Foster Farms keeps poultry plant shut down after cockroach issue

Jan. 13, 2014 at 3:32 PM
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LIVINGSTON, Calif., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A California poultry facility will stay closed voluntarily over food safety concerns, its owner said, despite being given the green light to reopen.

Foster Farms said its 250,000-square-foot plant in central Livingston would stay closed for the time being while workers address a cockroach infestation inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture spotted five times since last summer, the (Portland) Oregonian reported Monday.

The decision came after USDA inspectors who shuttered the plant Wednesday, then gave Foster Farms permission to reopen Saturday, saying the company had produced adequate plans to deal with the problem.

The company decided on its own, however, to hold off on reopening.

"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 company said in a statement. "Foster Farms expects this closure to be brief, lasting several days, but does not at this time have a definitive date for resuming operations."

The Livingston plant and two other Foster Farms facilities in Fresno were implicated in a salmonella outbreak that sickened 416 people last summer.

The Livingston facility operates around the clock and slaughters more than 500,000 birds per day brought in from farmers across the region when running at full capacity, making it one of the world's largest poultry facilities, the Sacramento Bee reported. It employs 3,500 people.

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