Commentary: Foster Farms and the US Salmonella outbreaks
Simon Shane, Chick-Cite
Chick-Cite has commented recently on the ongoing investigation of outbreaks of Salmonella Heidelberg attributed to products allegedly produced by Foster Farms. Investigations by federal and state officials have failed to demonstrate any direct relationship between production procedures and cases of infection despite epidemiologic evidence supporting an association.
The recovery rates from carcasses in Foster Farms plants are believed to be in the region of 2-3% compared to a double digit national average.
Dr Chris Braden affiliated to the CDC stated that he was hopeful that the ongoing outbreak is abating. He stated "the investigation continues until we know for sure whether they are coming from Foster Farms or another source – we are going to be very vigilant".
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the company, an event was organised and attended by US Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) Secretary of the California Department of Agriculture, Karen Ross and two US Representatives, Jim Costa (D-CA) and David Valadao (R-CA).
Foster Farms was recognised for leadership in the poultry industry on the West Coast including the introduction of "fresh" and "natural" designation for products, opposition to adding brine and welfare certification.
Dr David Acheson former Medical Officer for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and Associate Commissioner for Foods at FDA has consulted for Foster Farms and stated "I work with many companies on food safety issues and it is always gratifying to work with a company that is willing to devote the time and resources to becoming a world leader in food safety."
In her address to the 150 invited dignitaries and members of the Foster Farms family and associates, Feinstein stated "I have a willing and cooperative partner in Foster Farms. She added "In the past year Foster Farms has worked tirelessly to achieve less than 5% Salmonella prevalence. It is my hope that the rest of the industry and USDA will follow suit."
Rob Foster, President and CEO of the company stated "My grandparents began our company at a time when the Great Depression still held the nation and this Valley in its grip." He added "Our Company has grown to what it is today because we've always honored that simple promise and we have always remained committed to quality."
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