Tyson, Smithfield shares decline on Japanese ban
Beef processors Tyson Foods Inc. and Smithfield Foods Inc. saw their shares retreat Friday, January 20 after Japan closed the door on U.S. beef imports less than six weeks after the country lifted a two-year ban, the Associated Press reports. Shares of Tyson fell 26 cents to $16.23, while Smithfield shares dropped 33 cents to $28.97 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Losses were slight given that Japan had only lifted its ban on U.S. cattle imports younger than 20 months old. Japan had been the most lucrative overseas market for American beef before a ban was imposed in December 2003, following the discovery of the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. herd. A recent shipment contained material it considered at risk for mad cow disease, prompting the country to again halt imports. The product that prompted the latest ban — which contained bones that are not accepted by the Japanese — was shipped by Atlantic Veal and Lamb Inc.