The US Dept. of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service linked Foster Farms to an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg in October 2013. The USDA threatened to shutter the company's three California plants. The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a total 574 individual who were infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg related to Foster Farms’ chicken products.
But the company has since implemented new food-safety interventions at its three plants. Foster Farms is screening breeder flocks before the birds enter the company's processing system. The company also is vaccinating chickens multiple times, using probiotic feed and using acid litter.
The company detailed its food-safety initiatives and results during an event held at the home of the company's founders, Max and Verda Foster. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, US Reps. Jim Costa and David Valadao and California Dept. of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Rose attended the event.