Government beefs up inspection of Valley chicken plants
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Government inspectors are keeping a close watch on three Valley Foster Farms chicken plants. The USDA sent inspectors to two plants in Fresno and one in Livingston in the wake of the nationwide salmonella outbreak. The contamination has so far sickened 317 people, most in California. One hundred thirty-three people have been hospitalized and it is estimated about 30 have developed a dangerous blood infection.
No deaths have been reported. Since the symptoms take time to appear the Centers for Disease Control estimates about 7,000 will ultimately be afflicted.
Despite the contamination the government has not ordered a recall. Instead it is relying on Foster Farms to correct whatever problems lead to the contamination. USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee said the plants are being closely watched.
"And so our inspectors are onsite and will be verifying in the coming days and weeks those changes are being implemented, and we are seeing desired results from the company," Lavallee said.
The USDA maintains the chicken can be safely cooked, but Consumer Reports magazine is urging anyone who has the product to throw it away.
And it is not just chicken sold under the Foster Farms label. Several brands available in Costco, Vons and other Valley stores could be contaminated. According to Consumer Reports those brands include, Eating Right, Kirkland Signature, O Organics, Open Nature, Ralphs, Safeway Farms, and Simple Truth Organic.
While there is no recall, some stores are offering refunds. All the affected packages, no matter the brand will contain the plant Codes:
usda, centers for disease control, foster farms, consumer, gene haagenson
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