Feds threaten to close Calif. poultry plants linked to salmonella outbreak
WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department is threatening to shut down three California poultry-processing facilities linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 278 people nationwide.
The USDA said on Wednesday that Foster Farms, owner of the three facilities, has until Thursday to tell the department how it will fix the problem. The company was notified on Monday.
Sampling by the USDA in September showed that raw chicken processed by those facilities included strains of salmonella linked to the outbreak. The company has not recalled any of its products.
No chickens from the plant have been shipped to Pennsylvania, according to state departments, and no illnesses have been reported in Allegheny County.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring 30 other clusters of food-borne illnesses, none in Pennsylvania. Thee national staff at the agency, though, has been scaled back, and all work on preventing outbreaks has stopped, according to a spokesman.
In a letter to Foster Farms, the USDA said those samples, coupled with illnesses, suggest that the sanitary conditions at the facility “could pose a serious ongoing threat to public health.”
The first illnesses in the outbreak were reported in March, and the outbreak has had a high rate of hospitalizations. The CDC said 42 percent of victims were hospitalized — about double the normal rate — and the strain is resistant to many antibiotics, making for a more severe outbreak.
The Agriculture Department can halt production by withdrawing meat inspectors. Yudhbir Sharma of the USDA said Foster Farms has failed to demonstrate that it has adequate controls in place to address the salmonella issue.
He said that in one of the facilities, 25 percent of the samples taken were positive for salmonella.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture mismanaged rural program, federal audit shows
- Quarantine lifted, Maine nurse given right to roam
- Medicare paid for drug coverage of patients who had died, investigators say
- Maryland drivers scurry to grab cash
- Designer of ‘Operation’ game short of surgery cash
- Plane slams into pilot training center at Kansas airport, killing 4
- Terminally ill woman may delay planned Nov. 1 suicide
- Unaccompanied immigrants put heavy strain on schools, charities
- Exhibit in Atlanta highlights Cezanne works
- Sex assault reports rise in W.Va. jails, prisons
- Nurse defies Maine quarantine in standoff over Ebola