April 2, 2020

Foster Farms Salmonella Litigation Rests on Vast Evidence

Food poisoning litigation experts representing victims of the Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak have a mountain of evidence contained in inspection and review documents from the United States Department of Agriculture. Firms like Pritzker Hageman, a national food safety law firm that has collected tens of millions of dollars for victims of past Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S., have been compiling the data for the purpose of filing legal complaints for clients.

Here’s a breakdown of pertinent findings already obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Three Foster Farms manufacturing plants on the West Coast have been associated with the outbreak, but the plant at 2960 Cherry Street in Fresno, California, has been of particular concern.

  • There are 317 confirmed case patients in 20 states, including 232 in California. Forty-two percent of case patients have been hospitalized.
  • The seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals.
  • The tainted product bears the following USDA inspection marks: P6137  (Fresno), P6137A and P7632.
  • FSIS has determined the Fresno plant’s required food hazard control system was inadequate.
  • Inspection of the Fresno plant has uncoverd “multiple and recurring” sanitation non-compliance, including during the period of time the facility has been associated with the outbreak of Salmonellosis.
  • FSIS personnel collected 150 various product samples at the Fresno plant in a recent period of intensified testing. As of October 5,  a total of 38 samples were confirmed positive for Salmonella.
  • FSIS has found that multiple Salmonella isolates identified on Foster Farms products produced at the Fresno facility have the same genetic fingerprint as those in the illness outbreak.
  • An FSIS letter to the Fresno plant manager states that the evidence “suggests that the sanitary conditions in the establishment under which the product is produced could pose a serious ongoing threat to public health.”
  • FSIS also states in a document that the frequency of microbiologically-relevant positive findings suggests that the slaughter, dressing, and further processing of raw poultry product at the Fresno plant, including the prevention of contamination and the pathogen reduction interventions, are inconsistent and unreliable to control Salmonella.
  • Specifically, from January 1, 2013, (just prior to identification of illness in early March), through September 27, 2013, FSIS personnel have documented 12 Noncompliance Records (NRs) for findings of fecal material on carcasses at the Fresno plant. Salmonella in chickens is expelled in fecal matter.
  • An FSIS finding about the Fresno plant states: “Pathogens such as Salmonella are of serious public health concern and can cause a variety of illnesses. The organism can cause a serious infection which can lead to illnesses, including death. Your establishment has failed to demonstrate that it has adequate controls in place to address Salmonella in your poultry products as evidenced by the continuing illness outbreak.

Comments

  1. How did it pass USDA inspection if it is tainted?

    • Linda Larsen says

      USDA doesn’t inspect all of the chicken. They depend on some inspections of the plant, and the HACCP plans filed (and supposedly followed) by the facility. The problem is that it’s okay to sell chicken tainted with Salmonella as long as someone doesn’t get sick. That is why, unfortunately, it’s up to the consumer to handle raw meat super carefully so they don’t get sick. But even that may not be enough.

      • Patricia Hursey says

        Super sad. They say yeah the chicken is tainted, but just cook it thoroughly. Really, what person is going to feed their family chicken from a bad lot#, NOT THIS MOM.

  2. Cogent Reality says

    We returned 3 6-packs of Foster Farms chicken breasts to Costco last night, all marked with one of the three Central California FF-plant designators (6137, 6137A and 7632). We were going to buy the much-more expensive organic chicken Costco also carries, but it had the same 6137A-location designator… The 3X-priced “organic” chicken is packed in the same plant! When we checked labeling on different-labeled chicken at other stores (i.e., Ralph’s) , the 6137 & 6137A designators were all over the labels. What’s alarming about this is Costco and other stores were overflowing with unpurchased Foster Farms-labeled chicken, but people had obviously alternately purchased the non-FF-product that had also been packed at the same FF-CA plants, because those stocks were nearly empty. This also included the “O”-organic brand, and also a generic brand, at Vons, both also marked with 6137. All Californians should be advised!

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