September 20, 2018

Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak in Canada Linked to Frozen Breaded Chicken Grows to 84 Sick

The Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in Canada that is linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products has grown to include 84 sick people. The outbreak notice says that “poultry, including frozen breaded chicken products containing raw poultry, pose an increased health risk to individuals who handle, prepare or consume these types of foods.”

Salmonella Enteritidis Outbreak Canada

Public health officials are warning Canadians to follow food safety practices when they handle, prepare, or consume any type of poultry, including frozen raw breaded chicken products such as chicken nuggets, burgers, strips, and fries.

As part of this outbreak investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has recalled No Name brand Chicken Burgers sold in 1 kg packages. The product has a best before date of February 6, 2019. It was sold throughout the country at the retail level.

Salmonella is often found on raw chicken products. But frozen raw breaded chicken products pose a special hazard because the breading on the products can be contaminated, and that breading can fall off the chicken before it is cooked and contaminate surfaces in the kitchen. In addition, these products can appear fully cooked, and some consumers may not cook them to a safe final internal temperature. All poultry should be cooked stomach at least 165°F, as tested with a food thermometer.

The case count by province is: British Columbia (9), Alberta (9), Manitoba (9), Ontario (23), Quebec (27), New Brunswick (2), Nova Scotia (2), Newfoundland and Labrador (1), the Northwest Territories (1), and Yukon (1). Eighteen people have been hospitalized because they are so sick.

Illness onset dates in this outbreak range from March and June 2018. The patient age range is from 0 to 85 years. Most of those sicken,edn, about 56%, are male.

Several of those sickened ate No Name brand chicken burgers before they got sick. A food sample of that product tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis, with the same genetic fingerprint, using whole genome sequencing, as samples taken from ill persons.

To protect yourself, always handle raw chicken carefully. Do not cook frozen raw breaded poultry products in the microwave oven, which can heat these foods unevenly, leaving cold spots where bacteria can grow. Follow cooking instructions carefully, and wash your hands well with soap and warm water after handling these products. Don’t re-use plates, cutting boards, or utensils that have touched raw chicken products unless they have been thoroughly washed. And clean the area where you prepared them with soap and warm water.

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