July 16, 2018

Mexico Delists Foster Farms Plants Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

The Mexican government has delisted three Foster Farms chicken processing plants from its approved export list. The plants are: “06137A P — Foster Food Products (dba: Sunland Poultry Company) — 2960 South Cherry Street — Fresno, CA 93706 — delisted October 22, 2013”; “06137 P — Foster Food Products (dba: Sunland Poultry Company)—1000 Davis Street—Livingston, CA 95334 —delisted October 22, 2013”; and “07632  P — Foster Poultry Farms (dba: Sunland Poultry Company) — 900 W. Belgravia Ave. — Fresno, CA 93701 — delisted October 22, 2913”.

chicken breasts styrofoamThose are the three facilities that produced chicken linked with the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak that has sickened at least 340 people in the United States. Foster Farms has other poultry plants in California and in other states on the west coast that were not delisted.

This is the first time Mexico has delisted a United States facility. The public health alert issued by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) triggered the action. There has been no recall of raw chicken products by Foster Farms or the USDA, although Kroger pulled Foster Farms chicken from its stores. Cooked rotisserie chickens were recalled from Costco stores, since Salmonella in ready to eat products is an illegal adulterant. The USDA threatened to close those three Foster Farms plants, but just three days later government officials said they would not close them, citing a “corrective action plan” made by the company.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include  diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and headache, and may include nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. People with salmonellosis, the illness caused by that bacteria, usually get sick 12 hours to 3 days after infection, and the illness usually lasts up to a week. Those in high risk groups, including the elderly, the very young, and those with compromised immune systems, can become ill enough to be hospitalized. The hospitalization rate in this current outbreak is 42%, twice as high as usual. Four of the seven strains of bacteria in Foster Farms chicken are resistant to antibiotics, which makes treating the illness much more difficult.

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