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California Foster Farms Plants Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

trenttsd

Raw chicken, pictured, has prompted concern in a USDA public health alert about Foster Farms products. (credit: trenttsd/flickr via Creative Commons)

After 278 people, most of them in California, have been sickened in a continuing salmonella outbreak, federal agriculture officials issued a health alert Monday for Foster Farms chicken.

There’s concern that raw chicken produced by three Foster Farms plants located in California is associated with illnesses cause by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations at a Foster Farms poultry plant Wednesday because of a cockroach infestation.

foster-farms

A package of Foster Farms chicken shown for sale in a cooler at a grocery store on Oct. 9, 2013. The U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to shutter three Foster Farms chicken processing plants in California after nearly 300 people in 17 states have become sick due to an outbreak of salmonella. (Credit: Getty Images)

The plant, which is located in Livingston, Calif., 25 miles southeast of Modesto, was one of three Foster Farms facilities linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 416 people nationwide since last March.

“Our inspectors wrote several noncompliance reports for insanitary conditions at the plant and then took the action to suspend today,” Adam Tarr, a spokesman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, said in an email Wednesday.

The Livingston plant, as well as two other processing facilities in Fresno, was threatened with closure last October because of unsanitary conditions.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

The government was threatening Wednesday to shut down three Foster Farms plants in California linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 278 people.
The Department of Agriculture warned Foster Farms that it had until Thursday to tell the agency how it planned to fix the problem, according to the Associated Press.

trenttsd

Raw chicken, pictured, has prompted concern in a USDA public health alert about Foster Farms products. (credit: trenttsd/flickr via Creative Commons)

There’s concern that raw chicken produced by the plants, located in Fresno and Livingston, is associated with illnesses cause by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

In 18 states, 278 illnesses have been reported, according to the USDA.

Some 42 percent of victims have been hospitalized in the outbreak, more than double the rate of hospitalizations in previous outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC also reported that the salmonella strains detected showed a resistance to one or more commonly prescribed antibiotics.

The outbreak has not been linked to specific products or production dates, the USDA stated. Consumers can check if their Foster Farms raw chicken products came from any of the three facilities involved by finding one of these codes inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package:

  • P6137
  • P6137A
  • P7632

Products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington, according to the USDA.

The outbreak comes amid a government shutdown in which CDC employees were furloughed. Some were summoned back to work because the outbreak is considered an imminent threat to public health.

A salmonella outbreak that has spread to 18 states is apparently resistant to antibiotics, health officials said.

trenttsd

Raw chicken, pictured, has prompted concern in a USDA public health alert about Foster Farms products. (credit: trenttsd/flickr via Creative Commons)

Some 42 percent of victims have been hospitalized in the outbreak, more than double the rate of hospitalizations in previous outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Fifteen Orange County residents have been diagnosed with a salmonella infection and seven hospitalized in the outbreak, which reportedly originated in the Southland.

The origin of the outbreak was traced to Foster Farms chicken processed at three plants in California, the Department of Agriculture said.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our products, and our family-owned company has maintained an excellent food safety record during its near 80-year history,” said Foster Farms President Ron Foster in the statement.

“What I’m concerned about … whether it’s a market or restaurant, they don’t refrigerate [chicken] like they should,” consumer Joe Hastings said in an interview at a Buena Park supermarket. “I think that’s the problem – that lack of refrigeration and just lack of taking care of that type of thing, which makes people sick.”

The outbreak comes amid a government shutdown in which CDC employees were furloughed. Some were summoned back to work because the outbreak is considered an imminent threat to public health.

After 278 people, most of them in California, have been sickened in a continuing salmonella outbreak, federal agriculture officials issued a health alert Monday for Foster Farms chicken.

trenttsd

Raw chicken, pictured, has prompted concern in a USDA public health alert about Foster Farms products. (credit: trenttsd/flickr via Creative Commons)

There’s concern that raw chicken produced by three Foster Farms plants located in California is associated with illnesses cause by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

In 18 states, 278 illnesses have been reported, according to the USDA.

“The investigations indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken and other brand chicken produced at Foster Farms plants are the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections,” the agency stated in a news release.

“Epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials” linked the illnesses to Foster Farms chicken, the USDA stated.

Foster Farms emphasized that no recall was in effect, saying its products were safe if handled properly and fully cooked to at least 165 degrees.

“Foster Farms has instituted a number of additional food safety practices, processes and technology throughout company facilities that have already proven effective in controlling Salmonella in its Pacific Northwest operations earlier this year,” the company said on its website.

The outbreak has not been linked to specific products or production dates, the USDA stated. Consumers can check if their Foster Farms raw chicken products came from any of the three facilities involved by finding one of these codes inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package:

  • P6137
  • P6137A
  • P7632

Products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington, according to the USDA.

Food contaminated with salmonella can cause those who consume it to contract the foodborne illness salmonellosis. The infection can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and people with HIV infection or those undergoing chemotherapy, the USDA stated.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight hours to three days of consumption. Chills, headache, nausea and vomiting can last up to seven days.