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Chicken plant: Cockroach infestation over, shut down 'voluntary' (+video)

Chicken plant: Cockroaches were found on five separate occasions, in various parts of the plant, over a four-month period, prompting the plant to close January 8. After an effort to eliminate the cockroaches, the plant is closing again, this time 'voluntarily and temporarily,' say company officials.

By Associated Press / January 13, 2014

A truck enters the Foster Farms processing plant in Livingston, Calif., Oct. 10, 2013. The plant is suspending operations 'voluntarily and temporarily' after reopening just last weekend, after it was shut because of a cockroach infestation.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP/File

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LIVINGSTON, Calif.

A California chicken farm that reopened over the weekend after it was shut because of a cockroach infestation says it's "voluntarily and temporarily" suspending operations again.

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Foster Farms said Sunday it was closing the plant in Livingston for several days so it can properly implement new food safety measures. The company said in a statement it is "exercising vigilance" and dedicating additional time to ensure its preventative plan is realized.

Work had resumed Saturday after Foster Farms announced it met the demands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture by performing a thorough cleanup and treatment of the plant. The company says no chicken product was affected.

The USDA said in a statement that it lifted its suspension and officials will monitor the plant once it reopens.

The plant closed Jan. 8 when inspectors found the cockroaches on five separate occasions in various parts of the plant over four months. That closure came three months after inspectors threatened a shutdown because of salmonella problems at the Livingston plant and two Foster Farms sites in Fresno.

Those facilities stayed open as the company agreed to improve safeguards. It issued no recalls of products and instead advised consumers to handle chicken properly and to cook it thoroughly.

The company said in its statement Sunday that maintenance workers will remain on the job during the voluntary closure. Other workers will be called back once full operations resume.

The company also said it has temporarily shifted production to its other plants in California's Central Valley. Foster Farms spokeswoman Karmina Zafiro declined to elaborate on the statement.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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