NBC News reports that two members of Congress have proposed a government shutdown of all Foster Farms poultry plants due to a recent outbreak of salmonella that has sickened more than 600 people in 29 different states and Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a recall of Foster Farms chicken products on July 3, and on July 4 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added that at least 621 people have fallen ill from the contaminated meat since March 2013. While the representatives proposing the shutdown have accused government health officials of attempting to bury the news on a busy holiday weekend, officials have countered by saying that they publicized the news on the holiday in the interest of warning consumers who may have been planning 4th of July barbecues.

The outbreak involves seven strains of salmonella known as Salmonella Heidelberg, which are drug-resistant and therefore more difficult to treat. Of those 621 reported cases, almost 40% of victims have been hospitalized, and 13% have developed secondary bloodstream infections.

With a possible plant shutdown still pending, Foster Farms has responded by recalling all chicken products with freeze-by or use-by dates between March 16 and March 29, 2014, as well as frozen Sunland Chicken products with best-by dates between March 7 and March 11, 2015. The recalled products are labeled with the plant numbers P6137, P6137A or P7632, and were shipped to grocery stores in 11 states including Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger, and Safeway.

Have you suffered a serious illness due to contaminated food products? You may have a claim. Contact the product liability attorneys at Hodes Milman today at (949) 640-8222 or go online at hmlm.com for more information.