July 10, 2020

Top 10 Food Outbreaks of 2019: #8 Raw Chicken Salmonella Infantis

A year-long raw chicken Salmonella Infantis outbreak is the number 8 food poisoning outbreak of 2019, with 129 sick in 32 states. Twenty-five people were hospitalized, and one death in New York was reported.

Top 10 Food Outbreaks of 2019: #8 Raw Chicken Salmonella Infantis

The case count by state in this raw chicken Salmonella Infantis outbreak is: Alabama (1), Arkansas (3), California (1), Colorado (1), Connecticut (3), Delaware (3), Florida (2), Georgia (2), Hawaii (1), Illinois (7), Indiana (1), Kentucky (2), Louisiana (2), Maine (1), Maryland (4), Massachusetts (17), Michigan (4), Minnesota (5), Missouri (3), North Carolina (7), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (9), New York (18), Ohio (8), Pennsylvania (13), Rhode Island (2), South Carolina (1), Tennessee (1), Texas (2), Virginia (2), Washington (2), and Wisconsin (1). Illnesses started in January, 2018 and ran  through January, 2019. The patient age range was less than 1 year to 105.

Many types of raw chicken products from a variety of sources were contaminated and made people sick. The outbreak strain was found in samples taken from raw chicken products, raw chicken pet food, and live chickens. Officials think that this contamination is widespread in the chicken industry.

The government has requested that the chicken industry address this problem and take steps to mitigate it. The outbreak strain was found in 76 slaughter establishments. A single, common supplier of raw chicken products or of live chickens was not identified in this outbreak.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

A problematic fact is that the pathogen is resistant to many types of antibiotics that are used to fight Salmonella infections. Some of those antibiotics are ampicillin, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, fosfomycin, gentamicin, hygromycin, kanamycin, nalidixic acid, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, tetracycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

The investigation ended with a warning to consumers to handle raw chicken products very carefully; assume it’s contaminated. Make sure you avoid cross-contamination between raw chicken and other foods that are eaten uncooked. Always wash your hands well after touching raw chicken. Always cook raw chicken to 165°F and use a meat thermometer to make sure that temperature is reached. The government doe not recommend feeding raw diets to pets, since people can get sick through contact with the food and with their pets who may shed the pathogen.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection include a fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle aches, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. This infection can have lifelong complications even if a patient recovers fully, including reactive arthritis, endocarditis, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.

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