Guess Foster Farms missed being in the spotlight.
A mere two months after the Centers for Disease Control declared the company's 16-month-long salmonella outbreak finally over, Foster Farms chicken is now being recalled for listeria.
About 40,000 pounds (1,223 cases) of Foster Farms' frozen, pre-cooked Chicken Breast Grilled Strips have been pulled from the marketplace, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service. The agency issued a warning statement about the chicken on Thursday, Sept. 25.
The frozen ("Always fresh, never frozen" — ahem) product comes in 3.25-pound plastic resealable bags and was produced on August 5 of this year. The packaging contains an establishment number of P-33901 and the products have a "Best by Date of 08-05-15." The food products were produced in the company's Farmerville, La. "cooked chicken facility" and sent to retail warehouses (read: Costco) in California (Stater Brothers, too), Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana and Hawaii.
The possible listeria contamination was detected during a routine inspection by the company. All retailers have been told to remove the infected food product from their shelves. However, FSIS believes that some infected products may have made their way to consumers.
"While some of the product was set aside and held, the product subject to this recall was inadvertently shipped. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products," the FSIS said in its statement. That's not very reassuring, however, as symptoms of listeria can take up to two months to emerge. "FSIS and the company are concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers," the agency says in its warning statement. How about you take that concern and ... use it to clean up your processing facilities, Foster Farms?
What does Foster Farms have to say for itself? "Food safety is, and has always been, our top priority and we are vigilant in employing the most up-to-date safety measures to produce wholesome, healthy and delicious food products....This is the first time in the company’s 75-year history that a potential presence of Listeria monocytogenes has been associated with any Foster Farms product." No need to get defensive, FF. It is obvious that food safety is your top priority when you "inadvertently" ship out product contaminated with listeria.
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Listeria can be particularly harmful for pregnant women and may result in miscarriages, premature delivery, stillbirths or infection to a newborn baby. Listeria infection can also lead to serious infections and death in people with weakened immune systems.
Consumers are advised to return the product to the place of purchase for a refund. If you have questions regarding the recall, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Teresa Lenz, Foster Farms consumer affairs manager, at (800) 338-8051. Tell her you miss the good ol' salmonella days.