Report: County Well being Inspector Tipped Off Foster Farms About COVID Inspection| Staff Compensation Information

Monday, March 22, 2021 | 82 | 0 | 22 min read

Foster Farms received advance notice that California regulators were inspecting a chicken processing facility where at least five workers have died of COVID-19 and another 22 have been hospitalized with the disease, according to a report from the Fresno Bee.

Foster Farms has two chicken processing plants in Fresno, each with more than 1,000 employees. In November, 21 of 254 workers at the Cherry Avenue facility tested positive for COVID-19. Foster began testing all employees, and by November 29, about 220 out of 1,000 employees were positive, according to Bee.

Tom Fuller, an environmental health specialist for the Fresno County Department of Health, reportedly said he was “very uncomfortable” with conditions at the facility after visiting it in November prior to the outbreak. When the county received calls about the outbreak in November, Fuller reportedly told Foster that he would be returning for another inspection.

He reportedly emailed the company on Dec. 8 that inspectors from the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal / OSHA, would be there for an inspection at 10 a.m. the next day.

A Cal / OSHA spokesman told the bee that the agency was unaware that a district official had notified Foster of the inspection. The spokesman said Cal / OSHA sometimes coordinates inspections with local agencies but expects them to keep the information confidential.

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