Published: Thu, August 30, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Deadly Salmonella Outbreak Traced to Kosher Chicken

Deadly Salmonella Outbreak Traced to Kosher Chicken

An outbreak of Salmonella tied to kosher chicken products has sickened 17 people in four states on the East Coast, according to federal health officials.

The 17 people afflicted were all on the East Coast: 11 in NY, four in Pennsylvania, one in Maryland and one in Virginia between September 25, 2017-June 4, 2018, according to the CDC's website. Of those, eight have been hospitalized - including one person who died in NY. The death was reported in NY.

The outbreak strain was found in samples of raw chicken collected from two facilities, including one that processes Empire Kosher-brand chicken, the agency said.

In some people, hospitalization may be necessary. When handled and cooked properly to 165°F, consumers can continue to have full confidence in chicken products, including the Empire® Kosher brand.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) already issued a health alert on August 24 about Empire Kosher brand raw chicken items.

Consumers should also cook chicken thoroughly, making sure the inside temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Salmonella illness usually begins between 12 and 72 hours after consuming the bacteria.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps within one to three days of infection. The illnesses were reported from September 25 to June 4, CDC officials said, and victims ranged in age from less than a year old to 76.

Of those sickened, the oldest person was 76 and the youngest was less than one year old, according to the CDC.

Consumers should take proper precautions when handling raw chicken products by washing after handling raw poultry, meat and eggs, according to FSIS, adding that this step can reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination to other foods and kitchen surfaces. However, it can be severe or deadly for children younger than 5, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems. Empire® Kosher, along with the USDA and CDC, want to remind consumers of safe handling practices for raw chicken.

However, health officials are still investigating. This includes how kosher animals are slaughtered and processed.

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