Consumer Products

Tyson Foods Is Playing a Game of COVID Chicken With China

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) took a hit on Monday after it came to light that China’s customs agency has suspended poultry imports from one of the company’s facilities in Arkansas. The suspension is COVID-19 related.

The facility in question is located in Springdale, Arkansas.

A spokesperson for Tyson noted that all global and U.S. health agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have said that there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 via food.

However, the root of the problem comes from the COVID-19 cases that have gripped the Springdale facility. After conducting coronavirus testing at this facility, Tyson found that 481 out of 3,748 tested positive, and about 95% of the positives were asymptomatic.

Note that this isn’t the first Tyson facility that has seen an outbreak of cases. There have been outbreaks in North Carolina, Nebraska and Iowa facilities as well.

This move by China comes after it lifted a five-year ban on U.S. poultry in November. China originally blocked U.S. poultry imports after an outbreak of avian influenza in December 2014. Note that China had bought more than $500 million in American chicken and turkey, among other poultry, in 2013.

The new (current) outbreak in China is being blamed on imported salmon. Contract tracing tacked the coronavirus clusters to a chopping board used by a fish seller. Ultimately, this has led China to boycott salmon altogether.

Chicken may be next on the menu.

Tyson Foods stock traded down over 2% to $61.58 on Monday, in a 52-week range of $42.57 to $94.24. The consensus price target is $72.72.