Public Health Notice - Outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products
October 18, 2017
This notice has been updated to include information about a food recall warning that has been issued as part of the ongoing outbreak investigation. The Public Health Agency of Canada advises consumers not to eat the recalled food products. Additional illnesses have also been reported in British Columbia (1), Alberta (1), and Ontario (3), bringing the total to 18 cases of illnesses under investigation.
Why you should take note?
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections in six provinces with cases of human illness linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for the following two products:
- Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Burgers (800 g) with a best before date of May 12, 2018 (2018 MA 12) and UPC: 0 69299 12491 0.
- Janes Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken – Uncooked Breaded Chicken Cutlettes (800 g) with a best before date of May 15, 2018 (2018 MA 15) and UPC: 0 69299 12542 9.
All products have been distributed nationally. These products have been linked to this outbreak investigation and therefore the Public Health Agency of Canada advises Canadians not to consume the recalled products.
Since 2015, this is the third national outbreak investigation that has led to the recall of frozen breaded chicken products.
The risk to Canadians is low. Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken products. Illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed when preparing these types of food products.
This outbreak is a reminder that frozen raw breaded chicken products contain raw poultry and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products. Follow cooking instructions carefully and verify the internal temperature after cooking, as recommended, before consuming these products. Frozen raw breaded chicken products must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat.
Currently, there are 18 cases of Salmonella Enteriditis illness in six provinces: British Columbia (1), Alberta (1), Ontario (10), Quebec (2), New Brunswick (2), and Nova Scotia (2). Six people have been hospitalized. One of the ill individuals has died; however, it has not been determined if Salmonella contributed to the cause of death. Individuals became sick between June and September of this year. The average age of cases is 41 years, with ages ranging between 0 to 85 years. The majority of cases (67%) are female.
Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to frozen raw breaded chicken products has been identified as a source of illness. Several individuals involved in the outbreak reported eating Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers before their illness occurred. Food samples of Janes Pub Style Chicken Burgers (800 g), with best before date 2018 MA 12, and Janes Pub Style Snacks Popcorn Chicken (800 g) with best before date 2018 MA 15, tested positive for Salmonella Enteritidis. The positive food samples had the same genetic fingerprint (using whole genome sequencing) as the cases of human illness reported in this outbreak. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a food recall warning for these products and is working with industry to ensure the product is removed from the retail market.
The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that more products linked to the outbreak investigation may be identified. The public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.
Who is most at risk?
Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection, but infants, children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are more fragile.
Most people who become ill from a Salmonella infection will recover fully after a few days. It is possible for some people to be infected with the bacteria and not get sick or show any symptoms, but still be able to spread the infection to others.
What you should do to protect your health?
Check to see you if you have the recalled frozen raw breaded chicken products in your home or place of business. If you do:
- Do not use or eat the recalled product. Secure the recalled product in a plastic bag and throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased.
- If you do not have the original packaging of a frozen raw breaded chicken product and you are unsure if it is included in the food recall warning, throw it out just to be safe.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water immediately following any contact with the recalled product.
While frozen raw breaded chicken products may appear to be pre-cooked or browned, they contain raw chicken and should be handled and prepared no differently from other raw poultry products. If you are preparing non-recalled frozen raw breaded chicken products, such as nuggets, strips or burgers, the following precautions should be taken to protect your health:
- Do not eat raw or undercooked frozen breaded chicken products. Cook all frozen breaded products to an internal temperature of at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat.
- Microwave cooking of frozen raw breaded poultry products including chicken nuggets, strips or burgers is not recommended due to uneven heating.
- Always follow package cooking instructions, including products labelled Uncooked, Cook and Serve, Ready to Cook, and Oven Ready.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken products.
- Use a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling frozen raw breaded chicken products to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
- Do not re-use the same plate, cutting board or utensils on breaded chicken products after they have been cooked, unless the plate has been thoroughly washed.
- Use a digital food thermometer to verify that frozen raw breaded chicken products have reached at least 74°C (165°F). Insert the digital food thermometer through the side of the product, all the way to the middle. Oven-safe meat thermometers that are designed for testing whole poultry and roasts during cooking are not suitable for testing nuggets, strips or burgers.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection, called salmonellosis, typically start 6 to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria from an infected animal or contaminated product.
These symptoms usually last for four to seven days. In healthy people, salmonellosis often clears up without treatment. In some cases, severe illness and hospitalization may occur. People who are infected with Salmonella bacteria can be infectious from several days to several weeks. People who experience symptoms, or who have underlying medical conditions, should contact their health care provider if they suspect they have a Salmonella infection.
Public Health Agency of Canada