Salmonella sickens seven in Canada

Frozen raw breaded chicken linked to Salmonella outbreak

Frozen raw breaded chicken is suspected to be behind seven Salmonella infections in Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said it is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis in four provinces.

British Columbia (1), Alberta (4), Ontario (1) and New Brunswick (1) have reported cases and two people have been hospitalized.

Individuals became sick between April and May this year. The majority (71%) are male and the average age is 26 years.

The agency said it can take weeks from the time a person becomes ill to when this illness is reported and testing confirms a link to the outbreak.

Every year, roughly one in eight Canadians (or four million people) become sick with food poisoning.

The brand or brands of frozen raw breaded chicken products identified as the source of illness were not named.

Past outbreaks and consumer advice

Two years ago there were 51 cases of Salmonella illness in four provinces in Canada also linked to frozen raw breaded chicken products.

CDC and the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) also investigated an outbreak linked to raw, frozen, stuffed and breaded chicken entrees in 2015.

A total of 15 people were infected with S. Enteritidis from seven states.

PHAC said Salmonella is commonly found in raw chicken and frozen raw breaded chicken. Illnesses can be avoided if safe food handling, preparation and cooking practices are followed.

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.

Symptoms of infection, called salmonellosis, typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to Salmonella bacteria. They usually last for four to seven days.

PHAC advised washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling frozen raw breaded chicken and using a separate plate, cutting board and utensils when handling such products to prevent the spread of bacteria.

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