ATLANTA – The Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak linked to Livingston, Calif.-based Foster Farms chicken products appears to be ending, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. However, public health officials' investigation of the incident is ongoing.
As of Jan. 15, a total of 430 people were infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. Cases were reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico. Most of the cases (74 percent) reported were from California, and 38 percent of infected persons were hospitalized. There were no deaths.
CDC said the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance can increase the risk of hospitalization in infected persons, however the antibiotics are not typically used to treat Salmonella infections or other severe Salmonella infections, the agency noted.
Under threat of plant closures by the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service, Foster Farms implemented a number of food-safety interventions at three of its California processing plants that were linked to the outbreak. No recall notice was issued in the case, but some stores pulled Foster Farms products from shelves.
Most recently, Foster Farms temporarily suspended operations at its Livingston chicken processing plant after the discovery of cockroaches, which raised concerns about human health. The company did not release a definitive date for resuming operations at the plant.