October 15, 2019

Chicken Kiev Salmonella Outbreak Raised Red Flag in MN

When six people in Minnesota developed Salmonella poisoning after eating Antioch Farms frozen raw chicken Kiev, health officials suspected it wasn’t a clear-cut case of user error. ┬áLabeling changes for frozen products containing raw meat or poultry enacted in 2008 had completely eliminated outbreaks associated with such products. Then this one came along.

Chicken-Kiev-SalmonellaDr. Carlota Medus, epidemiologist for the Foodborne Diseases Unit at Minnesota Department of Health, told Food Poisoning Bulletin that that raised a red flag. Something must have changed with the chicken.

As per the 2008 label rule, the packages of chicken Kiev were clearly marked as raw and did not have microwave instructions. During interviews, some patients said they carefully followed cooking instructions.  This could mean that the chicken was contaminated with so much Salmonella that it would be very difficult to prepare it with out getting sick, Medus said. Was that a possibility?

Yes. The plant that produced the product had been linked to a Salmonella outbreak prior to the label rule change. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture ran tests on Antioch Farms chicken Kiev they purchased from grocery stores and found it to be contaminated with a Salmonella strain that genetically matched the strain that had sickened six people.

Minnesota officials, who cannot compel a company to recall a product, presented their findings to the company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) which announced a recall of 14 toms of the product by Aspen Foods Division of Koch Meats in Chicago on October 24. Yesterday, the agency posted a retail distribution list that shows the contaminated product was distributed to a total of 16 states.

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