January 20, 2020

After Salmonella Outbreaks, Foster Farms CEO To Step Down

After 11 years that included two Salmonella outbreaks that sickened at least 768 people, Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster has announced plans to step down.  Foster, 56, will continue to be an owner and board member of the Livingston, Calif.-based company his grandparents founded 75 years ago.

SalmonellaFoster will stay on as CEO until the company finds a successor. In a letter to employees, Foster said that during his tenure the company had experienced some of the most challenging and rewarding times and that he was confident Foster Farms was well-positioned for the future.

The company has characterized the 17-month Salmonella outbreak, which ended in July 2014,  as transformational. The outbreak, which sickened 634 people in 29 states and Puerto Rico, spurred Foster Farms to adopt reforms that have reduced Salmonella rates to an industry-leading position, the company maintains.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramping, nausea, chills and headache. They usually develop within 12 to 72 hours of exposure and last about a week. For some people, the diarrhea can be so severe that hospitalization is required. These patients can develop a more serious, sometimes fatal infection that spreads from the intestines to the blood stream.

Of the seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg associated with the Foster Farms outbreak, which began in March 2013 and ended July 11, 2014, four were antibiotic resistant resulting in hospitalization rates of 38 percent, about double the average.  Rates of severe blood infections that were triple the average.

The median age of case patients, who ranged in age from less than 1 year old to 93 years old, was 18. Cases were split equally along gender lines.

The 634 cases were reported from the following states: Alabama (1), Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (25), California (490), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Georgia (1), Hawaii (1), Idaho (5), Illinois (4), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (4), Missouri (5), Montana (1), Nevada (11), New Mexico (2), North Carolina (1), Oregon (17), Puerto Rico (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (13), Utah (6), Virginia (4), Washington (20), West Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).




  1. this is scary!
    why did this go on for so lon?
    & how many cases do they figure go unreported?
    thank you

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