Plant conditions at the Foster Farms poultry-processing plants remained abysmal even after the company was forced into a major product recall of contaminated products.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which is an environmental advocacy group, obtained and published 300 pages of federal inspection reports for Foster Farms plants.
The documents reveal that there were hundreds of incidents of fecal contamination, cockroaches and other safety violations, many of them after United States Department of Agriculture issued a Public Health Alert in October, 2013, warning people about the company’s chicken.
A total of 634 people were infected by a salmonella outbreak tied to poultry produced by Foster Farms.
It wasn’t until July this year that the government declared the outbreak over.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, based at the other end of the country in New York, said the Foster Farms’ plant at Livingston, Calif., which was at the center of the outbreak, was cited 154 times in the six months that followed the U.S. Department of Agriculture alert.
The plant was finally closed temporarily in January.
Foster Farms issued a statement saying it has now fully satisfied the requests of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control.
Meanwhile the association representing poultry processing companies is lobbying for less government oversight, claiming its own employees can handle quality control.
The same arguments are made by Canadian processors who want to speed up lines so they can push through more chicken per employee and per minute.