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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Cockroaches cause Foster Farms closure but Salmonella Illnesses do not?

Lynne Terry of the Portland Oregonian broke the story tonight that the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Services suspended poultry processing at one of the biggest Foster Farms plants in California over “egregious” unsanitary conditions.

The agency said in a suspension notice that the company’s plant in Livingston, California is infested with live cockroaches, posing a public health threat.

The suspension comes after USDA/FSIS investigations of three Foster Farms plants in central California, including the one in Livingston, over two nationwide Salmonella outbreaks reported in July and December 2013 that sickened more than 550 people.

The question I have is why does USDA/FSIS have the authority to shutter a plant for cockroaches but not for poisoning 550 with Salmonella?

As I said to USA Today – tonight:

Seattle food safety lawyer Bill Marler found it odd that USDA “has the power to shut a plant down when they found cockroaches but doesn’t have the power to shut them down when they poison hundreds of people with antibiotic-resistant salmonella.”

For a bit of background on Salmonella and chicken, see – Foster Farms Chicken Sickens 416 Customers – A Bit(e) of History of Salmonella as a Non-Adulterant