Chicken products produced by Foster farms have long been linked with a salmonella outbreak that began in March last year but despite that the outbreak has become one of the longest in recent years and hundreds of individuals have already been sickened and hospitalized, the California-based chicken producer refused to voluntarily recall their products and merely advised consumers to observe safety cooking measures when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in May that more people have gotten sick of salmonella poisoning that was traced to its chicken products.
On Thursday, however, Foster Farms, one of America's largest chicken producers, has finally issued its first recall since it has been linked with the outbreak caused by strains of antibiotic resistant Salmonella Heidelberg that cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps in infected individuals.
The recall was prompted after officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said they have found evidence that link the company's boneless-skinless chicken breast to the Salmonella outbreak that has so far sickened over 500 individuals.
On April 29, a consumer based in California ate a Foster Farms chicken product he bought on March 16 and got sick on May 5. Using the leftover chicken for testing, officials from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service confirmed through lab tests that the strains of salmonella found on the boneless chicken breast and those that infected the patient were a molecular match.
"Until this point, there had been no direct evidence that linked the illnesses associated with this outbreak to a specific product or production lot," the FSIS said in a statement.
Foster Farms recalled fresh chicken products that include thighs, drumsticks, chicken tenders and livers, that both have its brand name and private label names including FoodMaxx, , Safeway, Savemart, Kroger, Valbest and Sunland that were distributed to retailers in Arizona, Alaska, California, Kansas Idaho , Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah for possible Salmonella Heidelberg contamination.
Affected products were stamped with "use or freeze by" date that range from March 16 to March 31 2014 and Plant code P-6137, P-6137A or P-7632. Sunland Frozen Chicken products that were marked with "best by" date that range from March 7, 2015 to March 11, 2015 were recalled as well. Fresh products that are in stores, however, are not included in the recall. Consumers who have bought any of the products recalled were urged to throw away or return the products to where they have purchased these from.