The Department of Agriculture will not close the California chicken-processing plants linked to a nationwide outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella, USA Today reported yesterday. “Foster Farms has submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations,” USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee said Thursday evening.
USDA Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors will verify that the changes are being implemented at the three plants linked to the outbreak one “a continuous and ongoing basis,” Lavallee said. The report states that Foster Farms is not obligated to recall chicken processed at the three plants linked to this outbreak because USDA investigators have not yet been able to tie it to specific products and lots.
Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, said that he has not requested Foster Farms to recall chickens because, with proper handling and preparation, it is safe to eat. “Chicken is a raw animal protein that is expected to have some level of naturally occurring bacteria present,” he says. “If consumers cook it to 165 degrees, any salmonella bacteria in the chicken will be killed.”
This recent outbreak has sickened 278 people nationwide and 42% have been hospitalized. For more information on this story as it develops, visit its USA Today page at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/10/foster-farms-salmonella-outbreak-california/2956111/.