USDA inspects roach infestation at Livingston Foster Farms' plant

FRESNO, Calif.

Foster Farms calls it an isolated incident and says the Livingston facility will reopen as soon as it passes inspection. The USDA said it will take a close look at the plant's sanitation practices. Foster Farms said they have hired a new pest control company.

A letter from the USDA to Foster Farms documented findings of live cockroaches at the hand wash sink, on a plastic tub and near a sanitizer dispenser. Roaches were found on four occasions in five months.

"Episodic appearances of cockroaches are common in a food plant and there are controls to deal with those so if they are recurring then the USDA's action of ensuring the facility is properly sanitized is an appropriate one," US Berkeley Dr. Jurs Strobos said.

A salmonella outbreak at Foster Farms facilities in October sickened hundreds of people. The company responded with a protective step to help ensure product safety.

"They're using a Salmonella Heidelberg Vaccine on some of their breeder populations. Those are basically the parents of chickens consumers consume," UC Davis' Maurice Pitesky said.

Pitesky was surprised by the roach find in Livingston because he visited the plant.

"When you look at Foster Farms they're kind of a leader in food safety," Pitesky said.

But now the company faces its latest challenge in reassuring the public their poultry is safe to eat.

Action News contacted Foster Farms but the company did not respond to numerous requests for a comment.

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