A poultry producer has until Thursday to explain how to fix a salmonella outbreak that has sickened 278 people, including five Texans.
The outbreak is linked to raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California that was distributed to stores in California, Oregon and Washington state.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is demanding answers from Foster Farms and threatening to shut down the three plants. The USDA found that chicken processed at the facilities had one or more of the seven strains of salmonella linked to the outbreak, NBC News reports.
The USDA has not directly linked the outbreak of illnesses to a specific product or production period. Products from the three plants have the USDA marks P6137, P6137A and P7632.
Foster Farms has not recalled any of its products.
The USDA said in a letter to Foster Farms that it had found high levels of salmonella at three of the company's California plant and was giving it until Thursday to respond before the agency would halt production by withholding meat inspections, according to NBC News.
Health leaders say some of the strains of salmonella linked to the outbreak are drug-resistant.
Sean Klase, of Arlington, said doctors have told him he has a strain of salmonella that is resistant to antibiotics. He spent all of last week in a hospital.
"I was dizzy and confused, light-headed; not so much in real pain, but having to go to the bathroom constantly," he said.
Doctors say he has to let the illness run its course, which could take another two weeks.
"This is the worst case of anything I've ever had," Klase said.
It is not confirmed if his illness is part of the salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms.
Klase said he became sick two weeks ago after ordering chicken tortilla soup at a fast food restaurant in Arlington. Klase said he has been in contact with the Tarrant County health department and told health officials about the restaurant.
Salmonella is a pathogen that contaminates meat during slaughter and processing and is especially common in undercooked chicken.