Californian poultry company Foster Farms has agreed to start a voluntary recall of unspecified amounts of chicken products, after months of investigation and reported illnesses linked to products manufactured by the company, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

Foster Farms has been at the center of controversy since an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg was linked to products made by the company in March, following an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite public calls for action, officials did not have the power to enforce a recall because there had been no direct link established between the ongoing outbreak and a specific production lot.

Eventually, the recall was started after a reported case of Salmonella was linked with consumption of a boneless skinless chicken breast product, which led to the CDC notifying the FSIS of the evidence. As a result, Foster Farms agreed to start a recall of products manufactured on three specific dates between March 7 and March 13, 2014. The products subject to the recall were distributed to several major retail chains, including Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger and Safeway in 11 states, the FSIS explained in a statement. They are unlikely to still be available for purchase, but may be in consumers' freezers.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the outbreak is continuing.