Maine’s Barber Foods expanded its recall of frozen, raw, stuffed chicken to cover more than 1.7 million pounds of products after USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service linked the product with a cluster of Salmonella Enteritidis illnesses in Minnesota.
CDC and FSIS, along with the Minnesota Health Department and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, are investigating two outbreaks of Salmonella Enteritidis infections linked to raw, frozen, breaded and pre-browned stuffed chicken entrées, according to CDC.
Four people were infected in the first outbreak; two needed hospitalization. In the second outbreak, three people were infected with a different strain of the bacteria, and two were hospitalized. Earlier this month, FSIS issued a public health alert after growing concern the infections were related to the consumption of frozen, stuffed chicken products. While the products may appear to be ready to eat, FSIS said the chicken is, in fact, raw and needs to be fully cooked before consumption. Many of these stuffed chicken products had labels identifying them as uncooked and included cooking instructions. However, some case-patients have reported following these instructions and using a food thermometer to confirm the recommended temperature was achieved.
After an investigation, Portland, ME-based Barber Foods issued a recall of approximately 58,000 pounds of frozen, raw, stuffed chicken product. The product was produced between February and May of this year and shipped to retail stores in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The recall was expanded this week to include approximately 1,707,494 pounds of product shipped nationwide and to Canada. The scope of the recall now includes all products associated with the contaminated source material. Many of these products are labeled Chicken Kiev or Chicken Cordon Bleu. FSIS and Barber Foods are concerned some products may be in consumers’ freezers. According to FSIS, foods contaminated with Salmonella can cause Salmonellosis. Symptoms of this illness include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within 12 to 72 hours after exposure to the organism. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment.
The investigation is 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.
A full list of recalled products and details can be downloaded from FSIS.