USDA to shut down Foster Farms unless company has plan for salmonella outbreak
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) told Foster Farms that it would withhold inspections unless the company came up with a plan to solve the salmonella outbreak. NBC News reported that the salmonella Heidelberg bacteria that caused 300 people in 17 states to get sick came from the three plants of Foster Farms. A letter had already been sent to Ron Foster, the President of Foster Farms, by the USDA which gave him until Thursday to solve the problem or risk getting shut down.
This was the second outbreak from Foster Farms this year, but the company said it had no intention of recalling its chicken products. The company advised consumers to clean the chicken and cook it at a temperature above 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill salmonella.
Food safety expert Craig Hedberg told the Los Angeles Times, "From a business standpoint, it sends a tremendously bad message to your customers. They obviously have this strain present in their chickens and they're not adequately controlling it in their plants and it's getting out to customers."
Data from Forbes showed Foster Farms posted revenues of USD 2.3 billion last year. It is ranked 196 in its America's Largest Private Companies List.