When you hear about a big salmonella outbreak that’s sickened hundreds, you know there’s got to be a problem somewhere along the supply chain. But hearing the words “cockroach” and “infestation” linked to a chicken processing plant is just so… real. And gross. Which is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shut down a plant in California, saying live cockroaches running around at such a place are not good for public health.
The Foster Farms poultry processing plant has a bit of a bug problem, reports NBC News, which is especially troubling (okay, but it’s always troubling, let’s be clear) in light of two recent outbreaks of salmonella food poisoning in the last year. One of those is still ongoing.
“Today our inspectors observed insanitary conditions in the plant,” said Adam Tarr, a spokesman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Officials aren’t revealing if they fell into a pit of live cockroaches or if just a few are running around the place, and they’re not saying where in the facility the buggers were. But in the USDA’s letter to Foster it says cockroaches were spotted near a hand wash sink at an inspection station.
USDA inspectors were then taken off the job at the plant, which can’t run without them there.
Foster confirmed the shutdown in a statement on its site, saying things are stopped for the moment to “to allow for enhanced sanitizing to take place.” Perhaps someone is making a run on the roach motel aisle?
“This is an isolated incident; no other facilities are affected,” the company’s latest statement reads. “Today’s treatment is expected to fully resolve this incident. No products are affected. Product production has been transferred to the company’s other facilities.”
It’s not just that cockroaches are creepy, crawly and the last thing you want to see scurrying around food. They also carry bacteria, which includes salmonella. The USDA clarified, however, that the recent cockroach shutdown isn’t related to the ongoing outbreak.