The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a public health alert due to concerns that illnesses caused by strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are associated with raw chicken products made by Foster Farms at three of its California facilities.
The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said it was as yet unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period, but raw products from the facilities in question show one of the following three establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package: "P6137," "P6137A" and "P7632."
The products were mostly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington state.
"Food safety is Foster Farms' highest priority," the company said in a statement. "Foster Farms is working in partnership with USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control to reduce incidence of Salmonella Heidelberg on raw chicken products produced at three company facilities in Central California. ...
"While the company, FSIS and CDC continue to investigate the issue, Foster Farms has instituted a number of additional food safety practices, processes and technology throughout company facilities that have already proven effective in controlling Salmonella in its Pacific Northwest operations earlier this year. No recall is in effect."
An estimated 278 illnesses recently were reported in 18 states, mainly in California, and the outbreak is ongoing, the USDA said.
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