Food & Water Watch: Documents show officials urged earlier Foster Farms recall

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

634 cases were linked to Salmonella Heidelberg infections from 29 states
634 cases were linked to Salmonella Heidelberg infections from 29 states

Related tags: Foster farms, Federal government of the united states

USDA officials recommended taking action on Foster Farms poultry products tainted with Salmonella almost nine months before they were actually recalled, according to Food & Water Watch.

The group said a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in response to the 2013-2014 outbreak which sickened 634 consumers, showed three emails written by Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) staff in October 2013.

Two indicated that staff found a “compelling link” between a sickened consumer and products from Foster Farms, said Food & Water Watch. Documents from the FOIA can be read here

An October 28, 2013 email revealed an FSIS staffer had recommended on October 25, 2013 a recall of all poultry products produced on September 9, 2013 at FSIS Establishment P7632 – a Foster Farms facility in Fresno, California. Products from this plant were not recalled until July 12, 2014.

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said it was ‘baffled’ as to why it took so long for FSIS and Foster Farms to take action to prevent further illnesses,

These documents show that some staff at FSIS wanted to protect consumers from further exposure to potentially dangerous chicken, but their bosses were too timid to do so,” ​she said. 

“The federal government needs to close the loophole in FSIS’s statutory authority so the agency can do its job to protect the public and finally act without ambiguity.”​ 

Related topics: Food safety and labeling

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