Over 1,000,000 pounds of chicken recalled.  Over 170 types of products recalled.

A few years ago I spent several weeks “Down Under” giving a series of speeches on “Why it is a Bad Idea to Poison your Customers.”  On of my favorite Aussie sayings when someone did something right was “Good on ya mate.”  Seems appropriate to say that to both my friends at Foster Farms and FSIS.

I mean, after poisoning nearly 600 people over the last year, it is good to start removing some product from the marketplace.  This illness is part of the nearly 600 people who have experienced Salmonella linked to Foster Farm chicken over the last year.

According to someone involved in the recall and investigation, Foster Farms is set to recall boneless skinless chicken breasts linked to a customer that became sick in late June from product produced in March at Foster Farms’ Fresno plant.

Apparently, FSIS now has conclusive evidence directly linking Foster Farms product produced on March 8, 10 and 11, 2014 to a Salmonella Heidelberg illness.

FSIS is announcing a recall for the implicated product and is verifying the product is being removed from commerce.

FSIS was notified on June 23, 2014 of a Salmonella Heidelberg illness in a California resident associated with consumption of Foster Farms boneless skinless chicken breast.   FSIS took immediate steps to see if the product could be linked to the illness.

The intact packaging (with labels to identify production details) was picked up by FSIS at the case patient’s residence the next day, June 24, 2014. It was received at the FSIS lab on June 25. Lab testing confirmed a matching PFGE pattern on July 2.

The FSIS traceback investigation demonstrated that the product was produced on March 8, 10 and 11, 2014 at Est. 6137A in Fresno, California, purchased on March 16, 2014 and consumed on April 29, 2014, and was reported to FSIS on June 23.

Given this evidence, FSIS requested Foster Farms recall chicken parts produced on March 8, 10 and 11, 2014 at Est. 6137A in Fresno, California, and source carcasses and associated products at P7632 and P6137 because this product is known to be associated with the illness.

Until this point, there has been no direct evidence that linked the illnesses associated with this outbreak to a specific product or production lot.  This is why, according to FSIS, that product consumed by the 600 over the past year had not been recalled.

This voluntary recall involves chicken produced during select March dates at Foster Farms’ California facilities. These products were distributed in the following states: California, Hawaii, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Alaska. Retail customers have been notified. Consumers are advised to discard or return affected product to the place of purchase. A full list of involved products is on www.FosterFarms.com/March2014ProductRecall.

According to Foster Farms the products recalled are:

Fresh chicken products sold by retailers under Foster Farms or private label brand names, with varying “use or freeze by” date ranges of March 21 to March 29, 2014, and a Plant code of P-6137, P-6137A or P-7632.  Sunland Frozen Chicken with “best by” dates of 3/7/15, 3/11/15 or 3/25/15

The long list of products in the recall include drumsticks, thighs, chicken tenders and livers. Most are sold with the Foster Farms label but some have the labels FoodMaxx, Kroger, Safeway, Savemart, Valbest and Sunland. No fresh products currently in grocery stores are involved.

According to FSIS the products recalled are:

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P6137,” P6137A” and “P7632” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken products were produced on March 8, 10 and 11, 2014. These products were shipped to Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger, Safeway and other retail stores and distribution centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. The list of products subject to recall can be accessed here.

As I said to Reuters:

“There have been instances where responsible companies have recalled their products, even where they were not linked to a particular illness. Those recalls were voluntary, out of a concern to get the product off the market and help prevent people from becoming sick,” said William Marler, a food safety attorney who is representing a California man allegedly sickened by the salmonella outbreak.

And to AP:

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in class-action food-safety lawsuits, commended both Foster Farms and the USDA for “doing the right thing for food safety.”  “Recalling product is both embarrassing and hard, but is the right thing to do for your customers,” Marler said.