Foster Farms issues first recall in 16-month salmonella outbreak

California's largest poultry producer issues recall over salmonella

Foster Farms issued a recall for some of its chicken products Thursday, its first tied to a 16-month outbreak of salmonella.

The recall is for chicken with “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 21 to March 29, the company said.

The poultry was produced at three sites identifiable on packaging with the plant codes P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632.

Foster Farms, the largest poultry producer in California, did not say how many pounds of poultry were involved in the recall.

“This recall is prompted by a single illness associated with specific fresh chicken product, but in the fullest interest of food safety, Foster Farms has broadened the recall to encompass all products packaged at that time,” the Livingston, Calif.-based company said in a written statement. “Foster Farms regrets any illness associated with its products.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said the illness that prompted the recall was tied to a 10-year-old in California. The child was hospitalized.

Until now, Foster Farms was under no legal obligation to issue a recall because salmonella is considered naturally occurring and not a so-called adulterant like E. coli.

Foster Farms would only be required to issue a recall for salmonella if a specific illness could be directly tied to its product. In this case, a child had consumed a package of the company’s chicken breast, inspectors said.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service “now has conclusive evidence directly linking Foster Farms product,” said Adam Tarr, a spokesman for the agency.

The recall comes two weeks after the company celebrated its 75th anniversary and announced it had reduced instances of salmonella well below the national average for cut-up chicken parts.

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