Salmonella in raw chicken led to illnesses in Minnesota

Last update: October 3, 2008 - 12:03 PM

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Fourteen cases of salmonellosis reported in Minnesota since July have been linked to raw frozen chicken entrees, the Minnesota Department of Health said today.

The products include breaded and pre-browned Chicken Kiev and Chicken Cordon Bleu made by Milford Valley Farms. The affected Chicken Cordon Blue products have code dates of C8121, C126 and C8133 printed on the side of the package. The implicated Chicken Kiev carry the date code C149.

This is the sixth outbreak of salmonella in the state that has been linked to these products since 1998, the Health Department said.

The outbreak sickened 14 adults and children, including six that required victims to be hospitalized. All have recovered. Investigators determined that the 14 cases were due to the same strain of Salmonella.

"The outbreak strain of Salmonella was found in four packages of this product recovered from the homes of some of those who were ill and from grocery stores," said Kirk Smith, supervisor of the Foodborne Disease Unit.

Smith warned people to avoid using microwave ovens to cook raw poultry products, which can result in under cooking. Poultry products need to be cooked thoroughly and heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

"The problem arises when consumers don't realize that they are preparing a raw product," said Heidi Kassenbord, Dairy and Food Inspection Director. "The frozen chicken entrees in the outbreaks we've seen in Minnesota are breaded, pre-browned and individually wrapped, so it's likely most ill consumers mistakenly assumed they have been precooked."

Most brands of the affected products being sold in Minnesota no longer say the products are microwaveable.

Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps and fever. They normally begin about 12 to 72 hours after exposure but can take a week to manifest themselves. Infections can last five to seven days, and in rare cases can cause death, the Health Department said.

There are about 575 to 700 cases of salmonellosis reported in Minnesota each year.



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