Neogen products kill "bird flu" virus

CONTACT: , Rod Poland, Director of Corporate Communications, 517/372-9200

LANSING, Mich., March 2, 2004 — Neogen Corporation announced today that it was providing support to the poultry industry by offering a disinfectant proven to help prevent the spread of “bird flu”. Neogen’s U.S. EPA-approved DC&R® Disinfectant has been repeatedly shown to effectively control the strain of avian influenza responsible for recent U.S. outbreaks.

Research work at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Georgia, and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture showed that DC&R was effective in as little as 10 minutes in controlling four subtypes of the avian influenza virus H7N2 inoculated in poultry manure. The test was conducted using chickens of different ages and in various environmental conditions. The test’s results are important since control measures must be effective in the presence of organic material, as the total cleaning of the poultry environment is impractical. Because of its cost-effectiveness, DC&R is commonly used in the control of the broad spectrum of organisms that exist in poultry and swine production, as well as other animal facilities.

DC&R is being used to spray poultry houses once birds have been removed under normal conditions, as well as houses depopulated as a result of an outbreak. The disinfectant is also effective for biosecurity footpans placed at poultry house entrances to prevent contamination that might be on workers’ boots, and to treat tires as feed trucks and other vehicles move from farm to farm.

Earlier studies confirmed that the Neogen product was effective in controlling the avian influenza virus in numerous environmental conditions in 10 minutes or less. In 1998, a private laboratory reported to the U.S. EPA that DC&R Disinfectant “demonstrated complete inactivation of the avian influenza virus as required by the U.S. EPA for virucidal claims.” Another study found the disinfectant would kill the virus even after 7 days after application at ambient (room) temperatures, and up to 12 days in freezing temperatures.

The DC&R disinfectant is marketed by Neogen’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Hess & Clark. This company was acquired by Neogen in November 2003 from ConAgra’s United Agri Products division. It is one of several disinfectants now marketed by the company for the control of bacteria, molds, and viruses that cause disease and production problems in poultry and animal agriculture.

“Scientists have confirmed that the strains of avian influenza associated with several recent outbreaks in the U.S. are not the same infectious strain isolated in Asia that is associated with several human deaths,” said James Herbert, Neogen’s president. “However, control of avian influenza in the U.S. is important because of associated health problems with chickens, and the recent bans on the sale of U.S. poultry products to a number of countries.”

Herbert, who visited China in mid-February, reported a tremendous economic impact to that country and its Asian neighbors. It is estimated that approximately 100 million birds may have been destroyed in that area in an effort to control the disease and prevent human transmission. Herbert noted that during his visit, the Chinese government gave special tax concessions to all poultry producers in that country for the next year, in addition to paying the current expenditures to control the outbreak.

Outbreaks have been reported in poultry operations in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Eastern Texas, and British Columbia. The Delaware, Pennsylvania, Texas and Canadian outbreaks are all in areas that are in close proximity to commercial production involving millions of broiler and egg-producing chickens.

The European Union, South Korea, and eight other countries have banned the import of all poultry products from the U.S. following the Texas outbreak. Mexico has banned most U.S. poultry products. Russia, the United States largest poultry export market, blocked poultry imports from Texas, and said it was considering a U.S.-wide ban. These import restrictions have been put in place even though officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have stated repeatedly that there have been no reported human infections that involve the strains of avian influenza found in the U.S. The European Union Health Commissioner stated last week that the U.S.-wide ban could be reduced to Texas if U.S. authorities could prove they had contained the outbreak.

Neogen Corporation (Nasdaq: NEOG) develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. The Company’s Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media, and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, genetic modifications, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases and sanitation concerns. Neogen’s Animal Safety Division markets a complete line of diagnostics, veterinary instruments, veterinary pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, disinfectants, and rodenticides.

Certain portions of this news release that do not relate to historical financial information constitute forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual future results and trends may differ materially from historical results or those expected depending on a variety of factors listed in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in the Company’s most recently filed Form 10-K.