The U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a Foster Farms poultry processing plant in Livingston, Calif., Wednesday, saying it was infested with live cockroaches, which can pose a threat to public health.
The move comes even as that site and two other California chicken plants remain under heightened USDA scrutiny following two outbreaks of salmonella food poisoning in the past year, including one that is ongoing and has sickened at least 416 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico.
"Today our inspectors observed insanitary conditions in the plant," said Adam Tarr, a spokesman for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
USDA officials said they couldn't confirm how many cockroaches were found or where in the fresh chicken production plant they were located. But a letter from the USDA to Foster said cockroaches were observed at a hand wash sink near an inspection station.
The agency pulled the inspectors from the plant, which effectively shuts down the operation.
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