News Feature | November 21, 2013

Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Foster Farms Sickens 389 in 23 States

Source: Food Online
Sam Lewis

By Sam Lewis

CDC reports 27 new confirmed illnesses in last three weeks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 389 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico have become ill due to seven distinct strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. Each strain has demonstrated resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics. All cases are linked to chicken produced by three Foster Farms plants in California.

Louisiana and Illinois have been added to states reporting illnesses. Confirmed cases now total 389, 27 more than the previous Oct 30 report of 362. The CDC is reporting 40 percent of those infected in this outbreak have been hospitalized. Nearly three of four cases are being reported in California, which has 288 confirmed cases of Salmonella infections. Other states hit hard by the outbreak include Arizona with 16 confirmed cases, Washington with 15 cases, along with Oregon and Texas, each reporting 10 confirmed cases. Additionally, the CDC reports nearly 15 percent of cases are developing blood infections. Typically, just five percent of Salmonella infections develop into blood infections. The median age of infected people is 20, with victims being as young as one-year old, to as old as 93. So far, no deaths have been linked to this outbreak.

A recall has not been initiated by Foster Farms. Instead, the company has opted to comply with USDA requests on Oct 10 to address issues at three California plants linked to the outbreak. The company made substantial changes to its slaughtering and processing procedures, allowing the three suspect plants to continue operation.

Kroger stores — including Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers — pulled suspected Foster Farms products from shelves in early October. Costco made a recall in mid-October of nearly 40,000 of rotisserie chicken products linked to the outbreak. The Foster Farms products involved in this outbreak are identified with one of the following USDA mark on inspection numbers: P6137, P6137A and P7632.

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