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AbledALERT-Outbreak-USA Post link banner shows a package of Foster Farms chicken with an arrow pointing to the meat processing plant code with the text: Salmonella In Chicken: 360+ sickened in over 20 States. Click here to go to the story.

Photo shows packages of Foster Farms chicken in a refrigerated display cooler in an Oregon grocery store with sheets of paper detailing safe handling instructions lying on the edge of the display. Photo credit: Lynne Terry - The Oregonian


Consumer Reports outraged USDA hasn’t recalled contaminated chicken


UPDATE:  As of October 29th, the CDC report a total of 362 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 21 states and Puerto Rico.

  • 38% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
  • Most ill persons (74%) have been reported from California.


The Salmonella outbreak traced to Foster Farms chickens has spread to at least 317 cases in 20 states and Puerto Rico.

This is the second outbreak traced to Foster Farms chicken in a year, though, as Lynne Terry reports in The Oregonian, Oregon health authorities have been tracking a strain of Salmonella Heidelberg associated with the company’s products since 2003, and notified both the USDA and Foster Farms a decade ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the DNA fingerprints of the SalmonellaHeidelberg bacteria associated with the current outbreak include the strain that was also associated with a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg linked to Foster Farms brand chicken during 2012-2013.


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UPDATE: Consumer Reports says the Salmonella outbreak isn’t limited to Foster Farms. Other brands that have had poultry products processed at the same three Foster Farms plants include Eating Right, Kirkland Signature, O Organics, Open Nature, Ralphs, Safeway Farms, and Simple Truth Organic.


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So far, Consumer Reports has heard of only one grocery company—Kroger—that says it is removing all raw chicken products processed at the implicated plants from their family of stores. Those include Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers/City Market, Ralphs, Food 4 Less (West Coast), Smith’s (southern Nevada and New Mexico), and QFC.

However, it’s been confirmed that a Costco store in South San Francisco has issued a recall of about 40,000 pounds of rotisserie chicken products sold between September 11th and September 23rd that were processed at the Foster Farms plants tied to the Salmonella outbreak.

At least one person was sickened by one of the chain’s roasted chickens, prompting Costco to recall 8,730 Kirkland Signature Foster Farms rotisserie chickens and 313 units of Kirkland Farm rotisserie chicken soup, rotisserie chicken leg quarters and rotisserie chicken salad.

The Costco store at 1600 El Camino Road contacted 7,807 customers who had bought one or more of the recalled products. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Foster Farms have assured consumers that poultry contaminated with salmonella is safe to eat so long as it’s cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bacteria.

Costco says its rotisserie chicken is cooked to at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit and suggests it may have been an uncommon cross-contamination issue. Costco is currently carrying new batches of Foster Farms chicken.

Outrage is growing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allowing the three plants, where it’s thought the contamination originated, to continue operating after coming up with a food safety plan following tests of whole chickens and chicken parts that turned up a 25% incidence rate of Salmonellamore than double the nearly 10% allowed


A Consumer Reports photo shows a close-up of a Foster Farms pricing label on a package of chicken with the P-6137a designation showing that it came from one of the three California processing plants suspected in the Salmonella outbreak.Expressing ‘disappointment’ with the USDA, Consumer Reports said the agency could have seized the Salmonella-tainted chicken and issue a recall, but didn’t. Their main concern is that this contamination is caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella and they are urging consumers to throw out any packages of raw poultry with the following establishment numbers inside the USDA mark of inspection:









CDC Map of Salmonella Outbreak


AbledALERT: Centers for DIsease Control map of Salmonella outbreak in 20 states and Puerto Rico shows the states on a map of the U.S. with various shades of green showing the range of cases in each state: The number of ill persons identified in each state is as follows: Alaska (2), Arkansas (1), Arizona (13), California (232), Colorado (4), Connecticut (1), Florida (4), Idaho (2), Kentucky (1), Michigan (2), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Nevada (9), New Mexico (2), Oregon (8), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (9), Utah (2), Virginia (2), Washington (15), and Wisconsin (1).


In its last update on Friday, October 11, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the following details:


  • The outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg are resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics. This antibiotic resistance may be associated with an increased risk of hospitalization or possible treatment failure in infected individuals


  • 42% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported


  • Most ill persons (73%) have been reported from California where the chicken was processed


  • Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback investigations conducted by local, state, and federal officials indicate that consumption of Foster Farms brand chicken is the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg infections


  • On October 7, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a Public Health AlertExternal Web Site Icon due to concerns that illness caused by Salmonella Heidelberg is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.


