Foster Farms has announced the recall of an undetermined amount of fresh chicken products due to possible contamination with Salmonella Heidelberg. This latest recall comes during an ongoing Salmonella outbreak investigation led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
According to the CDC, since March 1, 2013, 621 people from 29 states have become infected with one of the seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported. However, 36 percent of people infected required hospitalization. Also, the majority (77 percent) of those affected have been from California.
Traceback investigations by local, state and federal officials have indicated that the likely source of this outbreak was Foster Farms brand chicken. Though the number of cases has been decreasing with time, there was an increase in illnesses reported this past February and March.
Now, months later Foster Farms has recalled chicken products after a boneless chicken breast contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg was identified in the home of an ill person. The infected person was a California resident who first became ill on May 5, 2014. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) made the positive identification.
According to the FSIS, the recalled products have production dates from March 7 to March 13, 2014 and include Foster Farms (or private label brand names) with “use or freeze by” dates ranging from March 16 through March 31, 2014. Also included in the recall are frozen Sunland Chicken products with “best by” dates from March 7 through March 11, 2015.
Recalled products bear the establishment number “P6137,” P6137A” or “P7632” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were shipped to Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger, Safeway and other retail stores and distribution centers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington (complete list of products).
Many of the products affected by the recall are no longer for sale, however, the FSIS is asking people to ensure that they do not have any recalled products in their freezers. Also, the FSIS reminds consumers that poultry is often contaminated with Salmonella and to follow food safety recommendations. Mainly, poultry should be handled to avoid cross contamination, and it should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F.