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SOURCE CA Poultry Industry Federation
On 75th Anniversary, Family-owned Company Reports on Significant Results of Food Safety Initiatives, and Offers to Share Knowledge with Poultry Industry
MODESTO, Calif., June 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), U.S. Representatives Jim Costa (D-Calif) and David Valadao (R-Calif), and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross joined Foster Farms President and CEO Ron Foster at an event marking Foster Farms' 75th Anniversary. Held at the historic home of founders Max and Verda Foster, the event commemorated the company's contribution to the poultry industry, consumers and the Central Valley community where it is based.
California Poultry Federation President Bill Mattos commented "Foster Farms brings a special kind of leadership to the poultry industry not only in California but across the nation. The company has been instrumental in pursuing initiatives that benefit consumers everywhere. They have helped to bring better definition to common labeling terms, such as "fresh" and "natural." In 2009, they led a major campaign that effectively ended "plumping" – the practice of adding saltwater to fresh poultry – in California. They are also the first major producer in the country to be certified by American Humane Association."
Mattos went on to say "Foster Farms has stepped up to a leadership position in food safety. They have invested more than $75 million and developed a comprehensive farm-to-package program that attacks Salmonella at almost every possible point. Their recent data indicates a Salmonella incidence level of 2%, well below the USDA-FSIS reported 2011/2012 industry benchmark of 25%. This is probably some of the safest chicken you can buy. Having worked with Foster Farms for more than two decades, I know they are the kind of company that is going to share their learnings with the rest of the industry, to create a safer food supply, even in the many areas where their products are not sold."
Earlier in the day, Mattos hosted a brief ceremony that included resolutions honoring Foster Farms presented by U.S. Representatives Jim Costa and David Valadao and signed by Congressman Jeff Denham; a proclamation presented by California State Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte), State Assembly members Adam Gray (D-Merced) and Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) also signed by Senator Kathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), Assembly member Susan Eggman (D-Stockton); Assembly member Henry Perea (D-Fresno), Senator Anthony Cannella (D-Ceres); and certificates of recognition presented by Stanislaus County Supervisors Vito Chiesa and Dick Monteith and Merced County Supervisor John Pedrozo.
MESSAGE FROM THE HONORABLE DIANNE FEINSTEIN REGARDING FOSTER FARMS' INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP
United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued a video message congratulating Foster Farms on its 75th anniversary. In her remarks, she noted the company's contributions to the local community, the poultry industry and to the consumer.
"Whether it's removing unhealthy additives from poultry, collaborating with the USDA or pioneering the idea of locally grown, Foster Farms prioritizes consumers," said Senator Feinstein in her message.
In regard to food safety, Senator Feinstein went on to say, "I have a willing and cooperative partner in Foster Farms. Currently, the industry-wide prevailing rate of Salmonella is at around 25 percent. In the past year, Foster Farms has worked tirelessly to achieve its goal of less than five percent this year. So it's my hope that the rest of the industry and USDA follow suit."
Senator Feinstein serves as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Appropriations Committee. She was the first woman president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, first woman mayor of San Francisco, first woman elected senator of California, first woman member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and first woman to chair the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. The following is a full transcript of her message:
Hello, I'm Diane Feinstein. I'm sorry I can't be with you in person today, but Senate business keeps me, as you might guess, in Washington. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish Foster Farms a very happy 75th anniversary. When Americans think about California's economy, Silicon Valley or Hollywood often come to mind. But today, California is the largest agricultural state in our country. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of the almonds in the world are produced in California, and our specialty crops are renowned throughout the world. And Foster Farms, with its strong presence in the Central Valley, is a very large part of this. Over the past 75 years, Foster Farms has grown into a company that employs more than 12,000 people and processes around 700,000 chickens per day - and that's a lot of chickens. And no matter how big Foster Farms has grown on the national stage, it hasn't forgotten what's most important, and that's caring for the community you call home. I think what really sets Foster Farms apart is that it is a family-owned business. When the economy soured in 2009, Foster Farms gave generously to food banks, especially in hard-hit Stanislaus and Merced Counties.
And whether it's removing unhealthy additives from poultry, collaborating with the USDA or pioneering the idea of locally grown, Foster Farms prioritizes consumers. I think it's fair to say that the rise of Salmonella and Campylobacter has become a huge concern in recent nears. Now, as we work to counter this deadly rise, I have had a willing and cooperative partner in Foster Farms. Currently, the industry-wide prevailing rate of Salmonella is at around 25 percent. In the past year, Foster Farms has worked tirelessly to achieve its goal of less than five percent this year. Congratulations. So it's my hope that the rest of the industry and USDA follow suit. Now that's not to say the battle is over. The rates of these deadly pathogens remain far too high. But I'm really confident that Foster Farms has the leadership, the acumen, and the care and concern to confront these challenges head on. So, happy 75th anniversary, Foster Farms. I so look forward to working with you. Thank you.
About California Poultry Federation
The California Poultry Federation (CPF) represents the state's turkey and chicken producers and marketers. A trade association formed in 1990, the CPF represents all segments of the industry including growers, hatchers, breeders and processors. The CPF is also the representative for the California Squab Producers, the largest squab processing facility in the world, and represents ducks, games birds and other meat poultry as well.
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