Processing Magazine

USDA Orders Chicken Plant Closed

July 28, 2010
Federal regulators ordered Murray''s Chicken to cease processing at its South Fallsburg, New York, poultry plant, throwing hundreds of workers into limbo as the company disputed government concerns about food safety, according to the Times Herald-Record. Steve Gold, Murray''s vice president of sales and marketing, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture''s Food Safety and Inspection Service allowed the company to ship chicken packaged Monday but ordered it otherwise closed until it corrects "facility issues." Neither Gold nor Brian Mabry, an FSIS spokesman, would identify the specific issues underlying the shutdown. But Mabry said FSIS'' concerns are directly related to food safety. The agency sent Murray''s a written warning in January concerning salmonella controls. The concerns centered on Murray''s ability to identify and minimize contamination by pathogens such as salmonella, said Mabry. In April, a notice followed the written warning about sanitation concerns and noncompliance with FSIS regulations. FSIS issued another notice Monday telling Murray to suspend operations. Gold said he was not aware of any FSIS issues with food contamination. The company frequently tests on its own and just passed a USDA test for salmonella on July 23, he said.