As of December 18, 2013, a total of 416 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico.
• 39% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.
• Most ill persons (74%) have been reported from California.
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, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued a Public Health Alert due to concerns that illness caused by Salmonella Heidelberg is associated with chicken products produced by Foster Farms at three facilities in California.
• On October 10, 2013, USDA-FSIS announced that Foster Farms submitted and implemented immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations.
• This investigation is ongoing. USDA-FSIS is prepared to take additional actions or expand the investigation based on new evidence.
On October 12 and October 17, 2013, Costco’s El Camino Real store located in South San Francisco, California recalled more than 23,000 units of rotisserie chicken products due to possible Salmonella Heidelberg contamination.
• Although the “best by” dates have passed for these products, consumers may have frozen them for consumption at a later date.
• Consumers should check their homes and freezers and should not eat the recalled chicken products. Retailers and food service establishments should not serve them.
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.
It is not unusual for raw poultry from any producer to have Salmonella bacteria. CDC and USDA-FSIS recommend consumers follow food safety tips to prevent Salmonella infection from raw poultry produced by Foster Farms or any other brand.
The CDC's latest update says 416 persons have been infected, three-fourths of them in California.