The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 51 new cases of Salmonella Heidelberg were reported between mid-January and late February tied to Foster Farms chicken, and that 44 of those new cases were found in California.
According to a news report in the Los Angles Times, CDC officials say they are concerned that the outbreak may not be over. This is a reversal from Jan. 16 when the CDC released an update on the outbreak and suggested that it was ending. But, with the latest cases, a total of 481 people have been sickened nationwide with food poisoning illness since March 2013 with patients ranging in age from 1 to 93.
No Recall Issued
The California-based Foster Farms’ travails started last October when the U.S. Department of Agriculture put out a health alert warning consumers of salmonella linked to three Foster Farms processing facilities in California. Inspectors discovered poor sanitary conditions in these facilities, which they believed, contributed to the outbreak. National chains like Kroger pulled Foster Farms chicken from its meat cases, but the company never issued the recall.
Instead, they issued a recommendation telling consumers to cook their chicken to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Foster Farms also issued a public apology, changed its safety practices and promised to win back the trust of consumers. However, in January, it closed another factory for cockroach infestation.
Preventing Salmonella Infection
There are several steps you can take to prevent salmonella infection:
- Keep uncooked meats away from produce, cooked foods and utensils.
- Wash your hands before handling any food and between handling separate food items.
- Wash your hands, cutting boards, countertops, and utensils thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Cook all poultry and meat thoroughly so there is no pink in the middle.
- Avoid consuming raw eggs or meat.
- Keep eggs, poultry and meat refrigerated at all times.
- Throw away items that have been recalled or food that has been linked to outbreaks. Check the CDC and USDA’s web sites for alerts.
If you have been sickened by a specific food, get medical attention right away. You will be able to recover quicker if you get prompt medical attention. Report your illness to the local health agency. Contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled food poisoning cases to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.