After a two and half day closure due to cockroach infestation, the Foster Farms Livingston plant is set to resume production Saturday, after being approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Services.
The local poultry facility was closed on Wednesday and workers were sent home after Foster Farms received a notice of suspension from the USDA. The notice required the company to submit a written corrective plan in accordance with the Poultry Products Inspection Act that demonstrates that products will be produced in sanitary conditions by addressing causes of past infestations and prevention plans for the future. Foster Farms received approval of its plan and sanitation and treatment measures from the USDA on Friday, which allowed the company to resume production. Foster Farms reiterated its cooperation with the government in a press release issued Thursday.
“Foster Farms shares a common goal with the USDA-FSIS of contributing to a safe food supply, as we have done since 1939,” stated the release.
Foster Farms was shut down after a fifth incidence of cockroaches was cited at the facility since September. Each time the company was cited for noncompliance as the cockroaches were found during production near a sink, sanitizer dispenser, on the floor and on a “grey plastic tub that is a direct product contact surface.” The pests are cause for concern due to the possibility that they could harbor food borne pathogens from contact with garbage which would contaminate product according to the USDA. Foster Farms worked to eradicate the cockroaches by performing sanitization treatments and stated “no other plants were affected and no products were affected.”
Foster Farms is not unfamiliar with submitting plans to the FSIS as they were required to submit a corrective action plan just three months ago due to an outbreak of a rare strain of Salmonella Heidelberg that was traced to the same Livingston plant, as well as two Fresno facilities. In October, the Salmonella outbreak affected 278 people in 17 states. The outbreak has risen to 416 cases in 23 states, as of January.