After months of public calls for Foster Farms chicken to be recalled due to the potential for multiple Salmonella outbreaks, the company announced on July 3, 2014 that it was issuing a voluntary recall for an undetermined number of chicken products produced on three specific dates in March 2014.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture requested that Foster Farms conduct the recall because the product has allegedly been linked to a specific illness of Salmonella over the past several months. The products subject to the recall include the numbers “P7632,” “P6137A,” and “P6137” that can be found inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken was produced from March 7 through March 13, 2014.
The products that are being removed from the market include both fresh and frozen chicken sold by private label brands or merchants under Foster Farms, with varying “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 16 through March 31, 2014 and August 29, 2014 through September 2, 2014. Additionally, frozen Sunland Chicken products with “best by” dates from March 7 through March 11, 2014 and August 29, 2014 through September 2, 2014 are being removed from the market. Consumers will only be able to determine the dates by checking their fresh product retail packaging.
Until now, there has been no evidence that a human illness was caused due to a specific batch of chicken, despite the fact that the latest Foster Farms outbreak has been ongoing since March 2013. In fact, up until this recall, Foster Farms had reportedly refused to remove any of its products from the market, and officials for the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not have any power to enforce a recall, as they could not trace a condition or illness back to a specific lot of chicken.
The recalled products were shipped to Safeway, Kroger, Foodmaxx, Costco, and other distribution centers and retail stores in Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, California, and Arizona. While it is unlikely that any of the chicken is still in circulation, people may still have some of it frozen in their freezers. The company is recommending that consumers check their packages of Foster Farms chicken for the recalled establishment number.
The Foster Farms recall comes on the heels of Food Safety news’ announcement that the most recent outbreak of Salmonella has resulted in 212 hospitalizations out of 600 official cases, the newest of which were reported by the California Department of Public Health. California, the state in which Foster Farms is headquartered, has now seen 468 of the cases, the most out of any state.
In July 2013, chicken produced by Foster Farms was reportedly linked to another Salmonella outbreak that caused at least 33 hospitalizations and sickened 134 people in 13 states. Food safety attorneys contend that the company is doing the right thing for the sake of food safety and the health of consumers throughout the U.S. Consumers are urged to consult the USDA’s website for a full list of recalled products.