The recall of Foster Farms chicken is expanding. It is believed that the chicken that has been sent to military bases in five different states is contaminated and linked to a salmonella outbreak. The suspected chicken reached the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine bases in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Washington. Federal regulators have issued a recall of all this chicken.
Twenty-five Arizona residents, along with 621 people nationwide, have fallen ill with salmonella linked to recalled Foster Farms fresh chicken products, according to a July 2 report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were actually 107 cases of salmonella outbreak in Arizona but only 25 of them can be directly linked to Foster Farms chicken.
“We do not believe the current action taken (late Thursday) to recall Foster Farms contaminated chicken goes far enough to protect the public’s health,” Urvashi Rangan, executive director of Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center, told The Oregonian. He said recalling a week’s worth of chicken is not going to stop the problem when it has been going on for 16 months and the farm processes more than 700,000 chickens a day.
The chicken was sold at stores such as Costco, Foodmaxx, Kruger, Safeway and other grocery stores in 11 different states according to U.S Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
“The real issue here is the salmonella standards that the government sets,” Sandra Eskin, head of the food safety campaign at Pew Charitable Trusts, told The Oregonian. “They’re wholly inadequate to protect public health.”
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set no regulations on the amount of salmonella allowed in our chicken and the agency has no plan on banning the substance for good. Salmonella causes about 1 million cases of food poisoning each year in the United States.
Foster Farms issued a voluntary recall of some of its chicken products July 3. Packages of Foster Farms chicken included in the first 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.
The products included in the expanded recall were produced by Foster Farms on March 8, 10 and 11 this year at its plant in Livingston, Calif., and two other facilities it owns in Fresno, Calif., according to the Agriculture Department.
Reported cases of salmonella linked to the chicken have begun to slow down after the recall but they have spread to 29 states and Puerto Rico and they still continue to trickle in.