US - Californian poultry processor Foster Farms is recalling an undetermined amount of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.
The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) called on Foster Farms to conduct this recall because the product is known to be associated with a specific illness.
The recalled product includes fresh chicken products sold by retailers under Foster Farms or private label brand names, with varying “use or freeze by” dates ranging from 16 March to 31 March and frozen Sunland Chicken products with “best by” dates from 7 March to 11 March 2015.
The chicken products were produced from 7 March until 13 March this year and were shipped to Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger, Safeway and other retail stores and distribution centres in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
FSIS was notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a Salmonella Heidelberg illness on 23 June, associated with the consumption of a boneless skinless chicken breast product.
Working in conjunction with CDC, FSIS determined that there is a link between boneless skinless chicken breast products from Foster Farms and this illness.
Based on FSIS’ epidemiological and traceback investigations, one case-patient has been identified in California with an illness onset date of 5 May this year.
This illness is part of an ongoing outbreak being monitored and investigated by FSIS and CDC.
Until this point, there had been no direct evidence that linked the illnesses associated with this outbreak to a specific product or production lot.
Evidence that is required for a recall includes obtaining case-patient product that tests positive for the same particular strain of Salmonella that caused the illness, packaging on product that clearly links the product to a specific facility and a specific production date, and records documenting the shipment and distribution of the product from purchase point of the case-patient to the originating facility.
A statement from Foster Farms said: “At Foster Farms, our first concern is always the health and safety of the people who enjoy our products, and we stand committed to doing our part to enhance the safety of our nation’s food supply.
“In cooperation with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foster Farms is initiating a voluntary Class I recall of fresh chicken products sold under the Foster Farms or private label brand names produced in March with varying “use or freeze by” dates ranging from 16 March 2014 to 31 March 2014 and Sunland frozen chicken products that have a "best by" date of 7 March 2015 to 11 March 2015 due to the potential presence of Salmonella Heidelberg.”
Foster Farms added: “This recall is prompted by a single illness associated with a specific fresh chicken product, but in the fullest interest of food safety, Foster Farms has broadened the recall to encompass all products packaged at that time. Foster Farms regrets any illness associated with its products.
This voluntary recall involves chicken produced during select March dates at Foster Farms’ California facilities.”
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