A Salmonella I 4,,12:i:- outbreak may be linked to Empire Kosher Poultry brand raw chicken products, according to the USDA. A “cluster of illnesses” in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic U.S. states has sickened an unnamed number of people.
This outbreak has not been announced by the CDC. There is no information about the number of people sickened, the states where they live, or the patient age range, although the notice at the USDA web site did say that half of the case-patients have been hospitalized. Illness onset dates range from September 2017 to June 2018.
This is not a recall notice, but a public health alert. The Empire Kosher brand raw chicken items, which may include raw whole chicken, raw chicken parts, were produced and sold to consumers from September 2017 to June 2018.
The USDA was notified about this outbreak on June 18, 2018. There is no word about who notified the government, but it may be PulseNet, the nationwide database of pathogens.
Epidemiologic information revealed that these “multiple case-patients” reported consumption of Empire Kosher Poultry chicken products. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service personnel is working with the company and will provide more information “should it become available.”
Food safety attorney Fred Pritzker, who has represented many clients sickened in Salmonella outbreaks linked to raw chicken, said, “The high hospitalization rate in this particular outbreak is concerning, This may be because the bacteria is quite virulent, or the chicken could be contaminated with a very large amount of bacteria.”
Eating undercooked chicken is one way to get food poisoning. But people can also get sick if raw chicken parts or juices cross-contaminate kitchen surfaces such as utensils, countertops, or plates, or foods that are eaten raw. If someone touches raw chicken that is contaminated with pathogens and then doesn’t wash their hands before eating or preparing other food, the bacteria can easily be transferred.
The symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include fever, nausea, stomach and abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea that may be bloody. These symptoms usually begin 6 to 72 hours after a person eats food or drinks a beverage contaminated with the pathogen. The illness usually lasts up to a week.
If you have eaten Empire Kosher Poultry chicken products and have been sick, see your doctor. This illness can have long term consequences, including reactive arthritis and endocarditis.