Federal health officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of salmonella food poisoning, which is believed to caused by chicken salad sold at Fareway grocery stores.
A Fareway chicken salad recall was announced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 22, after at least 65 food poisoning cases were identified across five different states, including 28 illnesses that resulted in the need for hospitalization.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), on February 21 Triple T Specialty Meats, Inc. announced a Class I recall of approximately 20,630 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken salad, due to a risk that the product may be contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium, a serious and potentially fatal food borne bacteria.
The recall came after officials from FSIS were notified by the Iowa Department of Public Health on February 9 of several reported cases of individuals hospitalized due to Salmonella Typhimurium infections. To date, officials are aware of 55 illnesses reported from Iowa, four reports from Illinois, two from Minnesota, three in Nebraska, and one reported illness in Texas. No fatalities have been reported in relation to the recall.
Following the reports of illnesses, the FSIS and CDC began performing trace-back investigations and using the PulseNet system to scan related illnesses reported across the U.S. Preliminary results indicated at least 65 people had been diagnosed with similar strains of Salmonella Typhimurium infections.
The CDC indicates that 78 percent of those interviewed ate chicken salad products from a Fareway grocery store several days prior to the sickness onset.
Out of an abundance of caution, Triple T Specialty Meats recalled all ready-to-eat chicken salad products that were distributed to Fareway grocery stores between January 2, 2018 through February 7, 2018. For a full list of recalled products, please visit the FSIS recall notice.
Class I recalls are considered the most serious, and represent a situation that the use or consumption of a product could or will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to consumers.
Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis and seriously sicken the affected person. Salmonellosis is one of the most common food borne illnesses. Symptoms of the illness include, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever typically within 12 to 72 hours after eating the tainted product and may last for up to four to seven days. While most patients recover without needing medical treatment, in some serious cases, patient’s diarrhea may be so severe the patient needs hospitalization and IV fluids.
The illness can be especially problematic for older adults, infants and people with weakened immune systems. These patients are more likely to become severely ill and should contact a health care professional if they experience symptoms.
Customers are being asked to discard of the potentially contaminated chicken salad products immediately and to consult with their healthcare provider if they believe to have eaten or begin showing symptoms of Salmonella infection. Officials are asking individuals to sanitize countertops and refrigerators where affected product was stored to avoid further contaminations.