October 19, 2017

Salmonella Outbreak in Canada Linked to Frozen Chicken

The Public Health Agency of Canada is announcing a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in that country linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products. Seven people in four provinces are sick as of June 26, 2017. Two people have been hospitalized.

Salmonella

There was a similar outbreak in the United States in 2015, linked to frozen Barber frozen Chicken Kiev, a raw stuffed product. The outbreak sickened 15 people in seven states. The Public Health Agency’s notice states that “This outbreak is a reminder that frozen raw breaded chicken products contain raw poultry and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products. Follow cooking instructions carefully and verify the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products must be cooked to a safe internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat.”

The outbreak case count by province is: British Columbia (1), Alberta (4), Ontario (1) and New Brunswick (1). Those patients were sickened in April and May, 2017. Most of those sickened are men and the average age is 26 years.

Salmonella is often found in raw chicken and frozen raw chicken products, whether they are breaded or not. Safe food handling practices, including avoiding cross-contamination and cooking these products to 165°F as measured with a food thermometer, can prevent illness.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin 6 to 72 hour after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. People are usually sick for about a week, and most recover without medical treatment. But some, especially children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems, do become so ill they must be hospitalized.

To prevent these illnesses, always handle chicken products, even if they appear to be cooked. Those frozen breaded chicken products often look cooked because they are pre-browned. Always cook them to 165°F and follow package cooking instructions. Wash your hands well with soap and water after you handle these products. And use a separate plate and cutting board when preparing frozen raw breaded chicken products and all raw chicken products.

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