Foster Farms issues voluntary chicken recall

Bee Staff ReportsJuly 4, 2014 

Foster Farms is voluntarily recalling chicken products produced in March with “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 21 to March 29, the company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday. The company’s news release noted that Foster Farms-branded chicken currently on store shelves is not involved.

This is the first recall of Foster Farms products since an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella tied to raw chicken from Foster Farms’ massive plant in Livingston and its two smaller plants in Fresno in March 2013. Nearly 600 people have been sickened; there have been no deaths.

Foster Farms previously has declined to issue a voluntary recall for the chicken, on the grounds that it is safe if properly handled and cooked to at least 165 degrees.

“This recall is prompted by a single illness associated with specific fresh chicken product,” Foster Farms said in its news release, “but in the fullest interest of food safety, Foster Farms has broadened the recall to encompass all products packaged at that time. Foster Farms regrets any illness associated with its products.” It included no information about the single illness.

In addition to the chicken noted above, the recall includes “very limited frozen Sunland chicken products, due to the potential presence of Salmonella Heidelberg,” the news release states. “Only products made in California within this specific March time frame and with plant codes of P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632 are involved. Fresh Foster Farms branded chicken products in grocery stores today are not involved. Individually frozen bags of chicken sold at retail are not involved. Products were sold under the Foster Farms and private label brand names.”

The products were distributed in California, Hawaii, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Alaska, Foster Farms reported. The company said retailers have been notified. The company said consumers are advised to discard or return affected products to the place of purchase. A full list of involved products is at www.FosterFarms.com/March2014ProductRecall.

For more information, retailers can call (800) 338-0374. Consumers can contact the company’s Consumer Affairs hotline at (800) 338-8051 or info@fosterfarms.com.

Foster Farms, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, recently has reported progress in its battle against salmonella.

In a Modesto Bee story in mid-June, Dr. Robert O’Connor, a veterinarian and senior vice president of technical services at Foster Farms, said salmonella has been detected in 2 percent to 3 percent of samples of cut-up raw chicken from the three plants this spring. That is less than the industry benchmark of 25 percent and Foster Farms’ new goal of 5 percent, he said.

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