A total of 621 people have become ill as a result of the outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to Foster Farms chicken, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) reported. The CDC issued the updated report on the Salmonella outbreak on July 4, just one day after Foster Farms issued a recall on certain chicken products linked to the outbreak.
As of July 2, 621 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 29 states and Puerto Rico since March 1, 2013, increasing from CDC's May 22 report that stated 574 people from 27 states and Puerto Rico had been infected.
Recent illnesses related to Salmonella
Of the 47 newly confirmed cases, 39 of them are people from California. Oregon and Washington have both reported three new cases, while Alabama and West Virginia have each reported one.
Fifteen of the 47 new people reported to be affected by the Salmonella outbreak had illness onset dates in June. During the summer months, approximately 3 to 5 illnesses with the outbreak strains would be expected each week, according to the CDC. However, in 2014, 6 to 9 illnesses have occurred each week.
Foster Farms recall follows recent illness
On July 3, Foster Farms recalled an undetermined amount of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Heidelberg. The affected products contain labeling listing “use or freeze by” dates from March 21, 2014, to March 29, 2014, with plant codes of P-6137, P-6137A or P-7632, and frozen Sunland chicken products with “best by” dates of March 7, 2015, March 11, 2015, and March 25, 2015, due to the potential presence of Salmonella Heidelberg.
The recall resulted from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) identifying one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg in an intact sample of Foster Farms brand chicken collected from the home of a person infected with the same strain in California.
The chicken breasts were packaged with critical labeling information to associate the product with the establishment and a specific production date. The ill person’s family purchased the chicken in March. However, it was stored in the family’s freezer and consumed in late April. Although the recalled chicken has production dates of March 7 through March 13, 2014, USDA-FSIS and CDC are concerned that the recalled chicken could still be in people’s freezers. Consumers should check their freezers for the recalled chicken and should not eat it, CDC advised.