Foster Farms finally recalls contaminated chicken

It took 18 months—and still doesn't go far enough, says Consumer Reports

Published: July 04, 2014 09:00 PM

Foster Farms, a California poultry producer, was first linked to chicken contaminated with a potentially deadly strain of salmonella back in March 2013. And Consumer Reports' tests of chicken samples from Foster Farms detected the same strain of salmonella in October 2013. We called then for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ask the company to recall all potentially contaminated products. The company finally agreed, but only for chicken from three plants for three specific dates in March 2011. The USDA acknowledges that by now, few consumers likely still have any of the potentially contaminated products.  

The products subject to recall bear the establishment numbers “P6137,” P6137A,” and “P7632” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were produced on March 8, 10, and 11, 2014.

"We do not believe the current action taken today to recall Foster Farms’ contaminated chicken goes far enough to protect the public’s health," says Urvashi Rangan, executive director of Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center. "We are calling on the government and the company to do more by widening the dates of the recall to the beginning of the outbreak—March 2013—and shutting down the plants in question until the outbreak is under control."

Rangan says, "It's outrageous that despite the fact that 621 confirmed human illnesses and hospitalizations have been tied to the same virulent and drug-resistant strains of Salmonellae found in Foster Farms chicken over the past 18 months that the recall is only being restricted to three days in March 2014 and tied to only one human illness. Consumers deserve better. "

Read more in our report, "The High Cost of Cheap Chicken."

—Joel Keehn


Learn more about meat safety and food labels in our guide to food safety.

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