US salmonella outbreak affects over 300 people
The Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken in the US has spread to 20 states and Puerto Rico, and has affected over 300 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.
The majority of cases, 73%, have been in California and so far no deaths have been reported, health officials have confirmed.
The outbreak has been linked to chicken from three Foster Farms processing plants in central California, which has prompted the company to submit a plan outlining 'substantive changes to their slaughter and processing' to the USDA.
The USDA and California Department of Public Health have however confirmed that Foster Farms products are as safe as any other poultry product in the US when properly handled and fully cooked. USDA-FSIS inspectors continue to inspect and approve the safety of Foster Farms chicken daily at each of their plants.
In a statement, Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster said "we have worked relentlessly to address these issues and will continue to do so as we work to regain consumer trust and confidence in the Foster Farms brand."
The outbreak involves seven different strains of salmonella Heidelberg, said Christopher Braden, director of CDC's division of food-borne diseases. Several of the strains are resistant to at least one antibiotic and one is resistant to five, he said.
The outbreak has gained national attention in part because it is an especially virulent one. The CDC reports that 42% of those infected have been hospitalised, about double the usual rate for salmonella infections.
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