January 22, 2020

Foster Farms: We’re Making Progress In Salmonella Reduction

Foster Farms says that despite recent growth in a Salmonella outbreak linked to its chicken, the company has made steady progress in reducing levels of the bacteria at each stage of production. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that with 50 new cases of salmonellosis reported since the last update on April 9, the 27-state outbreak, which began in March 2013, now includes 574 people.

Salmonella BacteriaIn response to the USDA’s October 2013 threats to close the plants associated with the outbreak, Foster Farms says it has developed “a multiple-hurdle approach to reduce or eliminate Salmonella at each stage of production – from screening breeder flocks before entering the Foster Farms system, to enhancing procedures on the farms where the birds are raised, to adding sanitation interventions in the plants where the chicken is processed as a whole bird and when it is cut into parts.

As a result, the company says it continues to make steady progress that has effectively reduced Salmonella at the parts level to less than 10 percent – well below the 2011/2012 USDA-measured industry benchmark of 25 percent. With each set of sampling, Foster Farms has demonstrated a significant improvement in Salmonella control,” according to statement on the company’s website.

The statement concludes with a reminder that Salmonella increases during warmer months and consumers should follow proper food safety guidelines when handling it. Those measures would include storing packages of chicken on a plate on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so blood and juices from the chicken cannot contaminate other foods; using a dedicated set of cutting boards and utensils for the raw chicken that is not used for anything else until it washed with hot soapy water, immediately cleaning up any drips or spills from the raw chicken with hot soapy water; and using a food thermometer to make sure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165˚F.  Color of the meat or juices is not an accurate indicator of proper cooking.




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