Nearly 300 people in 18 states have been sickened with what public health authorities believe is salmonella from raw chicken products made at three Foster Farms plants in California, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The illnesses were caused by salmonella Heidelberg, an infection that causes nausea and vomiting, but can be more problematic for infants, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems.
Earlier this year, 134 people in 13 states became ill from raw Foster Farms chicken. That outbreak, which was declared over in July, sent 33 people to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The illnesses in both outbreaks were traced back to Foster Farms products through epidemiologic and laboratory methods, however health officials are unable to determine what specific product or products are the culprits. So far, there have been no recalls on Foster Farms chicken products related to this most recent issue.
The company issued a statement saying it is working with federal officials to eradicate the bacteria from its plants. Meanwhile, consumers are urged to use care when handling raw poultry and to cook it to at least 165 degrees in order to kill any bacteria that may be on it.
Foster Farms has processing plants in California, Oregon, Washington and Alabama.