Statement from Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
Washington, D.C. — “In just three days, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) went from threatening to shut down Foster Farms due to serious food safety lapses to declaring last night that the company had made a remarkable recovery. The agency is allowing Foster Farms to continue operations at three of its plants that appear to be implicated in producing salmonella-contaminated poultry that have sickened at least 278 consumers. While company officials have expressed their regret over the illnesses that its products have caused, it still refuses to recall its products and FSIS seems to be fine with that.
“Meanwhile, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say that the most recent outbreak of salmonella is tied to Foster Farms products is still ongoing.
“Foster Farms is a big company, with some of the largest poultry processing facilities in the country. While FSIS inspectors cited Foster Farms for a whole host of food safety violations, including visible fecal contamination on chicken carcasses and sanitation issues in the plants, FSIS refuses to take action.
“This food safety crisis is happening while public attention is focused on the government shutdown and looming default. After the fiscal crisis is put to rest, we hope that Congress turns its attention to the ineptitude of an agency that seems to forget that its primary mission is to protect consumers and not industry.”
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]