Photo via Los Angeles Times.
A massive recall of chicken occurred after hundreds of consumers tested positive for salmonella in the California, Oregon, and Washington states.
The agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said it had associated chicken produced by Foster Farms at three California facilities with strains of Salmonella Heidelberg.
So far, 278 illnesses have been reported in 18 states, with most cases occurring in California. The outbreak is ongoing, according to the USDA.
Investigators have yet to trace the illnesses to a specific product or production period, but said that raw items from the plants in question will bear one of the establishment numbers P6137, P6137A or P7632.
Most of the chicken was distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington, according to the USDA. Foster Farms said in a statement that no recall is in effect and that products are safe to eat if properly handled and fully cooked. Los Angeles Times, 7 Oct 2013.
Testing of consumers infected by the bacteria revealed that several antibiotic resistant strains are present, further complicating treatment of those infected. 77% of the reported food poisoning cases are located in California. The bacteria can be life-threatening in those with weak immune systems, like pregnant women and transplant recipients.