FSIS issues public health alert for stuffed chicken

by Erica Shaffer
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Aspen Foods is recalling some brands of raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products.
Intensified sampling indicates system issues at Aspen Foods plant, FSIS says.

WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture issued a public health alert regarding stuffed chicken products that may be contaminated by Salmonella enteritidis.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA reported that frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken produced by Chicago-based Aspen Foods, a unit of Koch Poultry Company, contained the same outbreak strain that was part of a July 15 recall. The company recalled 1,978,680 lbs. of frozen stuffed chicken products that were linked to a cluster of illnesses in Minnesota.

FSIS said the agency intensified sampling efforts at Aspen Foods to ensure the source of the original contamination remained under control. However, FSIS found 12 positive results that matched the outbreak strain of Salmonella enteritidis that sickened three individuals in Minnesota. The agency said the positive results alerted FSIS to a systemic problem at Aspen Foods’ processing facility.

“FSIS cannot have confidence in the safety of any products produced after July 30, 2015,” the agency said in the alert. “In addition to issuing this alert, FSIS has directed its personnel to detain products covered by this alert that they find in commerce because the company has refused to recall the products.”

FSIS noted that some patients said they followed the cooking instructions on the product label and used a food thermometer to confirm the recommended temperature was achieved, and they still became sick. FSIS is advising consumers not to eat the products. Foods contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis. Common symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, however older adults, infants and individual with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop sever illness.

“Special attention should be paid by the food service industry and food handlers,” the agency said. “Using a food thermometer to properly cook these products will not protect the health of the consuming public.”

The affected products may be labeled as “chicken cordon bleu,” “chicken Kiev” or “chicken broccoli and cheese” and bear the establishment number “P-1358” inside the USDA mark of inspection. FSIS said the chicken products were shipped to retail and food service locations nationwide. The products may be sold under the following brands:

• Acclaim
• Antioch Farms
• Buckley Farms
• Centrella Signature
• Chestnut Farms
• Family Favorites
• Kirkwood
• Koch Foods
• Market Day
• Oven Cravers
• Rose
• Rosebud Farm
• Roundy’s
• Safeway Kitchens
• Schwan’s
• Shaner’s
• Spartan
• Sysco

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