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USDA Warns Chicken Plant on Salmonella

Nearly 300 people in 17 states, including five in Texas, were sickened by salmonella in raw chicken processed by three plants in California. The USDA threatened to close down the Foster Farms facilities after the company failed to respond to letters sent by the agency about the defective products. Because salmonella contamination in raw food is not illegal as it is in ground meat, the USDA had no power to directly order the plants to close or for the company to issue a recall of its products. However, the agency could withdraw its meat inspectors from the processing facilities, which would effectively close them down; food must be inspected before leaving those plants.

In letters that the UDSA sent to the head of Foster Farms, agency officials told him that they had detected high levels of the illness-causing salmonella Heidelberg bacteria at three of the company’s facilities. The letter included a deadline for a response, which, if not met, would mean that inspections would be withheld. The officials said in the letter that the prevalence of salmonella in their finished poultry products posed a risk to public health.

At the time of the letter, Foster Farms had issued no recalls of its raw chicken pieces. The products were distributed mainly in Washington, California, and Oregon, but consumers in 17 states had reported illness from the company’s meat.

Harmed by a Defective Product? Talk to The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC

There are more defective products in Texas than just tainted food. Unsafe vehicle designs or defective child car seats can mean consumer injury or death in the event of an accident. Individuals who have been injured or made ill by a defective product might have legal options. A personal injury lawyer in Austin might negotiate for compensation for damages suffered from contaminated foods and defective manufactured products.

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