Another Chicken Salmonella Outbreak: Foster Farms Company at Issue
The Foster Farms chicken company took a major hit when a massive salmonella outbreak sickened hundreds in what has been called the worst food safety lapse in the history of the company. The overall sales of their chicken products dropped by 25 percent, and several large supermarket chains, most notably Kroger, took their products off the shelves. Their reputation was definitely tarnished. But now, they have apologized, and embarked on an ambitious plan to fix the problem once and for all.
While salmonella is the second-most-common food borne illness in the United States, this has been a particularly bad outbreak. The strain, Salmonella Heidelberg, has shown itself to be resistant to some antibiotics. It’s also a very virulent strain of the bacteria. As of October 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 338 people in 20 states have been stricken with salmonella infection tied to three Foster Farms processing plants in California. More than 40 percent of those who have contracted salmonella infection this time have been hospitalized, and 13 percent received blood infections, which is far higher than the typical 5 percent blood infection rate in most salmonella outbreaks.
Though Foster Farms and the CDC have identified the origination point of the salmonella bacteria, they have not been able to identify the specific source. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has noted several cleanliness violations at the plants.
Company officials have issued an apology, and made a commitment to attacking the salmonella bacteria at all phases of production. They admitted to not paying proper attention to plant safety procedures, instead focusing far more of its attention on the farms, because the salmonella contamination threat was greater there. But their attention has shifted.
They’ve begun to vaccinate chickens for Salmonella Heidelberg, and they are feeding the birds probiotics, in order to fight the salmonella bacteria in the birds’ digestive systems. They have also begun asking poultry breeders to certify that the chicks they supply to the company are salmonella-free. The company has also increased its sterilization of everything in its plants, including workers’ clothing.
Though they issued an apology, there is still no recall of their chicken, and that they continue to insist to consumers that if they cook the chicken thoroughly, there will be no problem. This despite the fact that Costco issued a recall of cooked chicken product from a San Francisco store, after a customer became ill. The CDC has issued a health alert, and the potentially contaminated chicken have USDA marks of inspection P6137, P6137A or P7632.
The Texas Food Poisoning Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have the knowledge and experience to go after the largest food producers in the nation, and get them to take your case seriously when you have stricken with a food borne illness like salmonella. If you or a loved one has become ill because of food contamination or poisoning, please contact the Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm immediately.