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Foster Farms regrets any illness associated with our fresh chicken products. Our consumers are
most important to us, so we have always taken special care to ensure the quality and safety of
our food.
A series of new processes developed with the input of experts in relevant fields and
incorporated at our California facilities are already further reducing Salmonella incidence in our
fresh chicken products. Working with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval, we are
determined to significantly outperform the industry average for Salmonella incidence, which is
approximately 25 percent for chicken parts. While there is no published government standard
for this stage in poultry processing, we are aiming for five percent or less, which means Foster
Farms would lead the industry in Salmonella control. Initial test results show significant progress
toward meeting our goal.
Salmonella is a complex issue for the poultry industry, particularly because the bacteria are
inherent in bird species. Foster Farms is focused on breaking the chain of Salmonella at every
stage of production – from the farms where the birds live, to the plants where the chicken is
processed and to the packaging area.
Food Safety System Review
As soon as the USDA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made us aware of the association of
some of the illnesses to our products, we immediately reviewed our comprehensive food safety
system with the help of leading food safety experts and developed a plan to implement system
enhancements. This plan has been approved by the USDA, and to ensure the ongoing review of
our food safety system, we are developing a Food Safety Advisory Committee of experts who
will continuously advise us on how to further strengthen our processes.
Current Standard for Controlling and Testing for Salmonella
To verify raw chicken is safe for consumption by the public, USDA verifies the efficacy of all U.S.
producers’ Salmonella control systems by testing samples pulled from production. During
processing, all raw chicken undergoes two main processes: the first process to cleanse, prepare
and inspect the whole body of the chicken and the second process to convert the body into
portions for sale, either as a whole chicken or its separate parts.
The operating principle, followed by both government regulators and the poultry industry, has
been that if producers had sufficiently controlled Salmonella at the end of the first process, they
had sufficiently controlled the potential exposure to Salmonella throughout all production.

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Foster Farms’ Performance in First Process
For three years running, the Foster Farms results of USDA testing after our first process for
whole chicken have been at or near zero percent incidence of Salmonella. That is 7.5 percentage
points lower than the regulatory allowance and 3.5 percentage points better than the industry
average. We also outperform
both regulatory and industry
standards for turkey products.
This is why we say we always
have striven for and achieved
excellence in food safety.
Second Process
When it comes to the efficacy of Salmonella control in the second process, there is no published
government standard, and testing is not regularly conducted. When USDA tested the efficacy of
our controls in the second process in September 2013, the results averaged 25 percent, which is
not acceptable to us. It is
important to note, this was a
one-time test conducted with a
protocol. While this score does
not please us, we understand it
is on par with the industry
average as determined by a
2012 USDA study of 449 poultry
producers nationwide.1
Tightening Controls During Second Process
In response, we committed to bringing the incidence rate down to five percent or less – a
fivefold improvement from the industry average. At Foster Farms, we now believe we are the
first chicken producer to focus on controlling Salmonella throughout the second process in order
to achieve this new standard. We believe this is providing some of the safest chicken produced.
Process Enhancements
In order to achieve this new level of control, we instituted enhancements throughout our food
safety system – from requiring Salmonella-free certification from the breeder flock supplier to
implementing additional controls throughout our second process at the plant.
After USDA’s acceptance of our plan on Oct. 10, we began implementing additional practices
and procedures on Oct. 11. To date, Foster Farms has already implemented 23 new control
measures specifically for Salmonella reduction. With these measures in place, we are confident
that Foster Farms will emerge as the safest and most vigilant poultry producer in the country.
Examples include the following:
1 The Nationwide Microbiological Baseline Data Collection Program: Raw Chicken Parts Survey, January 2012–August 2012, p.5.
Salmonella Prevalence
Food Product
Chicken First Process: Body
Salmonella Prevalence
Food Product
Chicken Second Process:
Conversion of Body into Parts
Chicken Second Process:
Conversion of Body into Parts

