Yesterday afternoon, October 7th, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a public health alert, the contents of which addressed the new link between some raw California chicken products to a recent salmonella outbreak. As stated by the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, strains of Salmonella Heidelberg were found at three facilities in California, all of which carry chicken produced by Foster Farms.
As of yesterday, at least 278 cases of illness were reported in 18 states throughout the country; not surprisingly, most of these cases were localized to California. According to investigators with the USDA, most of the chicken product was distributed to retail stores in California, Washington, and Oregon. Although the illness has not yet been traced to a specific chicken product or a specific production period, the USDA has come out saying that raw items from the plants that are currently in question can be easily identified by looking for one of the establishment numbers: P6137, P6137A, P7632.
The USDA has suggested that the outbreak is ongoing and should not be mistaken as contained. However, Foster Farms has come out strong saying that there is no recall currently in place. The company is also contending that its products are safe for consumption if they are handled properly and cooked fully. President Foster has said that the company is “committed to ensuring the safety of our products,” expanding on this thought he also mentioned that the “family-owned company has maintained an excellent record during its near 80-year history.”
To date, salmonellosis is one of the most common bacterial food-borne illnesses in the United States. It is also life-threatening and can quickly claim the life of someone with a weak immune system. Accordingly, the USDA and our attorneys at The Senators Firm are taking the outbreak very seriously. We urge you to be vigilant about seeking medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms within 8-72 hours of consuming a chicken product: abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever.