The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on October 7 issued a public health alert for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms' facilities in California after 278 people have fallen ill due to Salmonella. The Salmonella outbreak has spread to 18 states, although most of the illnesses were reported in California.
Illnesses were linked to Foster Farms brand chicken through epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials.
At this point in the investigation, FSIS is unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific 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 or P7632.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with state health departments to monitor the outbreak while FSIS continues its investigation, which is ongoing. FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence.
According to news reports, a spokesman for Foster farms said no recall is in effect, and the infections were caused by eating undercooked or improperly handled chicken.