One million pounds of Foster Farms chicken has been recalled by the Livingston, Calif.-based chicken producer stemming from an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella beginning more than a year ago and sickening hundreds of people.
While the Foster Farms chicken was sold fresh at the time—either under the Foster Farms brand or stores brands including Kroger and Safeway—the recall is being issued because the USDA says consumers could have the products in their freezers.
USDA officials issued a health alert last October when it had concerns that illnesses were connected to the Foster Farms chicken but it was unable to issue a recall to a specific product. The agency sent a letter to Foster Farms last October, after the tainted chicken was in circulation, citing "fecal material on carcasses" along with "poor sanitary dressing practices, insanitary food contact surfaces, insanitary nonfood contact surfaces and direct product contamination,” reports the Huffington Post.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified more than 500 people in 27 states and Puerto Rico sickened by the chicken infected with salmonella Heidelberg, “a strain of the bacteria that is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics.” No deaths have been reported, but 36 percent of those sickened have required hospitalization.
The chicken would have the establishment number "P6137," P6137A" or "P7632" inside the USDA mark and sell or freeze by dates of March 31.
Earlier this year the Natural Resources Defense Council called out Foster Farms about recalls to its chicken. “We’re calling on Foster Farms to disclose their use of antibiotics,” said Jonathan Kaplan, Director of Food and Agriculture at Natural Resources Defense Council “Science has shown time and time again that these antibiotic resistant bacteria can escape from the farm or feedlot and end up at our kitchen tables.”
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