Updated 11:57 AM EST, Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Foster Farms Releases Voluntary Recall Of Chicken Products After Linked With Salmonella Heidelberg Outbreak

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Foster Farms has ordered a voluntary recall of all chicken related products released from three California plants with the freeze-by or use-by dates of March 16 to March 29, 2014. The recall was announced after officials at the Center for Disease Control found evidence that potentially links Foster Farms chicken to a salmonella Heidelberg outbreak.

The salmonella Heidelberg outbreak has allegedly caused 621 people in 29 states to become sick. The outbreak has been ongoing since March of 2013, but with no evidence to tie the two together, no action was taken by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services.

On June 23 the USDA say they received a report of illness from the CDC stemming from the consumption of boneless chicken breasts from Foster Farms. The USDA further investigated the case by using epidemiological tactics to trace back disease to its source.

It was determined that the contamination had come from Foster Farms boneless chicken breasts. According to the FSIS, one person fell sick on May 5, 2014.

Although food distributors such as Costco, Safeway and Kroger have taken recalled meat off their shelves, there is always the possibility that consumers have already purchased to poultry.

Officials are urging consumers to check the freeze-by, use-by dates to make sure they don't match up. 

Foster Farms adamantly says that the recall only has to do with the one specific case in question. The large scale of the recall is just a precautionary measure.

"Our first concern is always the health and safety of the people who enjoy our products, and we stand committed to doing our part to enhance the safety of our nation's food supply," Foster Farms said in a statement.

The USDA reportedly sent a letter to Foster Farms last October, informing them of "fecal material on carcasses" along with "poor sanitary dressing practices, insanitary food contact surfaces, insanitary nonfood contact surfaces and direct product contamination," according to USDA inspectors.

Foster Farms cites that they have made the proper changes to their plants in order to ensure the cleanest environment. This includes stricter screening of birds and better sanitary conditions at their plants.

Unlike E. coli or other foodborne pathogens, the USDA allows for a certain amount of salmonella Heidelberg to be in chicken. When cooked at the proper temperature the bacteria are killed off, which at the point leaves the food contamination free.    

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