LIVINGSTON — The salmonella outbreak in Foster Farms chicken has cut sales by 25%, company leaders said Thursday while vowing to win back consumers with improved sanitation and other measures.
Ron Foster, president and chief executive officer, made his first public comments about an outbreak that since March has sickened an estimated 317 people around the nation -- including five in Fresno County.
"We have never been kicked this hard in our company's history," Foster said at his Livingston headquarters. "It has hurt us to the core."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture had threatened last week to shut down the plants -- one in Livingston and two in Fresno -- after finding that they were the likely source of the raw chicken involved in the outbreak. They stayed in operation after Foster Farms showed progress on control measures.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the recall of a little more than 13,400 "Kirkland Signature Foster Farms" rotisserie chickens and related Kirkland Farms products such as soup, chicken salad and leg quarters over concerns about salmonella. The items were sold at Costco's South San Francisco store between Sept. 24 and Oct. 15.
The previous recall was for more than 9,000 Foster Farms rotisserie chickens and related products purchased at the same South San Francisco Costco between Sept. 11 and Sept. 23.
Agriculture officials say there have been no reports of illness from the latest recall.
The Modesto Bee has the full story.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Modesto Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2385.