July 23, 2024

New Foster Farms Chicken Salmonella Outbreak Update

The year-long investigation into the multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken has just been updated by the CDC. As of February 28, 2014, 481 people have been infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg, an increase of 51 in the last six weeks. Those sickened live in 25 states and Puerto Rico. Thirty-eight percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Most of the ill persons live in California.

Foster Farms Salmonella Outbreak 3.3.14

The outbreak by state is as follows: Alaska (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona (22), California (365), Colorado (9), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Hawaii (1), Idaho (5), Illinois (1), Kentucky (1), Louisiana (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (10), New Mexico (2), Oregon (10), Puerto Rico (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (10), Utah (4), Virginia (4), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (1). Fifty-one new cases are reported from five states: Arizona (3), California (44), Hawaii (1), Tennessee (1), and Utah (2).

The outbreak appeared to be over, but ongoing surveillance in February found that infections from two of the previously rare outbreak strains have exceeded the baseline number of infections reported to PulseNet this time of the year. The outbreak strains of Salmonella are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance increases the risk of hospitalization in those who are ill.

Sadly, the government is still telling consumers that safe food handling will protect them from these contaminated products. But an outbreak of this magnitude means that the food is so contaminated, or that the bacteria are so virulent, that the chicken is not safe in consumer’s kitchens. The number of people actually sickened is close to 14,600 when the number of case patients is multiplied by the multiplier for Salmonella: 30.3. No official recall of contaminated Foster Farms chicken has ever been issued by the USDA.

The contaminated chickens came from three Foster Farms plants in California. The plants were very briefly shut down last year by federal authorities. One of the slaughterhouses was shut down in January because inspectors found evidence of cockroaches.

The symptoms of Salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, fever, and severe cramps. If you experience these symptoms and you have had Foster Farms chicken in your home, see your doctor and tell her that you handled this product.  Most people recover from a Salmonella infection after about a week, but some people become so sick they must be hospitalized. The hospitalization rate in this outbreak is twice the normal rate, most likely because the bacteria are antibiotic resistant and virulent.


  1. Hennaisgood says

    So that’s what happened. I’m only slightly sick, but I got a nasty coating in my mouth after eating some store bought fresh roasted chicken (I was in a hurry that day), and the coating is still here, along with low fever, awful chills vomiting and ab pain. I think I’ll take some Magnesium Citrate and get it out. It’s not bad enough to panic over, but I do feel general malaise, that’s for sure. That’s a good word for it. I thought I had caught a cold, but my nose is clear. I’m in North Carolina, which doesn’t seem to be very much affected, but we’re more of a beef and pork state anyway. Thank you for this article.

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