California Latino Caucus Asks For Investigation Into Fresno County And Foster Farms
California’s Latino and Asian and Pacific Islander caucuses are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to investigate the Fresno County Health Department. The move comes after the Fresno Bee reported that officials gave confidential information to Foster Farms executives by warning them in advance about Cal/OSHA COVID-19 inspections.
During a press conference Thursday, several legislators questioned whether the health department was committed to protecting Foster Farms or its employees. At least five people died and 22 were hospitalized after contracting COVID at the Foster Farms Plant located on South Cherry Avenue in Fresno County.
Assemblymember Robert Rivas, the Latino Caucus vice chair, said these deaths could have been prevented.
“As the grandson of a farmworker I am personally offended by the actions taken by these Fresno County Health Officials.They have families. They have roots in our community. And the public, they deserve answers,” he said.
Bobby Sihng Dillion lost his father during a December outbreak at Foster Farms. His father planned to retire at the end of December before catching COVID. Sihng Dillion said Foster Farms failed their employees by not providing a safe working environment.
“We already paid the price of losing our father, but there should be accountability,” he said.
A Fresno County Health Department spokesperson said the department's response to the outbreak at Foster Farms, was "proactive, responsible, and completely appropriate." Foster Farms did not immediately respond to a request for comment.