill enough U.S. birds to offset the drop in overseas demand due to trade bans.

While the H5N2 strain poses no threat to humans, according to the USDA, it is deadly to poultry. Avian flu can spread rapidly through a flock, killing birds in as little as 24 hours.

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