Foster Farms, the poultry processing plant that distributed chicken contaminated with salmonella that has sickened hundreds of people in the past 16 months, has issued its first recall of the products. Packages of Foster Farms chicken affected by the recall have a “use or freeze by” date ranging from March 21 to March 29, and are imprinted with plant codes P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632.
Though the meat has sickened more than 500 people across 25 states and Puerto Rico, the recall was initiated because of one single illness – that of a 10-year-old California boy who had to be hospitalized.
Salmonella is a nasty bacteria. Those infected develop symptoms about 12 to 72 hours after consumption, such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps that last up to a week. While most people recover, some people have severe symptoms leading to dehydration and other complications.
Foster Farms has not previously issued a recall during this outbreak because it was under no legal obligation to do so. Salmonella is considered a naturally occurring organism. Thus, processing plants would only be required to issue a recall for salmonella if a person’s illness could be directly linked to a product. Previous cases have failed to show proof; however, the 10-year-old boy’s illness was positively connected to Foster Farms fresh chicken.
Ironically, the recall comes two weeks after Foster Farms celebrated its 75th anniversary, during which the company announced it had reduced salmonella in its factory well below the national average for plants that process cut-up chicken parts.