Hormel Foods Says Bird Flu Will Hamper Sales of Jennie-O Turkey

Hormel Foods CEO Jeffrey Ettinger
“We are experiencing significant challenges in our turkey supply chain due to the recent HPAI outbreaks in Minnesota and Wisconsin,” Hormel Foods Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Ettinger said in the statement. Photographer: Jonathan Fickies/Bloomberg

Hormel Foods Corp. is coping with an outbreak of bird flu at its turkey suppliers, hampering production at its Jennie-O business and potentially hurting sales this year.

Multiple turkey farms have detected highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, or HPAI, forcing them to destroy some flocks and place areas under quarantine, the Austin, Minnesota-based company said in a statement Monday. Jennie-O, which sells turkey burgers, sausages and other products, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to manage the situation, Hormel said.

“We are experiencing significant challenges in our turkey supply chain due to the recent HPAI outbreaks in Minnesota and Wisconsin,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Ettinger said in the statement. “Tight meat supplies and operational challenges will pressure earnings in the back half of our fiscal year.”

The company maintained its profit forecast of $2.50 to $2.60 a share, excluding some items, though it warned that the turkey challenges may push results to the lower end of that range.

Hormel shares fell less than 1 percent to $56.05 in late trading after the announcement. The stock was up 8.2 percent this year through Monday’s close.

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