US Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak – update

| October 22, 2013

foster farms chickenFurther cases of illness have been reported in an on-going outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infection in the USA associated with Foster Farms brand chicken products. A recall of cooked chicken products linked to the outbreak has also been extended.

By 18th October the outbreak had affected at least 338 people across 20 states, although about 75% of the cases reported so far are from California. Around 40% of those affected have required hospital treatment, but there have been no deaths reported. The outbreak strains of S. Heidelberg are reportedly resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics.

An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with state and local health officials, has identified consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken produced at three facilities in California as the likely source of the outbreak.

Foster Farms brand raw chicken products have not been recalled as they can be consumed safely if properly handled and cooked. However, Costco’s El Camino Real store has extended a related recall to include a further 14,000 units of rotisserie chicken products in addition to 9,000 units recalled on 12 October. These products have been linked to a cluster of cases that are considered part of the main outbreak. According the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) this may be a result of cross contamination of cooked rotisserie chicken in the preparation area at the store.

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