October 24, 2016

Barber Chicken Entree Salmonella Outbreak Expands to 4 States

The Salmonella outbreak linked to Barber frozen chicken entrees has expanded to four states sickening nine people and hospitalizing three of them. Six cases have been reported in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma have each reported one case.

Chicken Kiev SalmonellaA lawsuit has been filed of behalf of a man from Lake Elmo, Minnesota who became ill after eating eating a contaminated Chicken Kiev entree they purchased from a Sam’s Club store.

The man developed severe gastroenteritis soon after eating the product with Salmonella symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, chills and headache. His symptoms, which persisted for several weeks, led doctors to test him for a bacterial infection. The result was a Salmonella strain genetically matched to the outbreak strain.

“This is not the first outbreak linked to these products and won’t be the last unless the industry makes real changes,” said the couple’s attorney Ryan Osterholm of the national food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen.

In the past, outbreaks linked to pre-browned, but raw, stuffed poultry products such as Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu, were fairly common. But mandatory label changes in 2008, which eliminated microwave cooking instructions, solved the problem. Until last year.

In October, six people in Minnesota got Salmonella poisoning from Antioch Farms frozen raw Chicken Kiev. Minnesota health officials said they knew something must have been very wrong with chicken. During interviews, some of those sickened by the product reported following cooking instructions to the letter.

Health officials began to suspect that the chicken was contaminated with so much Salmonella that it would be very difficult to prepare it without getting sick. They were right.

Now, nine months after that outbreak another Salmonella outbreak linked to raw, frozen chicken entrees produced by Antioch Farms is occurring at the same time as the Barber outbreak. Antioch Farms brand entrees, which are produced by Aspen Foods, have sickened at three people in Minnesota, hospitalizing two of them.

The case patients in the Barber outbreak, who range in age from 4 years to 82, reported onset of Salmonella symptoms from April 5, 2015 to July 5, 2015. Fifty six percent of those sickened are female.

Four samples of the outbreak strain were tested by the CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) laboratory and all four of them were resistant to  ampicillin and tetracycline.

Antibiotic resistance bacterial strains can increase the risks: of  hospitalization, bloodstream infections, or treatment failure in patients, according to the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Barber Foods of Portland, Maine has recalled 1.7 million pounds of frozen, pre-browned  raw stuffed chicken products that may be contaminated with Salmonella including chicken Kiev, chicken Swiss, chicken ham and cheese, chicken asparagus and cheese, chicken Cordon Bleu, chicken Cordon Swiss, chicken in butter, chicken broccoli and swiss, chicken creme brie, chicken garlic butter, chicken parmesan, chicken fingers and Italian chicken tenders.

The recalled products were  sold under the brand names Barber, Loblaws No Name, Meijer, Omaha Steaks, Sysco, and Western Family. The products have the establishment number “P-276” on the packaging and  were shipped to retail locations nationwide and to Canada. Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them.

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