May 31, 2020

Breaded Chicken Salmonella Outbreak in Canada Has Sickened 534

A breaded chicken Salmonella outbreak in Canada has sickened at least 534 people in 13 provinces. There are actually 15 national outbreaks linked to raw chicken, including raw breaded chicken products. Food recalls have been issued for twelve products that are linked to some of these outbreak investigations.

Breaded Chicken Salmonella Outbreak Canada

The case count by province is: British Columbia (42), Alberta (83), Saskatchewan (18), Manitoba (26), Ontario (189), Quebec (111), New Brunswick (27), Nova Scotia (17), Prince Edward Island (5), Newfoundland and Labrador (12), Northwest Territories (1), Yukon (1), and Nunavut (2). Ninety people have been hospitalized because they were so sick.

Raw breaded chicken products have caused several outbreaks in Canada and in the U.S. Aspen Foods raw frozen breaded stuffed chicken breasts caused illnesses in the U.S. in 2015; officials found a “systemic” Salmonella problem in that company’s facility.

One of the problems with this type of product is that it can look fully cooked, even though the chicken is raw and the box is marked as “raw.” Another issue is that people frequently cook this product in the microwave oven, which can have cold spots, so the chicken may be undercooked in some areas. Finally, the breading, which can easily be contaminated, can fall off during the preparation process, contaminating kitchen surfaces and utensils.

If you choose to buy and eat these products, there are things you should keep in mind. Always cook these products in an oven. Make sure they are fully cooked to a final internal temperature of 165°F, and test that temperature with a reliable food thermometer.

Wash your hands well with soap and water after handling these raw products. Wash utensils, kitchen surfaces, and plates and cooking equipment with soap and water when the chicken is cooked. And follow cooking instructions on the package carefully.

The symptoms of a Salmonella infection include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach and abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that can be watery and bloody. If you have experienced these symptoms, see your doctor. The long term complications of a Salmonella infection can be serious, including reactive arthritis and high blood pressure.

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