USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued a public health alert due to concerns about illnesses caused by Salmonella that may be associated with raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned, stuffed chicken products. FSIS said these items may be labeled "chicken cordon bleu" or "chicken Kiev".
According to FSIS, the agency, joined by other government bodies in Minnesota, is investigating a cluster of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses. FSIS expects there is a link between the illnesses and frozen, raw, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken products. A second separate illness cluster in Minnesota is also being investigated. These illnesses also point toward the consumption of these chicken products.
FSIS says 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.
Many of these stuffed chicken products were labeled with instructions identifying that the product was uncooked and did include cooking instructions for preparation. Some case-patients reported following these cooking instructions and using a food thermometer to confirm that the recommended temperature was achieved. Thus, FSIS advises all consumers that particular attention needs to be taken to safely prepare and cook these raw poultry products to a temperature of 165° F.
The investigations are ongoing. FSIS continues to work with the State of Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture on both of these investigations and will provide updated information as it becomes available.