A public health alert was issued on Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) following reports of about 32 cases of salmonella food poisoning in at least 12 states suffered by individuals who consumed undercooked chicken. All of the consumers mistakenly thought raw frozen chicken entrees that were breaded or pre-browned were pre-cooked and microwavable.
Although the USDA did not identify a particular manufacturer or packaging that consumers were mistaking for pre-cooked chicken, they indicated that the entrees were sold as “chicken kiev”, “chicken cordon bleu” or stuffed chicken breasts with vegetables, cheese and other items.
The products did not contain microwave instructions and the labels did indicate that they contained uncooked chicken. However, they were all breaded or pre-browned, which caused the families that were sickened to believe they could be cooked in a microwave. This failed to adequately kill the foodborne bacteria in the raw chicken.
Salmonella is a type of bacteria commonly found in raw or undercooked chicken. It can cause mild to severe food poisoning known as salmonellosis, with symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever. While most healthy adults fully recover within a few weeks, salmonella food poisoning can cause severe and potentially fatal injury for those with a weak immune systems, such as the elderly and infants.
The USDA public health alert was issued after an investigation and testing by the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Agriculture revealed the association between the frozen chicken kiev and chicken cordon blue entrees and the cases of food poisoning in Minnesota and 11 other states.