The Salmonella outbreak linked to raw, frozen breaded chicken entrees made by Aspen Foods has ended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But because these entrees have a long shelf life, agency officials are worried that consumers may still have these products in their freezers. Consumers who do have these products in their freezers should dispose of them in a sealed plastic bag and wash their hands thoroughly.
The outbreak associated with these chicken entrees including Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken a la Kiev or Chicken Broccoli and Cheese, sickened five people in Minnesota hospitalizing two of them. The products were sold nationwide under the brand names Acclaim, Antioch Farms, Buckley Farms, Centrella Signature, Chestnut Farms, Family Favorites, Kirkwood, Koch Foods, Market Day, Oven Cravers, Rose, Rosebud Farm, Roundy’s, Safeway Kitchens, Schwan’s, Shaner’s, Spartan and Sysco.
Nationwide the products were sold at Aldi, Food Lion, Kroger, Safeway, Save-a-Lot, and Walmart stores nationwide and dozens of other stores in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
A recall was issued July 15, for 1.9 million pounds of the products. The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety an Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) then began increased monitoring at the plant, which has been linked to past outbreaks. The agency found Salmonella in 12 samples it tested and described the plant’s Salmonella problem as “systemic.” But the company refused to issue a recall.
In the interest of public health, FSIS issued a public health alert on September 17 and directed its personnel to detain all products covered by the alert found in commerce. On October 2, the company expanded the recall to include an additional 561,00o pounds of product.
The recalled products have the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection and were produced between August 25, 2015 and September 17, 2015 with “best if used by” dates of August 23, 2016 to December 15, 2016. See the complete list of stores compiled by the FSIS here.
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of animals and are shed in their feces. Contamination can happen during slaughter and transmit disease when food tainted with microscopic amounts of fecal material is ingested.
The infection called, salmonellosis, causes diarrhea that can be bloody, abdominal cramps, and fever. Usually these symptoms develop within six to 72 hours of exposure and last up to a week. But for some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Seniors, children and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to develop a severe illness. They are also at risk for long-term complications of a Salmonella infection which include reactive arthritis which causes painful swelling of the joints and eye problems.
Case patients in this outbreak, who ranged in age from 14 years to 68, reported onset of illness dates ranging from May 9, 2015 to July 22, 2015. Sixty percent of the case patients were male. The median age of 30. The outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis was not resistant to antibiotics.