The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Aspen Foods, a Koch Poultry Company division, is recalling about 1,978,860 pounds of chicken products possibly contaminated by Salmonella Enteritidis.

The breaded, stuffed, raw and frozen chicken products in question were produced from April 15 to July 10, with "best if used by" labels printed with dates between July 14, 2016 and Oct. 10, 2016. These products also bore the establishment number "P-1358" within the mark of inspection left by the USDA. Aspen Foods is based in Chicago, Illinois but the products affected by the recall were shipped to food service locations and retail stores all over the country.

Brands associated with the recall include:

  • Acclaim
  • Antioch Farms
  • Buckley Farms
  • Centrella Signature
  • Chestnut Farms
  • Family Favorites
  • Kirkwood
  • Koch Foods
  • Market Day
  • Oven Cravers
  • Princess
  • Rose
  • Rosebud Farm
  • Roundy's
  • Safeway Kitchens
  • Schwan's
  • Shaner's
  • Spartan
  • Sysco

The FSIS was alerted to a cluster of people getting sick with Salmonella Enteritidis last June 23. Working alongside the Minnesota State Departments of Health and Agriculture, the FSIS was able to determine a connection between Aspen Foods chicken products and the cluster of Salmonella cases.

Using traceback investigations and epidemiological evidence, three patients were identified in Minnesota, all of whom got sick between May 9 and June 8. The FSIS is still working with the Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture regarding an investigation that is still being carried out on the incident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been brought in as well to help.

According to the FSIS, the products being recalled appear to be cooked but are in fact raw or uncooked. This means they should be properly handled to prevent cross-contamination in kitchen, paying particular attention to cook the chicken products based on the recommended temperature stated on product instructions.

However, some of the case patients reported that they followed these instructions, even using a food thermometer to guarantee that they are cooking within the recommended temperature.

Consuming food that has been contaminated by Salmonella leads to salmonellosis, a common bacterial foodborne disease. Symptoms typically include abdominal cramps, fever and diarrhea and these start between 12 and 72 hours of being exposed to Salmonella. Salmonellosis lasts between 4 and 7 days on average and most of those affected recover even without treatment.

Consumers with questions or concerns about food safety can check out "Ask Karen." The FSIS virtual representative is accessible 24/7 online.

Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture | Flickr

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