The number of Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to Foster Farms brand chicken increased to 317 Friday. Salmonella cases associated with the outbreak have now been reported in 20 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which brought back 10 furloughed workers to staff the team working on the PulseNet database and epidemiologists on the data-exchange system earlier this week. Nearly three-fourths of the Salmonella cases associated with this latest Foster Farms outbreak have been reported in California.  The first illness was reported in March of this year, while the most recently reported cases fell ill after September 24.  Due to a lag in reporting time, people who fell ill with Salmonella Heidelberg infections after September 5 may not yet be included in the case-count. Foster Farms continues to process chickens in three plants that are under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.  While the plants have not been closed, the company did face action by FSIS, which threatened to withhold marks of inspection and suspend the assignment of inspectors unless the firm submitted plans to prevent the persistent recurrence of Salmonella contamination. “Foster Farms has submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations,” USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee told Food Safety News on Thursday. “FSIS inspectors will verify that these changes are being implemented in a continuous and ongoing basis. Additionally, the agency will continue intensified sampling for at least the next 90 days.” Kroger’s family of stores recalled Foster Farms chickens for potential Salmonella Heidelberg contamination on Tuesday.  Stores recalling Foster Farms chicken include Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Smith’s and QFC. Foster Farms products are not sold in Kroger, Dillons and Jay C stores. Products recalled come from three Foster Farms facilities in California and are identified by one of three USDA mark of inspection numbers: P6137, P6137A and P7632.