Cockroach Infestation at Foster Farms Prompts USDA Shutdown

Written by Katie Vann

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Foster Farms is making headline news again — because of cockroaches. As reported in USA Today, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) shut down a Foster Farms chicken processing plant in Livingston, California yesterday, stating that the facility was infested with live cockroaches.

This same Foster Farms processing plant made national news late last year when the USDA threatened to close it down in October (along with two other Foster Farms factories) after being linked to two outbreaks of salmonella food poisoning. According to NBC News, one of those Salmonella cases is ongoing — and it has sickened at least 416 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico. That apparently isn’t enough, however, to prompt a shutdown or even a recall. Instead, the company assured the USDA they’d clean up their act.

That promise, like most self-regulating pledges by animal agribusiness operations, fell flat. The facility was finally closed only after federal inspectors documented cockroach infestations at the plant four times over the past five months, according to the USDA. Cockroaches can carry viruses and bacteria — including salmonella.

Food safety critics question the USDA’s action to close a facility for cockroaches — but why not take action after hundreds of Americans are sickened, many suffering from antibiotic resistant salmonella poisoning?

Unsanitary, unsafe, and cruel conditions are not uncommon on chicken factory farms and slaughterhouses. Chickens raised for their meat are crammed by the tens of thousands inside sheds where they stand, eat and sleep in their own waste.

Don’t take the risk. You can protect your health and animals simply by choosing to leave chickens (and all animals) off your plate. Visit TryVeg.com today for a free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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