2 salmonella outbreaks leave 10 ill, prompting more chicken recalls


Several million pounds of frozen chicken are being recalled after 11 people got sick from salmonella. Aspen Foods is recalling nearly two million pounds of frozen chicken after three people became ill in Minnesota, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ( Courtesy Koch Foods, Inc. via CNN)

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service are working with the Minnesota Department of Health to investigate two separate salmonella outbreaks.

A multistate outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis has sickened seven people in three states: five in Minnesota, one in Oklahoma, and one in Wisconsin. Two of them have been hospitalized.

This prompted Barber foods to recall 1.7 million pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed chicken products.

This is an expansion of a recall first issued on July 2. More products were added to that recall after the most recent two patients were identified.

The recalled items were produced between February 17 and May 20 of this year, and were shipped throughout the United States and Canada.

Consumers, retailers and restaurants are advised not to use any such products.

Barber Foods are sold under many different brands, including Meijer, Sysco and Omaha Steaks. The Food Safety Inspection Service has a complete list of recalled products.

The CDC and inspection service are also working with the Minnesota Department of Health to investigate another outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis that has sickened three people in that state. Two of them are hospitalized. Officials know this outbreak is not related because it is a different strain. All three of these people ate Antioch Farms brand cordon bleu stuffed chicken breast produced by Aspen Foods.

This has prompted Aspen Foods to recall of 1.9 million pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed, and breaded chicken products that may be contaminated.  (More information on the recall here)

The recalled products were produced between April 15 and July 10 of this year and shipped nationwide. Consumers and retailers are advised not to use any such products they have.

The recalled products are sold under many brands including Sysco, Safeway Kitchens, Kirkwood and Antioch Farms. A full list of brands is available from the USDA.

The CDC estimates that 1 million people are sickened by salmonella every year, including 19,000 hospitalizations and 380 deaths.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected. The illness lasts four to seven days, and most people do not need treatment. Some patients do need to be treated with antibiotics and even hospitalization. Infants, elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk for having severe infections.

Thoroughly cooking cooking poultry, ground beef and eggs is key to preventing salmonella illness from food since the bacteria cannot survive heat. Health officials recommend an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground beef and 165 degrees for poultry. They also advise against consuming raw eggs and raw or unpasturized milk.

Raw meat and poultry should be refrigerated within two hours after purchase and one hour after cooking.

The other important step is handwashing (with warm water for at least 20 seconds) before and after handling these foods. Another important step is to clean utensils, cutting boards, counters, and dishes with warm soapy water after using them with raw products, and before using them again for cooked products.

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