Shares in Smithfield Foods tumbled by more than 12% yesterday (27 April) amid fears in the market over the impact of the swine flu scare on the meat processing sector.

Smithfield shares dropped 12.4% to US$9.04 by the close of trading and led a number of fallers among US meat firms.

Tyson Foods saw its shares fall 8.9% to $9.96, while Hormel Foods‘ stock dipped 2.1% to $29.99.

According to data on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hog futures also fell as investors grew anxious that the ongoing swine flu outbreak could hit demand for pork products.