LIVINGSTON, CALIF. – Foster Farms Inc. has reopened its Livingston poultry plant after closing the facility between Sept. 1 and 7 following a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak at the poultry processing complex. The closure, that was recommended by the Merced Department of Public Health (MCDPH) was “part of a comprehensive program by Foster Farms to ensure the safety of all Livingston Poultry Complex employees from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ira Brill, Foster Farms vice president of Communications.
“We genuinely value our dedicated, hardworking employees. Since our founding in 1939, employee health and welfare has always been Foster Farms’ highest priority,” he said.
During the six-day closure, Foster Farms has conducted more than 4,800 COVID-19 tests of the Livingston Complex workforce – less than 1% of the results came up positive. Any employees that tested positive were asked to self-isolate.
“Nowhere else in California has a testing program of this magnitude been so quickly and successfully conducted,” Brill said. “We extend our appreciation to the US Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the US Department of Health and Human Services, for their material assistance to help make the testing possible.”
Foster Farms will continue its regular testing over the next few weeks.
In addition to employee testing and deep cleaning in the facility, Foster Farms is:
- providing employees with 1-on-1 COVID-19 training;
- adding a licensed healthcare professional to oversee its COVID-19 programs;
- committing to establish a joint COVID-19 Worker Health and Safety Committee, comprised of employee and company representatives;
- conducting ongoing communications with workers about testing and illnesses;
- continuing to increase social distancing measures; and
- continuing to expand break area spaces.
“The intensive testing and implementation of additional worker safety recommendations undertaken by Foster Farms, in addition to the mitigations following CDC guidance that are already in place, are a robust effort to protect Livingston employees from COVID-19,” said Dr. David Acheson, who held the position of Chief Medical Officer with the USDA and FDA, and who advises Foster Farms on COVID-19. “Routine follow-up testing will help ensure that Foster Farms is vigilant in maintaining the low prevalence baseline and protect employees. Holding the line against COVID-19, and ultimately defeating it requires constant vigilance, and the cooperation of all.”