Closure of Foster Farms chicken processing plant in Livingston continues

Bee Staff ReportsJanuary 21, 2014 

— The voluntary closure of the Foster Farms chicken plant reached 10 days Tuesday with no word on when it would reopen.

The company closed the massive plant Jan. 12 to do further work on sanitation measures in the wake of a three-day federal closure related to cockroaches found at the site. The plant operated for just one day between the shutdowns.

About a third of the 3,500 employees have continued to work on maintenance, but chicken production has shifted to other plants. No consumer products are affected, the company has said.

“We will not resume operations until we are confident that we have the most stringent and effective treatment protocols in place,” President Ron Foster said at the start of the voluntary closure.

It came three months after the U.S. Department of Agriculture threatened to suspend production at the Livingston plant and two Foster Farms sites in Fresno because of salmonella issues. Federal officials said an outbreak last year sickened at least 430 people around the nation; no deaths were reported.

Federal and state officials said cockroaches can spread harmful bacteria. They also said salmonella occurs naturally in live chickens and people can protect themselves by cooking the meat to 165 degrees and by washing items that come in contact with raw products.

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