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Tainted California chicken: No Foster Farms recall despite salmonella outbreak

Tainted California chicken still poses a serious threat to the public of the western U.S. state, despite substantiated warnings about a potential salmonella outbreak. A scare of salmonella, resistant to most forms of antibiotics, has been connected to well-known chicken supplier Foster Farms for well over a year now. However, WSBTV News reports this Thursday, May 29, that the government has made no apparent move in shutting the producer down, nor has the company issued a formal recall.

Raw chicken in California may still be tainted, but no recall
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are continuing to warn residents of the state about the tainted California chicken, as the strain of salmonella has been found to be a particularly potent and resilient outbreak. In the last couple of months this 2014 alone, CDC officials have confirmed that a total of 50 new cases have been recorded. While this number may not seem initially threatening, it brings the total number of infected individuals within the past year or so to a much higher 574 in the scare. With some exceptions, a majority of the illnesses are being found in California.

According to the press release, the CS Monitor adds this afternoon that while the salmonella outbreak seems to be relatively contained to the U.S. West Coast, the tainted chicken has left a significant number of people across the country sick. So far, victims of the serious illness have come from almost 30 states, including Puerto Rico.

Although the American government seems to be doing little about the scare and Foster Farms has failed to issue a recall, the Department of Agriculture has nonetheless released a statement that they will be keeping a close eye on all of the chicken company’s facilities, noting as well that overall salmonella rates coming as a result of the supplier’s products have been dropping significantly in number. It was said in 2013 that the department may shut them down due to the tainted California chicken, but Foster Farms was permitted to stay open due to them promising they would improve conditions and make positive changes.

There are still a number of advocates of human health and overall food safety that believe the still lingering number of salmonella cases should be enough for the company’s production to be halted or shut down, however, at least temporarily.

"It's very unclear why USDA isn't taking more action to stop the sale of the product and protect the public," notes Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in a public comment this week.

At this time, Foster Farms is saying that they are working on putting greater protective measures in place to ensure the safety of their product for American consumer consumption. Some of these measures involve greater chicken treatment, improved processing plant sanitation, and enhanced bird screening prior to packaging.

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