USDA To Shut Down Foster Farms Plants? Reps Urge Officials To Take Action

A substantial salmonella outbreak has two reps from Congress urging the USDA to shut down Foster Farms plants until the situation can be resolved. The California-based firm has issued a recall for food produced during the most recent timeframe in question, but some people think that more needs to be done.

According to NBC News, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. and Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., have urged the USDA to shut down the Foster Farms plants for now. This comes after the July 3 recall announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. At this point reports indicate that at least 621 people have been affected by salmonella tied to Foster Farms chicken products since March 2013.

Foster Farms has not specified just how much chicken has been recalled in this effort. The July Foster Farms recall is just the latest in a string of incidents tied to the California-based company’s products. The Samonella Heidelberg outbreak has led to nearly 40 percent of those affected to be hospitalized. Reports indicate that 13 percent of the victims have experienced serious bloodstream infections as a result of the contamination.

As CBS News notes, Foster Farms has been somewhat resistant to issuing voluntary recalls regarding their product in the past. Salmonella has been tied to some of its products for more than a year in multiple instances, and the company’s first voluntary recall came just this month. The company has now recalled 170 chicken products that were produced in March in its Fresno facilities.

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The affected Foster Farms products have “use or freeze by” date of March 16 to March 31. States affected include Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Some of the products are under the Foster Farms label, but other labels involved include Kroger, Safeway, FoodMaxx, Sunland, Savemart and Valbest. The full details regarding the Class I recall can be found on the USDA website and the full list of products is available on the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service site.

The latest case is said to involve one single product, a chicken breast, and one case of illness in California in May. The Foster Farms outbreak that has led to increasing numbers of illnesses first began in 2013. The ongoing issues have prompted both Congress representatives and some food safety advocates to urge the USDA to shut down the Foster Farms plants. Will the company implement steps to avoid further issues? That much remains unclear.

[Image via KCRA]