December 8, 2019

Salmonella Outbreak in Canada Linked to Frozen Raw Breaded Chicken Products Not Over After All

The Salmonella outbreak in Canada that is linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products is not over after all, according to Public Health Canada. In fact, a new recall was just issued for Unbranded $10 Chicken Fries, because they too may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella Outbreak in Canada

The outbreak has grown since the last update on September 17, 2018. Fourteen more people have been diagnosed and added to this outbreak since then. As of October 2, 2018, there are 433 laboratory-confirmed illnesses across that country.

The case count in this Salmonella outbreak in Canada, by province is: British Columbia (36), Alberta (64), Saskatchewan (14), Manitoba (20), Ontario (151), Quebec (101), New Brunswick (23), Nova Scotia (9), Prince Edward Island (1), Newfoundland and Labrador (10), Northwest Territories (1), Yukon (1), and Nunavut (2). Eighty-six people have been hospitalized. Three people have died, but Salmonella was not the case of death for two of those patients, and it hasn’t been determined if Salmonella contributed to the death of the third person.

These products have been linked to outbreaks in the U.S. as well. Two outbreaks in 2015 were linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products produced by Aspen Foods and another linked to products made by Barber Foods. There are several issues that contribute to this problem.

First, the products may look fully cooked, even though they are raw and are labeled as raw. Second, the breading on these products can easily fall off and cross-contaminate countertops, utensils, and even other foods that are eaten raw. And finally, some people cook these products in the microwave oven, which can have uneven heating and leave cold spots in the chicken where bacteria are not destroyed.

Make sure that these products are cooked to a minimum final internal temperature of 165°F, and test that temperature with an accurate food thermometer. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are used to test roasts and whole chicken aren’t suitable for this purpose. Always follow cooking instructions on the package. And wash your hands well with soap and water after handling these products, and clean the countertops and utensils as well.

Food contaminated with pathogenic bacteria will not look, taste, or smell different, and it will not have a different texture. Never taste food to see if it’s cooked.

 

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