The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that Foster Farms of Livingston, California, is recalling an “undetermined” amount of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.
The recall comes in response to an FSIS request after the discovery of direct evidence that Foster farms chicken is associated with an outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infection that has affected at least 621 people in 29 states since 1 March 2013.
Recalled products include fresh chicken sold be retailers under the Foster Farms brand or own label brand names and frozen Sunland Chicken products. All the recalled chicken was produced between 7 March and 13 March 2014 and shipped to retailers and distribution centres in 11 states. The size of the recall is not specified, but is reported to be more than one million pounds.
Although the outbreak has been on-going for more than a year, no product was recalled up to now because no direct evidence had been found implicating the Foster Farms chicken, even though epidemiological investigation suggested that it was the most likely source. FSIS had also issued a public health alert relating to the product and requested that the company adopt measures to reduce Salmonella contamination rates in raw chicken. The company has now decided to recall product after FSIS identified an outbreak strain of S. Heidelberg in an intact, labelled sample of Foster farms brand chicken taken from the home of one of the people infected.
More information about the recall can be found on the FSIS website here.