US poultry plant suspends production due to cockroaches

By Line Svanevik

- Last updated on GMT

Foster Farms closes Livingston plant
Foster Farms closes Livingston plant

Related tags Foster farms Food Fsis Poultry

US poultry company Foster Farms has closed down its Livingston plant due to cockroaches being observed during official plant inspections.

The company confirmed the incident on its website and stressed that it “maintains an ongoing pest control program”​. However, four similar incidents have occurred on the plant since September last year, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The FSIS issued a letter to Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster, which confirmed the suspension on 8 January. The letter stated: “This action is initiated based on egregious insanitary conditions observed in your establishment, whereby products produced at your facility may have been rendered adulterated in violation of the Poultry Products Inspection Act...”

It further addressed the issue of “an infestation of live cockroaches”​ around the production areas, which deemed the plant to be under “insanitary conditions”. FSIS confirmed that this was a food safety issue, as pests “can and do harbour food-borne pathogens, which can then multiply and be dispersed throughout the food processing environment”.

Foster Farms issued a statement which said: “FSIS maintains a zero tolerance policy and Foster Farms closed the Livingston facility immediately for sanitisation and treatment. The company completed the treatment today and will review its program with the FSIS for full approval.

“This is an isolated incident; no other facilities are affected. Today’s treatment is expected to fully resolve this incident.”

Foster Farms confirmed that no products have been affected by the incident and that production has been transferred to its other facilities.

This is the second food safety incident for Foster Farms, which was at the centre of last year’s major salmonella outbreak in the US. Three months ago, operations at the Livingston plant and two other sites in Fresno were suspended. However, FSIS allowed the plants to resume production after making substantive changes to their slaughter and processing operations.

The company further added: “Foster Farms is working in co-operation with the USDA-FSIS to monitor and further reduce salmonella levels at all stages of production. A series of new, multi-step processes for salmonella control have been developed by the company with the input of national food safety experts.”

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