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2013-10-10 - Foster Farms CDC MapThe US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a health alert concerning Salmonella Heidelberg, a multi-drug-resistant form of salmonella.  Authorities have linked the salmonella outbreak to raw chicken produced at three California Foster Farms facilities and distributed in California, Washington, and Oregon.

The first reports of salmonella appeared in March, and the USDA was notified in July.  But the illness was only recently traced to Foster Farms packaged chicken, when agencies interviewed those affected by the salmonella outbreak and discovered that an unusually high number (80%) reported having consumed home-prepared chicken within one week of becoming sick.   Half of these people also reported eating Foster Farms chicken or a brand associated with the company.  The USDA sampled for salmonella at several Foster Farms plants and eventually uncovered the source.

Chicken produced at the affected Foster Farms facilities carries the following packaging codes:

  • P6137
  • P6137A
  • P7632

The salmonella outbreak has reached 18 states, but California has been hit the hardest with 213 of the 278 confirmed reports of illness.

One complicating factor is that the strains of Salmonella Heidelberg that have gotten people sick are antibiotic resistant, making the disease harder to treat and increasing the risk of hospitalization.  In fact, almost half of those reported ill (42%) have been hospitalized.  As of today, there have been no reported deaths.

Affected states include:

  • Alaska (2)
  • Arkansas (1)
  • Arizona (11)
  • California (213)
  • Colorado (4)
  • Connecticut (1)
  • Florida (1)
  • Hawaii (1)
  • Idaho (2)
  • Michigan (2)
  • North Carolina (1)
  • Nevada (8)
  • Oregon (8)
  • Texas (5)
  • Utah (2)
  • Washington (15)
  • Wisconsin (1)

The CDC called back 30 furloughed workers—10 of whom work in the foodborne illness department—to deal with the salmonella crisis. The USDA urges consumers to make sure that chicken is thoroughly cooked and to be careful when handling raw poultry.

You may be experiencing the symptoms of salmonella poisoning (salmonellosis) if you have the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloody diarrhea with mucus
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Rose spots

If you or a loved one has experienced nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps after consuming Foster Farms chicken, please call us today at 1-800-644-1734.