December 15, 2017

Salmonella Illnesses in Canada Linked to Frozen Chicken Products

Another Salmonella outbreak has been linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products; this time in Canada. This is not the first time illnesses have been reported connected to this type of product.

Salmonella

In 2015, 15 people in seven states in America were sickened in an outbreak linked to Barber Foods frozen Chicken Kiev. Four of those patients were hospitalized. That same year, five people were sickened in the U.S. after eating frozen raw stuffed breaded chicken breasts produced by Aspen Foods. And in 2014, another Salmonella outbreak was linked to Barber Foods produced Antioch Farms raw stuffed breaded chicken breast. That outbreak sickened at least six people in several states.

In this outbreak in Canada, people are sick with Salmonella Enteritidis infections in four provinces. Thirteen people are ill; the case count by province is: Ontario (7), Quebec (2), New Brunswick (2), and Nova Scotia (2). Four people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals became sick between June and August of this year. The average age of cases is 38 years (range 0 to 82 years), with about equal distribution among males and females.

Exposure to frozen raw breaded chicken products is identified as a source of illness. These products look cooked, but they are raw and are identified as such on product packaging. These foods must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C, tested with a food thermometer,  to make sure they are safe to eat.

These products must be handled as you would ordinary raw chicken or raw beef. Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Microwave cooking of these products is not recommended, since cold spots in microwave-cooked foods are common. Always follow package cooking instructions.

Use a digital food thermometer to make sure that the products are thoroughly cooked before you eat them. Insert the thermometer into the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven safe meat thermometers that are used for testing whole poultry and beef roasts aren’t suitable for testing nuggets, strips, burgers, or stuffed chicken products. And always wash your hands well with soap and water after handling these products.

Four people have been hospitalized in this outbreak, which is a typical number for the average Salmonella outbreak. If you ate frozen raw breaded chicken products and have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor.

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