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On the farms and in the hatcheries:
Since Salmonella is a normal inhabitant of the poultry digestive system, the procedures
used to reduce the amount of Salmonella in poultry must begin before the chicks are
even born.
All breeder source suppliers are required to provide Foster Farms with Salmonella-free
replacement breeder hens that can be verified through documented Salmonella testing
results. Since Salmonella can be passed from the mother hen to the chick, through the
egg, any reduction in Salmonella must begin with the mother hen.
All Foster Farms breeder hens have been vaccinated against Salmonella Heidelberg since
2006 as part of a health program designed to stimulate the bird’s immune system to
reduce the ability of Salmonella to colonize the hen.
Probiotics are included in all feed consumed by the birds in order to help maintain a
healthy intestinal flora that inhibits the ability of Salmonella to colonize the intestinal
We have added enhanced biosecurity procedures on all farms focusing on additional
washing and disinfection steps that target key areas within the poultry houses, including
equipment, hen nests, bedding material, egg belts and feed delivery systems.
Structural biosecurity improvements to farm houses have been made to reduce the
exposure of the chickens to insects and wildlife, which are potential carriers of
Farm biosecurity practices of isolation, traffic control and sanitation, including washing
vehicles, wearing protective biosecurity clothing, disinfecting footwear and limiting
outside visitors to the farms, help reduce the exposure of the chickens to potential
outside sources of Salmonella.
At the processing plant:
We have always conducted a four-to-six hour (depending on size of facility) sanitization
process in our production facilities prior to the beginning of each shift. In fact, we
cannot restart production without USDA certification of cleanliness.
We have enhanced the food safety steps intended to lower the incidence level of
Salmonella on raw chicken to include poultry parts.
We have increased the frequency of equipment sanitization at every point of contact
with raw product from the processing area to finished packaging.
Additional systems are being installed to maintain the sanitary condition of conveyor
belts that transfer the products from the processing equipment and into finished
For specialty product lines, such as marinated chicken, we are using non-chemical
interventions to ensure the safest enhancements possible.
Going beyond our plants:
We are constantly reviewing best practices from ours and other industries, including
measures taken by ready-to-eat facilities. We have adopted practices that help us
tighten controls and improve our standards – across the entire company.

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We are developing the Foster Farms Food Safety Advisory Committee, comprising
leading food safety experts, who will continuously review and recommend emerging
technologies and enhancements.
We are working with industry and government partners to explore ways to improve
food safety across the board for all products at all of our facilities.
Results to-Date
Three rounds of marketplace testing since the implementation of our enhancements, conducted
on Oct. 12, 15 and 21, 2013, show we already have brought the incidence rate for Salmonella
significantly down after the second process, near our goal of five percent.
Foster Farms is committed to being a leader in food safety well into the future. We will continue
to work with USDA, the industry and leading food safety and poultry experts to ensure our
products are safe when properly handled and fully cooked.
Food Safety: A Shared Responsibility
Even with the best controls, however, raw meats will continue to carry the risk of some
Salmonella. This is why food safety is a shared responsibility between producers and consumers
and everyone in between, including the government.
We take our responsibility to limit the potential exposure to Salmonella very seriously. We are
committed to leading the industry. However another part of our responsibility is to continuously
educate consumers to handle and cook their raw chicken properly. The California Department of
Public Health (CDPH) has stated that Foster Farms fresh chicken is safe to eat if properly handled
and fully cooked.
There is no scientific data to suggest that Salmonella Heidelberg is heat-resistant. In fact, USDA’s
Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) told The New York Times there is “no evidence
that these strains are more resistant to heat than others.” Furthermore, Foster Farms
commissioned an independent, third-party validation study on heat resistance for Salmonella
Heidelberg. That study found that cooking raw chicken to 165⁰F completely eradicated
Salmonella Heidelberg. Retailers are also helping educate consumers about food safety
Despite the potential for criticism about deflecting responsibility, the meat and poultry
industries are strongly committed to educating consumers and spend millions of dollars on
campaigns to advise consumers every year, especially during the summer grilling season.

