Foster Farms suspends Livingston chicken operations again

The Fresno BeeJanuary 12, 2014 

The Foster Farms chicken-production facility in Livingston was voluntarily closed by the company Sunday to continue its cleanup efforts, after being reopened Saturday. The plant was shut down by federal health inspectors Wednesday to take care of a problem connected to finding cockroaches at the plant.

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A day after reopening its Livingston chicken production facility, Foster Farms said Sunday it was "voluntarily and temporarily" putting operations on hold in order to expand its "USDA-approved safe manufacturing procedures and monitoring systems."

Federal inspectors suspended processing at the Foster Farms chicken plant last Wednesday because of a cockroach infestation that raised concerns about human health. The plant was reopened Saturday.

In a statement Sunday, the company said maintenance employees will remain on the job.

The rest of the plant's workers will be called back when the plant resumes full operations, Foster Farms said in a release issued Sunday evening.

Foster Farms said the closure is expected to last several days, but it gave no date for resuming operations.

"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," the Foster Farms statement said.

None of the company's other plants, including two plants in Fresno, are affected by the closure. Production will be shifted temporarily to the Foster Farms' other Central Valley plants, the company said.

Foster Farms President Ron Foster said the company wanted to take the time to properly implement new food safety measures.

"I made a commitment to making this right and we are taking every opportunity to ensure the long-term efficacy of our program at this plant," Foster said. "We will not resume operations until we are confident that we have the most stringent and effective treatment protocols in place."

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