Tyson: overseas plants will help sidestep import bans

(February 25, 2004) - (Springdale-AP) -- Springdale-based Tyson Foods is trying to distance itself from domestic outbreaks of bird flu. Tyson - the world's largest meat company - says none of its U-S poultry flocks is infected with the disease and orders from countries banning U-S poultry can be filled by its foreign plants. Bird flu has been detected in chicken flocks in Texas and Delaware. Officials say the Texas strain is highly contagious, unlike the variety in Delaware. The Texas outbreak prompted the European Union and South Korea to ban imports of chicken from the United States. Neither domestic instance is viewed as being as severe at the avian influenza in Asia that is blamed for the deaths of 22 people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reports there are no known cases of people being sickened by the disease in the U-S. Tyson says the U-S poultry industry is taking extra steps to protect flocks from disease.