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USDA: Foster Farms chicken caused salmonella outbreak

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 9th, 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday warned the public that strains of salmonella have been found on raw chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.

The organization’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and production period.

Raw products from the facilities in question bear one of the establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package:

• P6137

• P6137A

• P7632

The products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington State.

According to the USDA, an estimated 278 illnesses have been reported in 18 states, most of them in California. 

The investigations indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken and other brand chicken produced at Foster Farms plants are the likely source of this outbreak of salmonella infections.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common forms of food poisoning. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or who are undergoing chemotherapy. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may be chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or by calling the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854 from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time Monday through Friday.

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