House Dems call on USDA to shut down Foster Farms plants

Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and Louise Slaughter (N.Y.) on Monday urged the Department of Agriculture to close all Foster Farms poultry processing facilities until they eliminate a salmonella outbreak.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced late July 3 that Foster Farms had issued a voluntary recall for its chicken products that have been linked to more than 600 people getting sick. 

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DeLauro and Slaughter accused the USDA of trying to minimize attention to the issue.

"Burying news late at night on a holiday weekend may be a time-honored tradition by Washington spin doctors, but it is a shameful way to protect public health," DeLauro and Slaughter said in a joint statement.

Both argued the USDA needed to be more aggressive in closing problematic meat production facilities.

"How many more people will fall ill, or even be hospitalized, before USDA does the right thing and cracks down on companies that threaten our families’ health and safety?" DeLauro and Slaughter said.

The two Democrats introduced a bill in late June that would require the USDA to recall any meat products that are contaminated by pathogens that can result in serious illness or death or are resistant to two or more antibiotics. They urged a vote on their legislation as soon as possible in light of the Foster Farms salmonella outbreak.

"House leadership should take up this bill immediately before any more American consumers fall victim," DeLauro and Slaughter said.