LIVINGSTON, Calif.Foster Farms today resumed operations at its poultry plant after the company closed the facility several days earlier to ensure it was fully implementing a preventative plan following sightings of cockroaches.
Foster Farms said it has called its employees back to work.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) suspended operations at the chicken plant after reporting a "cockroach infestation" at the plant. Government inspectors documented roach sightings on several days. Foster Farms said only a handful of roaches had been seen since Sept. 2013.
On Jan. 11, Foster Farms resumed production at its plant after FSIS approved its sanitization and treatment measures. But a day later, the company placed its operations on hold to work on its preventative plan.
"Production was temporarily shifted to Foster Farms' other Calif., facilities during this time as Foster Farms brought full attention to implementing its USDA-FSIS-approved preventative plan in Livingston," the company today said in a statement.
Foster Farms has been seeking to revive its brand following a 2013 outbreak of Salmonella linked to its poultry. As of Jan. 15, the number of reported illnesses linked to the outbreak has climbed to 430 individuals in 23 states and Puerto Rico, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Three out of four victims were from California where Foster Farms is based.
Although no deaths were reported, 38% of victims were hospitalized in an outbreak that was particularly troubling because the strains of Salmonella Heidelberg were resistant to a number of commonly prescribed antibiotics, potentially leading to prolonged illnesses and making it more challenging for doctors to treat patients.