WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert after several individuals in Minnesota became sick with Salmonella enteritidis. The agency linked the illnesses to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken products. Both FSIS and public health officials in Minnesota are investigating the outbreak.
“FSIS suspects that there is a link between the frozen, raw, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken products and this illness cluster based on information gathered in conjunction with the state of Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture,” FSIS said in the alert. “Using epidemiological evidence, case-patients have been identified in Minnesota with illness onset dates ranging from May 9, 2015 to June 8, 2015.”
Officials in Minnesota notified FSIS about the Salmonella enteritidis cluster on June 23. The next day, the agency was notified of a second, separate illness cluster with another strain. FSIS suspects there is a link between the second illness cluster and the breaded chicken products. FSIS said illness onset dates of the second cluster ranged from April 5 to June 8.
FSIS said labels on the product packaging identified the stuffed chicken products as uncooked and included cooking instructions. However, some case-patients said they followed the instructions and used a food thermometer to confirm that the chicken was cooked to a temperature of 165°F.
“The products the illnesses may be associated with appear to be ready-to-eat, but are in fact raw and need to be fully cooked before consumption,” FSIS said. “Frozen, raw, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken products covered by this alert and similar products, may be stuffed or filled, breaded or browned.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall of frozen uncooked breaded chicken products made by Sofina Foods Inc. The products subject to the recall include No Name brand chicken burgers and Compliments brand chicken strips and chicken nuggets. CFIA said the chicken products were sold across Canada.
Public health officials in Canada believe the products sickened 44 individuals in four provinces: Ontario (28), Quebec (12), Nova Scotia (2), and Newfoundland and Labrador (2), according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The illnesses occurred between Feb. 7 and May 23. Twelve individuals required hospitalization, but no deaths have been reported.