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The Los Angeles Times reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) "is threatening to close three California poultry plants operated by Foster Farms blamed for an outbreak of salmonella poisoning that has sickened at least 278 people nationwide," saying that the plants have sanitary conditions that pose "a serious ongoing threat to public health."

The situation is seen as particularly dire because, as the Times writes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that "42% of sickened individuals were hospitalized — double the normal rate for such an outbreak. The CDC also reported that some of the salmonella strains detected were showing resistance to antibiotics."

Foster Farms has until close of business today to come up with a plan to clean up the mess.

A recall has not been mandated by the USDA, though Kroger and its various banners have pulled Foster Farms chickens from its shelves. "Salmonella does not trigger an automatic recall like some forms of E. coli because it's not deemed an adulterant," the Times writes. "Instead, the USDA considers salmonella a naturally occurring bacteria that can be mitigated with proper cooking and handling," though there is an argument now that "this position needs to change because antibiotic use in agriculture has been creating dangerous forms of salmonella resistant to traditional drugs."
KC's View:
I know there are legalities and processes to be considered, but it is hard to imagine why a mandated recall - or, at the very least, a voluntary recall - has not taken place since these chickens have been linked to all this illness. What the hell are they waiting for?