USDA Shuts Poultry Plant Over Cockroach 'Infestation'

Foster Farms facility was implicated in last year's salmonella outbreak

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2014 7:52 AM CST

(Newser) – "Cockroach" and "infestation" are two words you don't want anywhere near your dinner, but the USDA says it encountered just that at a California poultry plant that it wasted no time in shutting down yesterday. Foster Farms said that it immediately conducted "enhanced sanitizing" at its Livingston plant, and said it "expects to fully resume operation" as soon as the USDA can re-inspect the facility. It added that it was "committed to a zero tolerance policy" and that this was an "isolated incident." Ick factor aside, cockroaches are known to carry salmonella and the plant in question is one of three Foster Farms facilities linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of Americans last year, NBC reports.

Maybe not so "isolated:" Food Safety and Inspection Services inspectors said they found the bugs on four different occasions between August and yesterday, notes Sky News. In a letter, the USDA said Foster Farms "failed to maintain an effective pest control program ... to assure that wholesome, unadulterated meat and poultry products are produced." Foster Farms is the nation's No. 6 poultry processor; NBC notes that it issued no recalls during last year's salmonella outbreak. Rather, consumers were warned to properly handle and cook their chicken.

A Foster Farms processing plant on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Livingston, Calif. The plant is one of three in California linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 278 people across the country.
A Foster Farms processing plant on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Livingston, Calif. The plant is one of three in California linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 278 people across the country.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A truck enters the Foster Farms processing plant on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Livingston, Calif.
A truck enters the Foster Farms processing plant on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Livingston, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Foster Farms American Humane Certified Package.
Foster Farms American Humane Certified Package.   (PRNewsFoto/Foster Farms)
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