Earlier this year, we implemented similar new technology and interventions which were found to be highly effective at reducing Salmonella at our Pacific Northwest facility. The FSIS has been fully satisfied with the results.Despite the challenges of working with the federal government during the shutdown, we are a responsible business working that much harder in full collaboration with the USDA on a resolution.
- The recent Consumer Reports coverage regarding Salmonella on raw poultry involved product purchased and tested in July 2013, prior to our new processes and controls being implemented at our California facilities. These same processes have been found to be highly effective in the Pacific Northwest and have met the full satisfaction of the FSIS. It should be noted that we were not informed about any investigation by either agency prior to Aug. 9. As soon as we were informed, we acted quickly to bring in national food safety experts to assess our processes and have reinforced them with new technologies proven to be effective.
- There is no recall and the plant codes on Foster Farms packages do not have an impact on product safety. The plant codes, P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632, only indicate where the product is produced. These plant numbers are not associated with any product recall or specific products. Further, Foster Farms has already implemented additional controls within these plants to fully ensure safety.
- It should be noted that while no illness is ever acceptable, the time period for this issue was over the course of six months from March to mid-September. During that time, more than 25 million consumers safely consumed Foster Farms chicken.
- Raw poultry is not a ready-to-eat product. All raw poultry is subject to naturally occurring bacteria. Whether the raw product is our brand or another, whether there is an alert or not, all raw chicken must be prepared following safe handling procedures, avoiding cross- contamination, and must be fully cooked to 165 degrees to ensure safety. According to the CDC, "It is not unusual for raw poultry from any producer to have Salmonella bacteria. CDC and USDA-FSIS recommend consumers follow food safety tips to prevent Salmonella infection from raw poultry produced by Foster Farms or any other brand."