December 2, 2016

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Aspen Chicken Grows

Chicken-Kiev-SalmonellaA Salmonella outbreak linked raw, frozen breaded chicken products from Aspen Foods has sickened five people in Minnesota hospitalizing two of them. The company, which has been linked to other Salmonella outbreaks, has a systemic Salmonella problem, the USDA said two weeks ago.

The current outbreak, announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June, followed another Salmonella outbreak linked to the same products a year earlier. Between August 17, 2014 and September 27, 2014 six people in Minnesota got Salmonella infections from Antioch Farms brand frozen, raw Chicken Kiev produced at the Aspen Foods facility in Chicago.

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said that during interviews with case patients they learned that some of them followed cooking instructions to the letter. That led them to suspect that the chicken was contaminated with so much Salmonella that it would be very difficult to prepare it without getting sick. The Aspen Foods plant in Chicago that produced the the Antioch Farms chicken Kiev had been linked to a Salmonella outbreak years before.

The 2014 outbreak was announced by Minnesota health and agriculture officials in late October 2014 and a recall of 14 tons of chicken products followed. After the this year’s outbreak was announced July 3, it was two weeks before Aspen issued a recall for 2 million pounds of frozen chicken products.

Since that time the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has stepped up monitoring at the plant and has found Salmonella in twelve samples. “The twelve positive samples collected during FSIS’ intensified sampling efforts alerted FSIS to a systemic problem at the establishment. FSIS cannot have confidence in the safety of any products produced after July 30, 2015,” the agency said.

Since that time, FSIS began increased monitoring at the plant and has found Salmonella in twelve samples. “The twelve positive samples collected during FSIS’ intensified sampling efforts alerted FSIS to a systemic problem at the establishment. FSIS cannot have confidence in the safety of any products produced after July 30, 2015,” the agency said. However, Aspen has not issued a recall for additional products so FSIS issued a public health alert covers all frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products produced by Aspen Foods between July 30, 2015 and September 17, 2015.

The breaded chicken items were labeled as “chicken cordon bleu,” “chicken Kiev” or “chicken broccoli and cheese” and have the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection. They 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.

Consumers and food service locations who have these products in their freezers should throw them out. Wear gloves when handling the box and carefully clean and sanitize any surfaces it contacts. Dispose of the product by sealing it in a plastic bag so that it does not transmit more disease.

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 after 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.

Anyone who has eaten these products and developed symptoms of an infection should see a doctor and mention exposure to Salmonella. A stool culture can confirm an infection and determine if it is part of an outbreak.

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