Food processing plants close after outbreak at California facility

SAN FRANCISCO — The head of a California food processing plant is in serious condition after an outbreak at a facility owned by a billionaire who made a fortune on the internet and is now under federal investigation.

Officials at the Alameda County facility, which is part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said Tuesday that one worker died in the outbreak, while another was hospitalized.

The company, which employs more than 600 people, has since announced that it has closed all of its facilities and plans to close more.

The Alameda facility is owned by billionaire Michael Schulz.

He is under federal indictment for allegedly importing food from China and exporting it to California.

He denies any wrongdoing and has said he is cooperating with the investigation.

He and his attorney, Matthew Smith, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Federal officials on Tuesday confirmed that they are investigating the Albertsons food processing facility and said they would not comment on the investigation, citing the ongoing investigation.

The outbreak is the latest in a string of food safety problems at food processing plants.

In September, an outbreak that sickened workers at a California plant at the same time it was under investigation at a Florida facility was traced to a worker who tested positive to the coronavirus.

In March, a California facility at the center of a federal investigation at another facility in the Bay Area that was under federal supervision collapsed, killing at least 17 people.