Chicken Plant Cockroach Infestation Requires 'Enhanced Sanitizing'

Image: Chicken Plant Cockroach Infestation Requires 'Enhanced Sanitizing'

Tuesday, 14 Jan 2014 07:50 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A chicken plant closed for a cockroach infestation last week remains closed in California after Foster Farms officials said they required more time for "enhanced sanitizing" before the processing plant could be reopened.

The Livingston chicken processing plant was temporary closed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture until  the enhanced sanitizing could be carried out due to the prevalence of cockroaches found throughout the facility, the Associated Press reported.

This was the fifth time in five months that USDA inspectors had found live cockroaches throughout the facility, NBC News noted.

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The government closure was reportedly lifted; however the plant remains closed apparently on orders from Foster Farms officials.

Without divulging a date as to when they expect to resume operations at the chicken processing plant, Foster Farms released a statement this week that read in part: "The company is exercising vigilance and choosing to dedicate additional time to ensuring its preventative plan is fully realized with the most effective technology and treatments available."

When news of the cockroach infestation and subsequent closure first broke last Wednesday, Foster Farms said that immediate "sanitation and treatment" of the facility was "its highest priority," adding "no other facilities are affected. No products are affected. Product production has been transferred to the company's other facilities."

The temporary closure comes three months after inspectors threatened a shutdown because of salmonella problems at the Livingston plant and two Foster Farms sites in Fresno, the AP noted. The outbreak sickened at least 416 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico.

Those facilities in question remained open after Foster Farms agreed to improve safeguards. No recalls of products processed in those plants were recalled, however consumers were advised to thoroughly cook the chicken at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and properly wash their hands after handling the poultry.

In October, the company's CEO Ron Foster told reporters that the salmonella outbreak resulted in a 25 percent drop in sales in 2013.

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