Monday, July 7, 2014

Foster Farms Recalls Chicken Produced in March

Foster Farms issued a recall for chicken part products produced from March 7 to March 11 with sell by dates that range from March 7 to March 31st.  Most of this chicken will have already been used unless it was frozen.  The recall was issued due to the positive link of a Salmonella Heidelberg illness on June 23, 2014, that was associated with the consumption of a boneless skinless chicken breast product in California with an illness onset date of May 5, 2014.

CDC reports that as of July 2, 2014,a total of 621 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 29 states and Puerto Rico, since March 1, 2013.  36% have required hospitalization.

FSIS News Release
California Firm Recalls Chicken Products Due to Possible Salmonella Heidelberg Contamination
Class I Recall 044-2014
Health Risk: High Jul 4, 2014

Congressional and Public Affairs
Adam Tarr (202) 870-0810 or (202) 720-9113

EDITOR’S NOTE: The release is being reissued July 4 to update the distribution, production dates, and “Use or Freeze by” and “Best by” date ranges, as well as to provide an updated product list.

WASHINGTON, July 4, 2014 – Foster Farms, a Livingston, Calif., based establishment, is recalling an undetermined amount of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Heidelberg, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. FSIS requested Foster Farms conduct this recall because this product is known to be associated with a specific illness.

The recalled product includes fresh chicken products sold by retailers under Foster Farms or private label brand names, with varying “use or freeze by”dates ranging from March 16 through March 31, 2014, and frozen Sunland Chicken products with “best by” dates from March 7 through March 11, 2015. The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P6137,” P6137A” or “P7632” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken products were produced from March 7 through March 13, 2014. These products were shipped to Costco, Foodmaxx, Kroger, Safeway and other retail stores and distribution centers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The list of products subject to recall can be accessed here. We will continue to update the list as more information is available. FSIS and the company want the public to be aware that the products are most likely no longer available for purchase, but may be in consumers’ freezers.

FSIS was notified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a Salmonella Heidelberg illness on June 23, 2014, associated with the consumption of a boneless skinless chicken breast product. Working in conjunction with CDC, FSIS determined that there is a link between boneless skinless chicken breast products from Foster Farms and this illness. Based on FSIS’ epidemiological and traceback investigations, one case-patient has been identified in California with an illness onset date of May 5, 2014.

This illness is part of an ongoing outbreak being monitored and investigated by FSIS and CDC. Until this point, there had been no direct evidence that linked the illnesses associated with this outbreak to a specific product or production lot. Evidence that is required for a recall includes obtaining case-patient product that tests positive for the same particular strain of Salmonella that caused the illness, packaging on product that clearly links the product to a specific facility and a specific production date, and records documenting the shipment and distribution of the product from purchase point of the case-patient to the originating facility. Additional information about the illness outbreak may be found on CDC’s website at FSIS continues to work with CDC on this investigation and provides updated information as it becomes available.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS reminds consumers to properly handle raw poultry in a manner to prevent contamination from spreading to other foods and food contact surfaces.

FSIS further reminds consumers of the critical importance of following package cooking instructions for frozen or fresh chicken products and general food safety guidelines when handling and preparing any raw meat or poultry. In particular, while cooking instructions may give a specific number of minutes of cooking for each side of the product in order to attain an 165 °F internal temperature, consumers should be aware that actual time may vary depending on the cooking method (broiling, frying or grilling) and the temperature of the product (chilled versus frozen), so it is important that the final temperature of 165 °F must be reached for safety. Do not rely on the cooking time for each side of the product, but use a food thermometer.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at

Media with questions regarding the recall can contact Toby Baird, Group Supervisor, Fineman PR, at (415) 326-3199 or Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact the company’s Consumer Affairs hotline at (800) 338-8051 Retailers needing more information can call (800) 338-0374.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at or via smartphone at The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at

CDC Outbreak Report
Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Foster Farms Brand Chicken
This outbreak investigation is ongoing; however, since an increase in illnesses noted in February and March, there has been a decline in the weekly number of illnesses occurring. The number of illnesses is now approaching the expected number for this time of year.
  • As of July 2, 2014, a total of 621 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 29 states and Puerto Rico, since March 1, 2013.
  • 36% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
  • Most ill persons (77%) have been reported from California.
  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
  • On July 3, 2014, Foster Farms recalled an undetermined amount of chicken products that may be contaminated with a particular strain of Salmonella Heidelberg.
  • The recall resulted from USDA-FSIS identifying one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg in an intact sample of Foster Farms brand chicken with labeling information collected from the home of a person infected with the same strain in California.
  • Although the recalled chicken had production dates of March 7 through March 13, 2014, USDA-FSIS and CDC are concerned that the recalled chicken could still be in people’s freezers.
  • Consumers should check their freezers for the recalled chicken and should not eat it.
  • The outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. Although these antibiotics are not typically used to treat Salmonella bloodstream infections or other severe Salmonella infections, antibiotic resistance can be associated with increased risk of hospitalization in infected individuals.
  • It is not unusual for raw poultry from any producer to have Salmonella bacteria. CDC and USDA-FSIS recommend all consumers follow food safety tips to prevent Salmonella infection from any raw poultry produced by Foster Farms or any other brand.

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