USDA closes Foster Farms plant over roach infestation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended poultry processing Wednesday at one of the biggest Foster Farms plants in California over “egregious” unsanitary conditions.

The agency said in a suspension notice that the company’s plant in Livingston is infested with live cockroaches, posing a public health threat.

The suspension comes amid a USDA investigation of three Foster Farms plants in central California, including the one in Livingston, over a nationwide salmonella outbreak that’s sickened more than 400 people.

Cockroaches, which feed and lurk in unsanitary places such as sewers and bathrooms, can carry harmful viruses and bacteria, including salmonella. It’s unclear whether an infestation caused the outbreak, however. Chicken are typically contaminated with salmonella.

The suspension notice said inspectors for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service have cited the Livingston plant repeatedly since September for roaches.


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