KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Mexico has banned imports from three Foster Farms poultry plants in California that were implicated in a Salmonella outbreak that made 338 people sick.
The US Department of Agriculture delisted two facilities in Fresno, Calif. and another in Livingston, Calif. This marks the first time Mexico has banned meat products from the US as a result of a public health alert issued by FSIS, according to news reports. Mexico did not ban meat from other Foster Farms processing plants in California, Washington and Oregon.
FSIS issues a public health alert in early October after more than 200 cases of Salmonella Heidelberg infections were reported in connection with Foster Farms raw chicken products. Investigators were unable to link the illnesses to a specific product or production period. However, three plants were later associated with the outbreak. USDA threatened to close the processing plants until Foster Farms fixed problems that may have contributed to conditions causing products to be contaminated. USDA later approved corrective actions taken by Foster Farms.
No recall notice was issued. However, FSIS has stated the agency did not have enough evidence to make a legal case for a recall. Some stores pulled Foster Farms products from shelves anyway. Ron Foster, president of the company, apologized for the illnesses and has been reported saying the outbreak has caused a 25 percent decline in the company's business.