A Foster Farms fresh chicken processing plant in Livingston, Calif., had its operations suspended by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on January 8. Federal inspectors ordered a temporary closure of the Foster Farms plant after five occasions when the agency discovered cockroaches at the plant in Livingston.
In a notice sent to Foster Farms, FSIS said the recent findings of "egregious insanitary conditions related to a cockroach infestation in your facility indicate that your establishment is not being operated and maintained in sanitary condition, or in a manner to ensure that product is not adulterated."
In a statement released on January 8, Foster Farms said the company is maintaining an ongoing pest control program, and has complied with the orders to sanitize the facility.
"FSIS maintains a zero-tolerance policy and Foster Farms closed the Livingston facility immediately for sanitization and treatment. The company completed the treatment today and will review its program with the FSIS for full approval. This is an isolated incident; no other facilities are affected. Today's treatment is expected to fully resolve this incident. No products are affected. Product production has been transferred to the company's other facilities.
"Each day, FSIS inspectors must approve each facility prior to beginning operation. Since September of 2013, FSIS identified a total of five cockroaches in our 250,000 square-foot Livingston plant. The company aggressively addressed each instance to the full satisfaction of the FSIS. A single incident is not acceptable, and we are committed to a zero-tolerance policy."
The temporary closure of comes three months after inspectors threatened a shutdown because of Salmonella problems at the Livingston plant and two Foster Farms sites in Fresno, Calif. Those facilities stayed open as Foster Farms agreed to improve safeguards.
"A series of new, multi-step processes for Salmonella control have been developed by the company with the input of national food safety experts The company is leading a specialized U.S. poultry industry working group dedicated to further reducing Salmonella during the second stage of processing. Foster Farms has formed a Food Safety Advisory Board comprised of leading national food safety experts to validate best practices, evaluate emerging technologies and to help guide the company's food safety systems on an ongoing basis," the company stated.