Late yesterday (Oct. 10), beleaguered poultry processor Foster Farms announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) reviewed the company's safety plan for its three California facilities in Livingston and Fresno, and had agreed to allow the plants to continue operating. This follows Foster Farms' implementation of several new food safety controls over the last two months and the company's commitment to install added processes during an enhanced inspection period over the next 90 days, according to a company statement.
"We started this process more than two months ago and this officially validates our progress, but we are not stopping here," said Ron Foster, president and CEO of Foster Farms. "We are putting every resource and all of our energy toward food safety with the confidence that Foster Farms plants will be the most stringent in the industry."
FSIS inspectors continue to inspect and approve the safety of Foster Farms chicken daily, the company stated.
Earlier on Thursday, addressing why there was no need for a recall in California, Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health and state health officer, explained in a statement: "The CDPH has not requested Foster Farms to recall chickens because, with proper handling and preparation, this product is safe for consumption. Chicken is a raw animal protein that is expected to have some level of naturally occurring bacteria present. Cooking chicken fully to 165 degrees Fahrenheit will kill the bacteria present. Provided that consumers do not cross-contaminate fully cooked chicken with raw chicken juices, it is safe to consume."
"All of us at Foster Farms regret any illness associated with our products," said Foster. "We have worked relentlessly to address these issues and will continue to do so as we work to regain consumer trust and confidence in the Foster Farms brand. On behalf of everyone at Foster Farms, that is my commitment to you."
The company encouraged consumers who have any questions to call 800-338-8051 or visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of its website.