June 17, 2021

Is Serenade Foods tied to Breaded Chicken Salmonella Outbreak?

Food safety investigators working with Salmonella lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have identified an establishment where breaded chicken products associated with an ongoing Salmonella outbreak were made.

Kirkwood Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

People sickened in this outbreak reported eating chicken cordon bleu, chicken with broccoli and cheese, and chicken Kiev they had purchased frozen from grocery stores before they became ill.

During an investigation of the outbreak, which includes 17 confirmed cases from six states, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Enteritidis in Kirkwood Chicken Cordon Bleu. Kirkwood is an ALDI store brand but it may not be the only brand associated with this outbreak. Case patients reported eating products sold under a variety of brand names. So it’s possible that more brands will be identified as the investigation progresses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its announcement of the outbreak. 

Despite the test results from Minnesota Ag officials, no recall has been issued. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), the federal agency charged with regulating the nation’s meat and poultry supply, said the test results alone weren’t enough to warrant a request for a recall from the company.

“At this time, the production lots tested in Minnesota are not known to have been purchased by any of the case patients. FSIS has not received any purchase documentation, shopper records, or other traceable information at this time,” the agency stated in a “Public Health Alert” for frozen, stuffed, breaded chicken products.

The alert is a general reminder for consumers to handle raw poultry safely. It does not name Kirkwood or the company that makes these products for ALDI. But, because these products are still being sold at ALDI stores, a look at their labels offers a clue.

 

At least some of the Kirkwood brand chicken cordon bleu items currently for sale at ALDI stores in Minnesota were produced at Serenade Foods in Milford, IN.  These products bear the USDA establishment identification number associated with Serenade Foods on their labels.

It’s possible that ALDI has contracts with a number of companies to produce stuffed, breaded chicken products under the Kirkwood brand name and that some of those products are not associated with this outbreak. But Back in 2006, Kirkwood stuffed, breaded chicken products were made by Serenade Foods. And they were recalled in connection with a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak that also included products made by Aspen Foods of Chicago. That Salmonella outbreak sickened 29 people in Minnesota and Michigan.

Nine years later, when Kirkwood stuffed, breaded chicken products were being made by Aspen Foods, they were recalled in connection with another Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak.  That outbreak sickened five people in Minnesota, two of whom were hospitalized. In addition to Kirkwood, the stuffed, breaded chicken recall included the brand names Acclaim, Antioch Farms, Buckley Farms, Centrella Signature, Chestnut Farms, Family Favorites, Koch Foods, Market Day, Oven Cravers, Rose, Rosebud Farm, Roundy’s, Safeway Kitchens, Schwan’s, Shaner’s, Spartan and Sysco. A number of stores sold those products including ALDI, Food Lion, Kroger, Safeway, Save-a-Lot, and Walmart.

Symptoms of a Salmonella infection usually develop within six to 72 hours of eating contaminated food. They include fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. This outbreak has a hospitalization rate that is three times the average. This indicates that patients are suffering from severe infections.

Symptoms of a severe Salmonella infection include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Diarrhea lasting more than three days that is not improving
  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102°F
  • Vomiting so much you can’t keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration, such as decreased urination, dry mouth, feeling dizzy when standing up

If you have eaten a Kirkwood chicken cordon bleu or other stuffed, breaded chicken entrée and develop any of those symptoms, see a doctor right away.

The people sickened in this outbreak, who range in age from 3 to 83 years old, first experienced symptoms of a Salmonella infection on dates ranging from February 21, 2021, to May 7, 2021. The number of cases reported from each state so far is Arizona (1), Illinois (6), Indiana (3), Michigan (1), Minnesota (4), and New York (2).

 

By submitting a comment, you are contacting Pritzker Hageman, P.A. An attorney may contact you to ask if you would like a free consultation regarding your foodborne illness.

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