Salmonella outbreak in chicken sickens 18 in Washington

By Beacon Staff | Oct 09, 2013

Washington state health officials are warning residents in Washington to make sure they thoroughly cook chicken after a multi-state salmonella outbreak has caused several local illnesses.

There have been 15 reported cases of salmonella poisoning in Washington, including one case in Snohomish County and five in King County.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a public health warning after raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California have been linked to 278 cases of salmonella poisioning. The cases were first reported in March.

The strain, Salmonella Heidelberg, has been found in chicken distributed to retail stores in Washington, Oregon and California, but people in 18 states have been reported ill.

The USDA has not linked the outbreak to a specific product or production period, and Foster Farms had not issued a recall as of Wednesday, Oct. 9.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said poultry should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees. While the FSIS has been unable to link the illness to a specific product or time, raw products from facilities in question include the following number inside the USDA mark on the product: P6137, P6137A and P7632.

Foster Farms, in a statement on it's website, said the company is "working with the FSIS and CDC to address salmonella associated with raw poultry products reportedly linked to three California facilities." The statement also says products are safe to consume if properly handled and fully cooked.

State health officials are not planning a recall and reminded residents to fully cook all poultry products.

To learn more, visit the FSIS website.

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