LIVINGSTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a Central California chicken plant after federal inspectors found it infested with cockroaches.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service ordered a temporary closure of a Foster Farms facility in Livingston which carried out "enhanced sanitizing" Wednesday.
FSIS deputy district manager Abdalla Amin wrote to Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster that the closure came after that inspectors found cockroaches on five separate occasions in various parts of the plant over the past four months, including at a hand-washing sink early Wednesday.
Amin said the action was carried out based on "egregious insanitary conditions" which he said may have tainted products at the facility.
Foster Farms said Wednesday that food safety is "its highest priority" and shut down the Livingston facility immediately for "sanitation and treatment" for the incidents dating back to September.
"No other facilities are affected. No products are affected. Product production has been transferred to the company's other facilities," the company said in a statement.
The company said it maintains a pest control program and the plant about 25 miles southeast of Modesto is expected to reopen soon.
The temporary closure comes three months after inspectors threatened a shutdown because of salmonella problems at the Livingston plant and two Foster Farms sites in Fresno.
Those facilities stayed open as the company agreed to improve safeguards. It also issued no recalls of products and instead advised consumer to handle chicken properly and to cook it very thoroughly.
The company's CEO said in October that the salmonella outbreak caused sales to drop about 25 percent; they normally are about $2.3 billion a year.