April 20, 2024

After Frontline Report, Sen. Gillibrand Calls for USDA Mandatory Recall Authority

A Frontline report that used the Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak to show how the USDA's lack of enforcement puts consumers at risk for severe illness, has prompted Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY) to introduce the Meat and Poultry Recall Notification Act  which would provide the USDA mandatory recall authority over contaminated meat and poultry. In 2013, Foster Farms was linked to a 29-state Salmonella outbreak that sickened 634 people with an especially virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg. Among those who became ill , was 18-month-old Noah Craten whose Salmonella infection created abscesses in his brain. To save his life, surgeons had to cut open his skull and remove them. Noah’s story was featured in the Frontline report which spotlighted the USDA’s lack of … [Read more...]

USDA to Set New Safety Standards for Campylobacter in Poultry

After the USDA announced they will set new safety standards for Salmonella in poultry, the agency has announced they will set new standards on Campylobacter in chicken products as well. The standards should be released by the end of September, 2014. In a letter sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), USDA secretary Tom Vilsack stated that poultry slaughter modernization is a high priority. Consumer groups and food safety advocates have critized that plan, stating that increasing line speeds and turning inspections over to manufacturer's employees is not the best way to improve poultry safety. Senator Feinstein, along with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) wrote to the USDA in March and April of this year. That letter urged the USDA to establish performance … [Read more...]

Foster Farms Plant Cleared To Reopen by USDA

The Foster Farms plant that was closed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) on Wednesday, January 8 for cockroach infestation has been cleared by the agency to reopen Saturday, January 10. The plant is one of three operated by the company that has been linked to an ongoing multi-state Salmonella outbreak. A statement on the company's website says all employees at the Livingston, CA plant employees will be called back to work January 11. During the closure, the company cleaned and sanitized the plant and developed "a comprehensive preventative plan with full documentation that received USDA-FSIS approval." The Salmonella outbreak, which was announced in October, has sickened at least 416 people in 23 states. About 40 percent of those who … [Read more...]

USDA: Insanitary Conditions at Foster Farms Prior to Roaches, Outbreak

The cockroaches of Foster Farms grabbed all the attention this week for giving the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the technical reason is needed to close one of three plants associated with a multi-state Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 419 people: "insanitary conditions." The problem is that the USDA knew there were cockroaches and other insanitary conditions at the plant before the outbreak was announced months ago. A reasonable person might ask why producing food contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella isn't reason enough to halt production at a poultry processing plant. The answer, in part, is that Salmonella isn't considered an adulterant of meat (only seven kinds of E.coli are) so, it's not illegal to produce meat or poultry with Salmonella on it. The other … [Read more...]

USDA Closes Foster Farms Plant for Cockroaches

One of the troubled Foster Farms chicken processing plants that was associated with at least one Salmonella outbreak last year has finally been closed by the USDA. For cockroaches. The Foster Farms facility in Livingston, California was closed on Wednesday, January 8, 2013 for "egregious insanitary conditions". Inspectors found live cockroaches "in and around the processing areas, that demonstrate the firm failed to maintain an effective pest control program," according to the letter. At the time of the observation, slaughter operations were in process. Cockroaches can carry Salmonella and other pathogenic bacteria. Attorney Fred Pritzker, who is representing some of the victims in this case, said, "All food processing plants in the U.S. must be held to a high standard. Insanitary … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports: Most Chicken Harbors Pathogenic Bacteria

A new report to be published in the February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports finds that 97% of the chicken breasts they tested harbor pathogenic bacteria. Most deaths from food poisoning in the U.S. are attributed to poultry. So Americans must now assume that the raw chicken they bring into their houses is a hazard. Scientists analyzed more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased across the U.S. More than half of those samples contained at least one bacterium that was resistant to three or more antibiotics. The Foster Farms outbreak this fall is just one example of the problem. Forty percent of those sickened in that outbreak were hospitalized, which is double the usual percentage, because the bacteria were antibiotic resistant. That makes salmonellosis much more difficult to treat. In … [Read more...]

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