California chicken salmonella outbreak
October 10, 2013
Three California plants that sell chicken to Ralphs and Food 4 Less are blamed for an outbreak of salmonella poisoning that has sickened at least 278 people nationwide. [LATimes]
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday threatened to close three California poultry plants operated by Foster Farms because sanitary conditions at the facilities were so poor that they posed a “serious ongoing threat to public health.” The agency has given Foster Farms until Thursday to clean up the plants in Fresno and Livingston, Calif.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 42 percent of sickened individuals were hospitalized — double the normal rate for such an outbreak. In addition, salmonella strains detected were showing resistance to antibiotics.
“It is outrageous that Foster Farms has not issued a recall in the face of so many illnesses associated with their product,” said Urvashi Rangan, toxicologist and executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center, to the Los Angeles Times. “We are calling on Foster Farms and the retail outlets that sell Foster Farms to recall the chicken processed at these plants. Foster Farms has a responsibility to public health to take this step.”
Even though a recall has not been initiated, officials from Ralphs and Food 4 Less said they are pulling the chicken from the shelves.
“Those include fresh products, which would be like whole fryers, breasts, drums, thighs and ground chicken,” said Kendra Doyel, a spokeswoman for Ralphs, to the Times. “It would not include cooked or processed products like lunch meat [and] hot dogs.”
The chicken in question has the USDA marks of inspection P6137, P6137A or P7632.