The world’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods, has reported operating income for the fiscal first quarter ended 28 December 2002 of US$145m, compared to $273m in the same quarter last year.

The company said earnings were adversely affected by a sluggish US economy, increased grain costs, lower market prices caused by an oversupply of all meat proteins, as well as continued pressures in international markets.

First quarter sales were $5.8bn compared to $5.9bn last year.