November 16, 2019

Foster Farms Chicken Salmonella Outbreak Creeps Along

It has been one month since the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a Public Health Alert due to concerns that illnesses caused by Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California. Since that time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its count of how many people have been sickened in an outbreak that does not appear to be over but has slowed down since public agencies and food poisoning experts in law and academia have called attention to the threat.

Foster Farms Salmonella Chicken OutbreakMeanwhile, attorneys for victims have been moving on Foster Farms chicken litigation to win recoveries and Salmonella lawyer Fred Pritzker said his firm is continuing to accept new cases. “For victims of this outbreak, part of moving forward means stepping up to hold Foster Farms accountable for an epic smear of food contamination,” said Pritzker, whose Bad Bug Law Team has recovered tens of millions of dollars for victims of past Salmonella foodborne illness outbreaks.

Pritzker said documentation to assess fault and liability in Foster Farms chicken Salmonella lawsuits lies partly in a document released by FSIS last month. The agency threatened a shut down of the company’s Fresno chicken processing center, but the closure was averted at the last minute. The detailed “Notice of Intended Enforcement”  lays out a deep list of concerns over observed non-compliance of food safety law, Pritzker said.

As of October 29, 2013, a total of 362 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg had been reported from 21 states and Puerto Rico. More than a third of  the outbreak victims have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Also of note, a whopping 74 percent of confirmed case patients have been reported from California.  Washington, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Nevada are the states with the next most number of confirmed illnesses.

The 2013 version of the Foster Farms Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak was detected after the CDC announced closure on a similar outbreak associated with Foster Farms chicken products in 2012. In the latest outbreak, seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria have been identified. Ill persons infected with each of the seven strains were linked to consumption Foster Farms chicken, the CDC has said.

At this point in the investigation, FSIS has been unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period. Raw products from the facilities in question bear one of the establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package: “P6137” “P6137A” “P7632”.  The products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington State. In an associated recall announced On October 12 and October 17, Costco’s El Camino Real store located in South San Francisco, California recalled more than 23,000 units of rotisserie chicken products due to possible Salmonella Heidelberg contamination.

Comments

  1. Diane Sinetos says

    I am still seeing the inspection codes listed above on all of the Foster Farms chicken, Eating RIght Chicken and Open Nature
    Chicken at Safeway in Pollock Pines, CA. Are these codes a one shot thing or used all the time? I haven’t bought chicken in over a month.

    • Linda Larsen says

      The chicken that people were told to avoid was processed in the plant before October 7, 2013. The USDA almost shut down those three facilities, but Foster Farms avoided that by supposedly making food safety improvements. So those facilities can produce chicken for sale again. There never was an official recall, except for rotisserie Foster Farms chickens sold by Costco that were also contaminated with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.

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