Frozen, raw chicken nuggets sicken 54 in Canada


The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are investigating a new Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken.

As of January 25, 2019, 54 Canadians from ten provinces and three territories have become infected with Salmonella Enteritidis after consuming a frozen, raw breaded chicken product. None of the outbreak victims have been hospitalized in this latest outbreak.

Since mid-2017, PHAC has received reports of 529 laboratory-confirmed cases of Salmonella illness linked to raw chicken, including frozen, raw breaded chicken. To date, three people are dead, and 90 victims needed to be hospitalized. The deaths cannot be attributed directly to the Salmonella infection.

The outbreak investigations triggered recalls of eleven different brands and varieties of  frozen, raw breaded chicken products.

In response to findings by CFIA during its investigation of the most recent outbreak, Sofina Foods Inc. has recalled the following product:

Crisp & Delicious brand Chicken Breast Nuggets – Uncooked Seasoned Breaded Chicken Cutlettes, 1.6 kg packages:- Product code 2019 JL 19; UPC 0 69299 11703 5)

The recalled product is known to have been distributed to retailers in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and may have been available nationwide, according to the recall notice.

Illnesses in the current outbreak have been confirmed in British Columbia (42), Alberta (81), Saskatchewan (18), Manitoba (25), Ontario (187), Quebec (111), New Brunswick (27), Nova Scotia (17), Prince Edward Island (5), Newfoundland and Labrador (12), Northwest Territories (1), Yukon (1), and Nunavut (2).

Symptoms of Salmonella infection may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, chills, headache and low grade fever. The very young, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to severe symptoms, and secondary complications.

The public is advised not to consume the recalled product, and retailers and restaurants are advised to not sell or serve the recalled product.

PHAC recommends that consumers and food handlers observe the following precautions when preparing and handling frozen, raw breaded chicken products

  • Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen raw breaded chicken products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure that they are safe to eat. Use a digital food thermometer to verify the temperature. Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole chicken and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.
  • Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded chicken products—including chicken nuggets, strips, burgers, popcorn chicken or chicken fries—is not recommended because of the possibility of uneven heating.
  • Always follow the cooking instructions on the package, including for products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products.
  • Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Do not re-use plates, cutting boards or utensils that have come in contact with frozen raw breaded chicken products to serve the cooked product unless they have been thoroughly washed.

 

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