It's always troubling when a major food supplier issues a recall. Today, Foster Farms officially announced a recall on their chicken products with "use or freeze by" dates between March 21st and March 29th. However, the Foster Farms salmonella story has been in the news for the last 16 months, so the March time window seems a bit small. You can read more about the recall by clicking here and here. If you have any Foster Farms chicken in your fridge or freezer and you're still brave enough to consume it, please be take extra precaution and cook your chicken to 180F (or slightly more)!
These outbreaks aren't usually directly related to the birds being raised. All chicken has small quantities of salmonella present. It's the handling of the birds during and after processing that has the largest influence in whether or not the bacteria will become dangerous. Foster Farms and similar companies use USDA inspected facilities; it's hard to say how a USDA inspected facility can distributed infected meats, but the fact is, they can and do often.
It's probably a good time to encourage folks to consider buying their meats from local farmers and processors. There are a lot of farms, including ours, that raise chickens on pasture where bacteria is naturally eradicated by the sun. On the other hand, large chicken processors tend keep their chickens in large, enclosed buildings where bacteria naturally flourishes. We use small, family butchers that process small quantities of meat each day and use the utmost care in ensuring the meats are cooled quickly and no cross-contamination occurs during processing.
Whether you buy your meat from us, another local farm, or from the supermarket, please be careful and ensure you properly store, defrost, and cook your meats. The safe cooking temperature for chicken is 180F.
If you'd like to learn more about our chickens or would like to order some of our pasture raised, free range chicken, please click here.