Normally, we would be getting daily updates from the CDC, however, because of the U.S. Government shutdown, about 70% of its staff has been furloughed.

Visit this page often for ongoing updates as we continue to track the spread of this outbreak. In the meantime here are some additional links on general information about Salmonella food-borne infection:


Salmonella Infections (NIH MedlinePlus)
Trusted health information on causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

Salmonella (CDC)
General information plus details on previous outbreaks.

Salmonella and Salmonellosis (USDA)
General information plus directives and notices, compliance guidelines, data collection and reports, and more.

Salmonella (FDA)
From the Bad Bug Book; provides basic facts, including associated foods, frequency of disease, complications, and target populations.

AbledALERT Story summary contains the text: Salmonella Outbreak, 317 sick in 20 states + Puerto Rico. Discard poultry products with plant codes: P-6137, P-6137A, P-7632


AbledALERT Animation showing the red pulsing bars of a transmission signal against the background icon of the gradient green rounded triangle set in a rounded square black frame with the text Abled ALERT below it.


Salmonella & Food Poisoning Facts


Salmonella, the name of a group of bacteria, is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. Usually, symptoms last 4-7 days and most people get better without treatment.


But, Salmonella can cause more serious illness in older adults, infants, and persons with chronic diseases. Salmonella is killed by cooking and pasteurization.

  • Food: Contaminated eggs, poultry, meat, unpasteurized milk or juice, cheese, contaminated raw fruits and vegetables (alfalfa sprouts, melons), spices, and nuts.


  • Animals & their environment:
  • Particularly reptiles (snakes, turtles, lizards), amphibians (frogs), birds (baby chicks) and pet food and treats.
Incubation Period 12-72 hours
Symptoms Diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting
Duration of Illness 4-7 days
What Do I Do? Drink plenty of fluids and get rest. If you cannot drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration or if your symptoms are severe, call your doctor. Antibiotics may be necessary if the infection spreads from the intestines to the blood stream.
How Can I Prevent It?
  • Avoid eating high-risk foods, including raw or lightly cooked eggs, undercooked ground beef or poultry, and unpasteurized milk


  • Keep food properly refrigerated before cooking.


  • Clean hands with soap and warm water before handling food. Clean surfaces before preparing food on them.


  • Separate cooked foods from ready-to-eat foods. Do not use utensils on cooked foods that were previously used on raw foods and do not place cooked foods on plates where raw foods once were unless it has been cleaned thoroughly.


  • Cook foods to a safe internal temperature. Use a meat thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe temperature.


  • Chill foods promptly after serving and when transporting from one place to another.


  • Wash your hand after contact with animals, their food or treats, or their living environment.




Long-Term Effects of Food-Borne Illness

One in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. That’s about 48 million people. Most of them will recover without any lasting effects from their illness. For some, however, the effects can be devastating and even deadly.

Here are some serious effects associated with several common types of food poisoning.

Kidney failure

Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) is a serious illness that usually occurs when an infection in the digestive system produces toxic substances that destroy red blood cells, causing kidney injury. HUS may occur after infection with some kinds of E. coli bacteria.

HUS is most common in children. In fact, it is the most common cause of acute kidney failure in children.

Chronic arthritis

A small number of persons with Shigella or Salmonella infection develop pain in their joints, irritation of the eyes, and painful urination. This is called reactive arthritis. It can last for months or years, and can lead to chronic arthritis, which is difficult to treat. Persons with Campylobacter infections may also develop chronic arthritis.

Brain and nerve damage

Listeria infection can lead to meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain. If a newborn infant is infected with Listeria, long-term consequences may include mental retardation, seizures, paralysis, blindness, or deafness.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder that affects the nerves of the body. This occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the body’s own nerves. It can result in paralysis that lasts several weeks and usually requires intensive care.  As many as 40 percent of Guillain-Barré syndrome cases in this country may be triggered by an infection with Campylobacter.


In the United States, approximately 3,000 people die each year of illnesses associated with food poisoning. Five types of organisms account for 88 percent of the deaths for which the cause is known:SalmonellaToxoplasmaListerianorovirus, and Campylobacter.

Other types of foodborne illness may cause death as well. For example, some Vibrio infections (usually associated with eating raw shellfish) may infect the bloodstream and cause a severe, life-threatening illness. About half of these infections are fatal, and death can occur within two days.

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