LIVINGSTON, Calif. — Foster Farms, in compliance and with the approval of the Merced Department of Public Health (MCDPH), has reopened the Livingston poultry plant. The Livingston poultry plant is the largest facility within the Livingston Poultry Complex, which is now fully operational. The Livingston poultry plant was closed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 7, as part of a comprehensive program by Foster Farms to ensure the safety of all Livingston Poultry Complex employees from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced.
Foster Farms released the following statement regarding the reopening of the plant:
“We genuinely value our dedicated, hardworking employees. Since our founding in 1939, employee health and welfare has always been Foster Farms’ highest priority.
“Through Labor Day, Foster Farms has conducted more than 4,800 COVID-19 tests of the Livingston Complex workforce. Results of the recent testing indicate a COVID-19 prevalence of less than 1 percent positive. The few employees that did test positive have been advised to self-isolate and will receive all appropriate medical leave benefits; they have our hope for a quick recovery. Nowhere else in California has a testing program of this magnitude been so quickly and successfully conducted. We extend our appreciation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, for their material assistance to help make the testing possible. Over the coming weeks, Foster Farms will be conducting regular testing throughout the Livingston complex, aimed at monitoring and resolving COVID-19 prevalence to reduce the risk to our employees.
“We extend our thanks to the MCDPH for their advice and counsel. In addition to employee testing and deep cleaning, we are implementing and will continue to follow the MCDPH order, including:
- Provided employees with 1-on-1 COVID-19 training.
- Adding a licensed healthcare professional to oversee our COVID-19 programs.
- Committing to establish a joint COVID-19 Worker Health & Safety Committee, comprised of employee and company representatives.
- Ongoing robust communications with our workers about testing and illnesses.
- Continuing to increase social distancing measures.
- Continuing to expand break area spaces.
“The recommendations of the MCDPH augment Foster Farms’ ongoing mitigation and communication programs, which follow CDC guidance and began in early March.”
Dr. David Acheson, who held the position of chief medical officer with the USDA and FDA, and who advises Foster Farms on COVID-19, added, “The intensive testing and implementation of additional worker safety recommendations undertaken by Foster Farms, in addition to the mitigations following CDC guidance that are already in place, are a robust effort to protect Livingston employees from COVID-19. Routine follow-up testing will help ensure that Foster Farms is vigilant in maintaining the low prevalence baseline and protect employees. Holding the line against COVID-19, and ultimately defeating it requires constant vigilance, and the cooperation of all.”
“Foster Farms has been a part of California’s Central Valley agricultural community for more than 80 years,” the company said. “Our products are on the tables of millions of West Coast families, and for many it is one of the few affordable sources of protein — especially in light of COVID-19’s economic impact. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to food producers like Foster Farms are substantial, and we are committed to overcoming them.”