June 19, 2018

Largest Multi-State Food Poisoning Outbreaks of 2013: #2

An ongoing Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken is the second-largest multi-state food poisoning outbreak of 2013. The 23-state outbreak linked to seven drug-resistant strains of Salmonella has sickened 416 people,  40 percent of whom required hospitalization, about twice the average hospitalization rate.

SalmonellaThis is the second Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken this year. The first outbreak sickened 134 people in 13 states. Foster Farms did not issue a recall during either outbreak. But some retailers removed the chicken from store shelves following an October 7 health alert about the chicken issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS). The alert informed consumers that Salmonella infections were associated with chicken produced at three Foster Farms facilities identified on packages with establishment numbers P6137, P6137A, and P7632.

The same day FSIS issued the health alert, the agency sent letters to Foster Farms threatening to close the facilities. The letters cited conditions at the plants including: fecal material on carcasses, poor sanitary dressing practices, insanitary food contact surfaces, insanitary non food contact surfaces and “direct product contamination.” Foster Farms submitted a plan to address the problems and, three days after it threatened closure, FSIS told the company the plants could stay open.

On October 12 and October 17, 2013, days after Foster Farms was told it could keep the plants open, Costco’s El Camino Real store in San Francisco issued a recall for more than 23,000 Foster Farms rotisserie chicken products possibly contaminated with Salmonella after illnesses were reported.

In both outbreaks, most of the illnesses were concentrated in the Pacific Northwest. About 74 percent of the cases in this outbreak are from California. The case breakdown by state is as follows:  Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (18), California (310), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Idaho (4), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (10), Utah (2), Virginia (3), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (1).

 

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