Salmonella-Tainted Chicken Recall Extended To Military Bases

(Adds dates recalled products were produced; names of some bases; details of Defense Dept past purchases of Foster Farms products)

By P.J. Huffstutter

CHICAGO, July 8 (Reuters) - Federal regulators widened the recall of salmonella-tainted chicken produced by Foster Farms to include products believed to have been sent to military bases in five states to feed personnel and their families, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday.

U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Washington state received the tainted chicken, according to the agency. It may have been sold to the bases themselves, as well as on-base commissaries, the agency said.

Military personnel and their families typically shop at commissaries for food and other goods.

Foster Farms could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday. Officials with the Department of Defense could not be reached for comment.

According to the Agriculture Department, the recalled products were produced by Foster Farms on March 8, 10 and 11 this year at its plant in Livingston, California and two other facilities it owns in Fresno, California. The three plants have linked by public health investigators to the outbreak, which started in March of 2013.

The Defense Department has awarded California-based Foster Poultry Farms with $190.4 million worth of contracts for poultry products from 2003 through 2012, according to the government procurement website

On Thursday, Foster Farms said it would for the first time recall an undisclosed amount of contaminated chicken linked to a massive salmonella outbreak that has stretched on for more than 16 months.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service also said on Tuesday that the products were found to have also been carried by Costco stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington; as well as Food 4 Less, Food Max and Food Source stores in California.

The outbreak has roiled the public and brought regulatory pressure on the poultry producer. The salmonella strains linked to the outbreak have been identified in at least 621 cases in 29 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Thursday, Foster Farms said it initiated the voluntary recall "in the fullest interest of food safety." (Reporting By P.J. Huffstutter; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)