LIVINGSTON, Calif. – Foster Farms has ramped up food-safety interventions at three of its California processing plants, according to the company.
In a statement posted to the company's website, Ron Foster, president of the company, said new interventions and technology are in place to break the chain of Salmonella contamination that resulted in hundreds of consumers getting sick. The US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said chicken processed at three Foster Farms plants infected 317 people with Salmonella from March to at least September. Although no deaths have been reported, the hospitalization rate was relatively high for a Salmonella outbreak, according to officials. Foster apologized for "any foodborne illness" associated with the company's products, and said the company had responded to the USDA's demands that the company improve its food-safety protocols.
"Last Thursday, the USDA approved our plans to add new processes and technology to our three California plants. These updates are in addition to new food-safety improvements implemented as early as March of this year and in September. Our commitment to food safety is continuous.
"This past weekend, Foster Farms installed six new processes throughout our California facilities known to effectively lower the incidence of Salmonella. We are breaking the chain of Salmonella at every stage of production — from the ranch where the birds live, to the plant where the chicken is processed, to the product packaging line. We are implementing these processes in all of our facilities, including our plant in Farmerville, La. With these measures in place, we are confident that Foster Farms will come out stronger and with the safest, cleanest and most vigilant poultry plants in the country. We are holding ourselves to a higher standard."
Foster went on to say that USDA and the California Department of Public Health have confirmed the safety of the company's poultry products when properly handled and fully cooked.
"We stand by our products with a 100-percent quality guarantee — we always have," Foster concluded. "If you have concerns about any Foster Farms products, please contact us. We have worked hard to earn your trust over nearly 75 years and we are doing everything we can to retain that trust."