Consumer

Valley Foster Farms works to overcome Mexican ban

Friday, October 25, 2013

Foster Farms avoided a recall of its products in the United States by working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to thoroughly inspect and clean its plants in Fresno and Livingston, and correct any possible problems. But Mexico was not satisfied.

"It's an indication of how our marketplace is no longer local, it's global, and in almost everything we do, especially in the Central Valley." Fresno State Agricultural economist Mechal Paggi said.

Paggi said the salmonella outbreak traced to Foster Farms could have a wider effect.

"They are impacted directly because Foster Farms is a branded product but the poultry industry in general becomes suspect because you get a spillover effect. How much, we'll have to wait until we see the numbers that come out," Paggi said.

Foster Farms has reported a 25 percent drop in sales as a result of the salmonella outbreak. The outbreak sickened nearly 400 people in the United States. Mexico has not released any health figures, but poultry science professor Michelle Ganci says international concerns are not unexpected.

"It's not abnormal for other countries to go hey we need to look at this," Ganci said.

But Ganci believes after Mexico looks at the evidence, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture did, the ban will be lifted and the company will recover.

"Consumer confidence will come back because it will continue to be a safe product," Ganci

Foster Farms says exports to Mexico are a small part of their business, and issued a statement saying, "We are working with U.S. and Mexican authorities to fully resolve concern and to demonstrate the safety of our chicken products."

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central valley, foster farms, usda, consumer, gene haagenson
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