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Antibiotic Resistance
Foster Farms commissioned a study by the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Microbiology
Lab at the U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to evaluate the antibiotic resistance
patterns of the Salmonella Heidelberg found on its chickens (not human patients). According to
the CDC, “Choices for antibiotic therapy for severe infections [Salmonellosis] include
fluoroquinolones, third-generation cephalosporins and ampicillin.”2
The U.C. Davis study found that the Foster Farms Salmonella Heidelberg samples tested were
susceptible to (could be treated by) a number of common antibiotics including those referenced
by the CDC including ampicillin; cephalosporins (cefoxitin, ceftiofur and ceftriaxone);
fluoroquinolones, (ciprofloxacin); as well as others, including amoxicillin, azithromycin,
gentamicin, kanamycin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfa.
Public Health Alert vs. Recall
On Oct. 7, the USDA-FSIS issued a public health alert due to concerns that illness caused by
strains of Salmonella Heidelberg had been associated with raw chicken products produced by
Foster Farms at three facilities in California. The USDA did not request a recall. Instead, its alert
emphasized the need to fully cook and properly handle raw poultry.
The alert noted the plants in question use a stamp on all their product packages with the plant
codes P-6137, P-6137A and P-7632. These codes do not reference a particular product or
production period. While some have mistaken the inclusion of the plant codes in the alert for
products that have been recalled, they do not.
Foster Farms deliberated whether to voluntarily recall its fresh chicken. Foster Farms took the
following into consideration:
USDA and CDPH have stated a recall is not necessary because none of our chicken
products are adulterated3,4;
Both USDA-FSIS and the CDPH have said our chicken is safe if handled and cooked
USDA-FSIS officials inspect our product and verify our food safety processes daily; and
USDA has rated our food safety system in the top category for efficacy for a number of
2 CDC Web site, Salmonella: Diagnosis and Treatment (
3 Meatingplace, Exclusive Interview: USDA’s Engeljohn on Foster Farms and Salmonella: “Our decision was that we did not believe
the product being produced in the marketplace was adulterated, which would be what we would have to conclude to have it
removed from the marketplace.” (10/11/2013) (
4 CDPH Press Release, California Department of Public Health Reminds Consumers To Properly Handle and Cook Raw Poultry: “The
CDPH has not requested Foster Farms to recall chickens because, with proper handling and preparation, this product is safe for
consumption.” (10/9/2013) (
5 KOMO News, Foster Farms working with feds to address salmonella contamination: “Lavallee emphasized that Foster Farms
chicken is safe to eat, but as with all raw chicken consumers must use proper preparation, handling and cooking practices.”
(10/8/13) (
6 CDPH Press Release, California Department of Public Health Reminds Consumers To Properly Handle and Cook Raw Poultry: “The
CDPH has not requested Foster Farms to recall chickens because, with proper handling and preparation, this product is safe for
consumption.” (10/9/2013) (

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If we believed our chicken represented a greater risk to public health than any other raw poultry
product on the market, we would have recalled it. In fact, we believe it is safer. Our corporate
values and our care for our consumers would never allow us to offer chicken to the public that
was not wholesome.
Our confidence in our product allows us to stand behind our 100 percent Golden Guarantee. If
anyone has a concern about their chicken, for whatever reason, they should feel free to bring it
back for replacement or refund.
While we work with USDA to understand the concerns related to this outbreak, we continue to
enhance our food safety system. In the meantime, the USDA-FSIS continues to inspect and
approve our chicken products for sale to the public, and testing indicates that our
enhancements are working and our chicken is becoming even safer than before.
Ongoing Commitment
Foster Farms truly regrets any illness associated with our products. Our brand was built on trust,
and it is now our responsibility to earn it back. We plan to do so by establishing a gold standard
for food safety across all our facilities. The entire company is committed to a future that makes
the safety of our products – and the satisfaction of our consumers – central to everything we do.
October 25, 2013