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SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Foods Inc. based here said it will not realize a significant benefit until sometime next year from Japan's decision to ease a ban on U.S. beef imports.
Tyson said sales to Japan would be limited because of the country's restriction that it will only import meat from cows younger than 21 months because no cases of mad cow disease have ever been found in cows that age, and because of new procedures for verifying cattle ages.
Still, Tyson said it hoped Japan's move would trigger an end to similar bans in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
"However, it will take time to return to meaningful export levels in Asia. In fact, even if these other markets open soon with less restrictive export requirements, we may not see significant export business to Asia until the second half of fiscal 2006," Tyson said in a statement.
"In the meantime, the U.S. beef industry continues to struggle with challenging market conditions, which include a continued short supply of market-ready cattle, low plant capacity utilization and the seasonal slowdown in beef demand along with extremely cold weather in the nation's major cattle production areas," the supplier said.
Japan and dozens of other countries banned U.S. beef after mad cow disease was confirmed in Washington State in a cow that had been imported from Canada. Japan agreed Monday to ease the ban.
Tyson Foods, Inc., founded in 1935, is the world's largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, the second-largest food company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products, which are marketed under the "Powered by Tyson" strategy.