Foster Farms is voluntarily recalling chicken products produced in March with "use or freeze by" dates ranging from March 21 to March 29 because of possible salmonella contamination, the company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.
The company's news release noted that Foster Farms-branded chicken currently on store shelves is not involved, and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service says the products are most likely no longer available for purchase, but may be in consumers' freezers.
This is the first recall of Foster Farms products since an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant salmonella tied to raw chicken from Foster Farms' massive plant in Livingston and its two smaller plants in Fresno in March 2013.
Foster Farms previously has declined to issue a voluntary recall for the chicken, on the grounds that it is safe if properly handled and cooked to at least 165 degrees.
Both Foster Farms and the FSIS say the recall is because of a single illness. The FSIS says the illness was reported by the federal Centers for Disease Control on June 23 and linked to Foster Farms chicken products that were produced March 8, 10 and 11. The FSIS didn't specify which plant produced the chicken, but did say that the illness onset was May 5.
FSIS says the products were shipped to Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger, Safeway and other retail stores and distribution centers in eight Western states including California.
"This recall is prompted by a single illness associated with specific fresh chicken product," Foster Farms says in its news release, "but in the fullest interest of food safety, Foster Farms has broadened the recall to encompass all products packaged at that time. Foster Farms regrets any illness associated with its products." It included no information about the single illness.
Foster Farms and the FSIS both say the recall is only for products with plant codes of P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632. Foster Farms says branded chicken products in grocery stores today are not involved, nor are individually frozen bags of chicken sold at retail.
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